Site Building for Fun and (Eventual) Profit with WordPress

As a simple exercise in site-building, I’d decided to recreate an existing corporate website (originally made with Drupal 7) in WordPress. No, I won’t tell you which website, but as far as getting the baseline platform up and running went, WP is truly hard to beat in terms of ease and speed.

Hey You, Get Onto My Cloud (Nine)

This link lays things out for spinning up a WP workspace on Cloud 9:

If I were to have rolled out the “first draft” version of this new site to a non-development environment, I’d probably have to have done a bit more moderate lifting, but for the sake of being able to scoot ‘n’ shoot, it’s truly hard to beat Cloud 9.

WordPress in a Nutshell: Pick a Theme, Then Copy/Paste?

Instead of launching myself headfirst into making a custom theme via child theme or a blank slate, I decided to quickly peruse the mega-mart of WP themes. Even the “official” themes directory from the WP site is overwhelming, and scrolling through literally hundreds of “one page” designs from a premium themes site had almost made me forsake that forever-scrolling approach to building a site.

At some point, folks may look at those one pagers the same way that we shudder at those eyebleed Geocities sites (or the more humble AOL Home Pages). I think that Bootstrap sites may qualify for future-retro-embarrassment, although I think there’s quite a bit of Bootstrap-shaming already. As an aside, I like Bootstrap.

More Embarrassing Than Bootstrap

So, I pick a theme, and start tweaking away probably for hours, spending a good chunk trying to get a carousel working on the landing page. Yeah, let’s talk about future-retro-embarrassment-today stuff: carousels. I kinda like them, but yeah, they’re a big use of space that you’d really have to do something special with in order to truly justify that much real estate.

On the other hand, I kinda like the constant motion, as it offsets the walls of text that occupy these pages. And is great for freebie images for these carousels. Although their “business” image section has more photos of MacBooks than Craigslist.

Copywriting Is Going To Be a Doozy

I’d recently started using Yoast SEO, perhaps because I enjoy being nagged at by a grammar-checker imploring me to use section titles and to use more active voice. The copy on the site that’d remade is going to need a lot of work to get those orange and red dots at the bottom of this edit page to go green. There are many walls of text on this site, but it’s infinitely better to use actual content than to slather on the bacon/hipster ipsum.

Just Because You Can, You Perhaps Should

One simply does not become a WordPress wizard overnight. Just because I can spin up an install, slap on a theme and a bunch of plugins, and copy over some verbiage, it most likely doesn’t mean that I can go sell someone a new company website. Or maybe I should anyway.