Quite a while ago I wrote a post about how I built my website. It was rather a labour-intensive and complicated process (easy enough if you know about these things, no doubt, but quite tough for the novice), so I decided to split the post in two. Picking up from where I left off last time: once I’d got my theme installed I was then ready to go…. but soon realised that I might have bitten off more than I could chew. There are various tutorials available online for using WordPress, and there is a vast and helpful WordPress.org community out there willing to help with queries. The problem I had, though, was that my ignorance was so immense that I didn’t know where to start in even framing my questions.
Messing about on YouTube one day I found a video made by a bloke called Bob, based in Seattle, who offers WordPress tutorials on-line. There’s the odd free one, but to really get plugged in to the useful stuff, you have to pay for Bob’s tutorials – and fair enough. (Click on the photo below to get to Bob’s website).
So I took the plunge, and started working through the tutorials, which I must say are excellent. Bob has a nice easy-going style and his explanations are comprehensive and thorough. With this help I was able to make sense of the WordPress dashboard (which is where you set up your design, establish a menu system, install plugins, use widgets and write posts). All this took me some time, but I plodded through it all determined to get it to work. The investment in Bob’s tutorials was well worth the comparatively modest outlay.
So where am I at with all this? You can see the fruits of my labours in the website. It’s not perfect, and I will no doubt make some changes to it over time, but I’m reasonably happy with it at the moment. I feel a sense of achievement in having got this far. Nowadays, if there’s something I don’t understand at least I know enough to be able to frame the query so as to stand a reasonable chance of getting an appropriate answer online from the WordPress.org community.
What I can’t do is alter the code that underlies what you see on the website. The Prose theme using the Genesis framework can be used by an ignoramus like me – I’ve proved it – but for some of the smart stuff you need to understand CSS code. At the moment this is beyond me, but I’m thinking that I’d quite like to do a course on it and really get to grips with this techie stuff. All in good time. For the moment I’m just happy with what I’ve got.
Would I recommend making a website this way? Well, I think you do need to be fairly computer-literate to start with, and willing to engage with some technicalities that may seem daunting at first. There is a significant pay-off, though, in doing it this way: I don’t need to rely on anyone else to update my website content. If I want to insert a new page, change the menu, add a gallery or update pages I can do it all myself. For me, this independence is worth the considerable investment in time.