I have finally made the development and updating of this website very easy by using a few third party plugins and GIT. I now make all of my changes in my development environment and push my changes through GIT to my shared HostGator account.
I used a configuration setup that allows me to setup environments and settings so there is no more changing anything before pushing to production. all of the database and URL settings are in a environment based configuration setup. I am also using a nice third party tool that will allow me to push/pull the database to my local development machine so that I can really test any updates on the development machine with clean data.
Here is to a more productive New Year!