There’s a growing community of people in this country who are skipping out on the traditional roles our society sets out for us and making a life of their own. This means working remotely, often living in an RV or van, and traveling full-time. We started Wand’rly Magazine back in 2012, after having traveled for years like this ourselves, to help others who are looking to do the same.
Our website is our business, and for this business, it’s been WordPress from the start. I’m also a web designer and developer, though, and have used everything from Drupal to Joomla to hand coded sites, and WordPress has always just been so much more friendly to developers and authors than the alternatives.
We want our site to look great and to be accessible from anywhere and everywhere (and on all types of devices). We love big images and our layouts are often more complex than a typical WordPress site. That type of content can sometimes result in slower load times, unless our host is specifically tailored to taking advantage of how WordPress works.
With a previous host, we encountered many WordPress speed issues. They weren’t necessarily a “cheap shared host” either, but despite the higher costs, we were still seeing poor performance. In addition, getting in touch with support would sometimes take days and days while we waited for an initial response, requiring a few back and forths. We therefore lost traffic and 90 percent of our business model relies on having as much traffic as possible.
The No. 1 reason we switched to WP Engine’s managed WordPress hosting platform was our need for speed. We have to serve our site as quickly as possible. Since switching to WP Engine, our sessions and users are up almost 110 percent, and overall pageviews are up 88 percent.
While we’ve created additional content and certainly there are other factors that contribute to this, I have no doubt that the speed of our site contributed directly to this positive change.
We also tend to frequently change features of our site, testing what works and what doesn’t. Having the staging environment that WP Engine offers makes testing much easier for us.
In addition, the support has been the icing on the cake. With most hosting companies, you present a problem to them and they point you at a link on their website, which sometimes explains how to fix the issue. Or they say “that’s out of scope” as far as what their service provides. With WP Engine, contacting support typically only takes a few minutes and the issue is always resolved within minutes.
Looking forward, we have plans to launch a WooCommerce store next year and there’s no doubt the same excellent service will make that a relatively easy addition. The support we receive puts a smile on our faces, but the speed and reliability of the platform just kills it.
With over fifteen years of web design and development experience, six of those while traveling full-time, Nathan is more concerned with beautiful experiences and telling tales than playing with server details. When he’s not building the internet or traveling the world, he’s on Instagram.