I am Nile Flores, founder of Blondish.net, a WordPress designer, and developer, as well as a Professional blogger, from the St. Louis Metro East (aka, the Illinois side.) I grew up a U.S. Air Force military brat, alongside my 2 younger sisters.
In school, I was really dedicated. I actually earned my nickname “Nile”, while in middle school, as:
- My first name was extremely popular (Nicole), and a lot of classes had at least 3 to 10 girls with the same name.
- I used to have quite a few pen pals from Egypt, and had a lot of souvenirs from them, as well as books on Ancient Egypt. I have always found the culture fascinating.
Strange, but one of my best friends said that if I just shortened my name to Nile, it would work. So, I just went by that name.
Anyhow, other than my brief background, I’m a single mom, and as of this post, my son is about to graduate high school with honors. He’s also a WordPress user and has been using it since he was 9 years old.
The Journey Began
Before WordPress, I manually blogged on GeoCities, and then, later on, shared hosting. I started blogging in December of 2001, but I had used GeoCities, since 1998 for various random things like storing poetry and some scans of my artwork, to some small sites dedicated to the huge Yahoo! Clubs I ran back then.
In my original blog, I had entered into website competitions, and eventually won some of them a couple of times.
I developed my own comment form, after Haloscan (a 3rd party blog commenting storage tool, which no longer exists, but was acquired by JS-Kit), that allowed me to store comments in a database. I had tried quite a few blog platforms and eventually settled on b2 cafelog.
I kept seeing blog friends use it and the pop-up comment form behaved like Haloscan and my PHP comment script.
In b2 cafelog, I learned and did a lot of things to it, at the core level, to customize it, like extending Alex King’s b2 grins plugin while creating lots of smiley/ emoticon sets for bloggers to use. Not long after using b2 cafelog, the blog platform was forked into WordPress.
There weren’t a lot of differences at first. However, one thing I had to do was unlearn hacking the core, and building a plugin.
I stuck with WordPress from beta onward, because it was familiar and easy to use. The updates, like in 2.7 Strayhorn, with adding pages, and in 3.0 custom menus, were graceful and actually a real convenience, as my site had a lot of content then.
Additionally, a huge reason why I’ve kept using WordPress was the community. They’ve been there through my divorce, my son growing up, my bad times, and even successes. It’s inspired me to get into public speaking and presenting at WordCamps across the United States.
The Need for Blondish
So, when I created Blondish.net, there wasn’t a lot of competition for my niche. My blog went through several domains and hosting companies, before I settled on Blondish.net, in 2006. By then, I had been blogging for nearly 5 years. I already had an established reader base.
As when I started making blogging, web design, and development, a business, instead of a hobby, I was inspired by other bloggers that were amazed by my flexibility in design.
As for blogging, I joined some Paid to blog programs, as well as blogged for other blogs, ghost blogged for some blogs too and even did a social media internship. I had a lot of fun doing all of this and thought that it was just smart to go from being a hobby to making it a business.
Blondish.net wasn’t too much of a challenge to run. It was in 2009, that I made a big change, taking off a lot of my personal posts, and strictly sticking to make Blondish.net a place where I could teach people what I do, but also give them a choice if they needed help with their website.
Pretty much I offer services like troubleshooting and fixing issues, optimizing or speeding up sites, cleaning hacked sites, blogging, website consultations, and WordPress design and development using the Genesis theme framework.
Myself with my Brilliant Team
I don’t really use a definite team. Some people I just bring in when I need them, or I’ve worked with other teams on joint projects. As for my work area, here’s a panorama shot:
Nile Flores Workspace
Because I travel a lot, I often bring my laptop with me, especially my Chromebook, which I often use, when I present at WordCamps.
Advice for Business Owners
If you’re wanting to start a business, find what you’re passionate about and create a plan of what you want to do. Make short-term and long-term goals. Build partnerships with people, who can add to what you do, especially if your strengths are limited.
When I started out, I learned just about everything. Design and development, graphic design, as well as learning to blog and do social media, were things that most webmasters needed to learn.
These days, it’s better to try to delegate what you’re not that great or fast at, to people who you trust, and have mad skills. So, for example, if you like being the one to consult, strategize, and manage projects, then you’ll want to team up with people who are great at graphic design and development, and if need be, creating content.
WordPress & Beyond
My plans for the future are to try to partner with other talents to help expedite projects. I want to focus on the creative and strategic parts of the project, and then leave the development to a few people.
WordPress in the future, well, with Gutenberg, things have changed a lot. While some of my sites use the newer content editor, I still use the Classic editor on Blondish.net. I may switch over one day when I have time to make sure things don’t fubar.
WordPress will get better for the end-user, as the developers and others in the community find a way to make sure it’s easier for most people. I’d also hope that organized resources teaching people WordPress, will be a lot easier for people to access. There are some businesses that do a good job, but a lot of resources are still jumbled.
As for competition, or if I feel that I’m threatened by others in the WordPress community, that provide similar services- I’m not. There’s a saying that the “pie is infinite”. There are millions upon millions of WordPress users, and new ones coming on board every day. I believe if you feel threatened, you’re not doing a job of targeting the right audience, and not hustling enough.
My Love for the WordPress Community
I’ve attended some WordCamps, but have presented at quite a lot of them, more than 50. I’m also on the co-lead team for the St. Louis WordPress meetup group and have helped organize several WordCamps over the years.
In the WordPress community, I consider quite a few people as friends – Michele Butcher-Jones, Russell Aaron, Michelle Schulp, Bridget Willard, Heather Acton, Adam Warner, Jarrett Gucci, Karla Campos, and many, many more.
Each WordCamp that I go to, it’s like getting to catch up in person, rather than on social media, which as an extrovert, I need.
How I Keep Myself Updated
To keep updated with WordPress, I spend time reading tutorials and articles I find all over the Internet. I also challenge myself to keep playing in code, and in creating graphics.
The thing is, there are so many more resources online than books available. It’s how I learned in the beginning. Most people have learned from the “University of Inspect Element”, including me.
I Have a Life Other Than the Work
While I work a lot more than I should, I do have a life outside of WordPress. I enjoy cigars and have made it a hobby on Instagram as @cigarladynet of sharing my journey.
Nile Flores Cigar
I also love to paint my nails, and it’s a huge hobby at @nailpolishhappycom. I love to cook, do road trips, watch anime and read manga, and watch standup comedy or comedy skits. I practice traditional Okinawan Kempo karate and have a black belt in it.
Nile Flores Nails
I Reward Myself by
Self-care is everything, and rewards are a large part of it. A lot of times, I reward reaching my goals with a good road trip, cigars, and a relaxing bath or a pedicure.