On code, poetry and trying stuff out

[This is a post about making this site, so ignore if you’re not into that.]

This site is built using the blog tool WordPress. If you’ve never heard of it, neither had I until I went to Northern Voice last year. (Besides all the WP evangelists, founder Matt Mullenweg was the keynote speaker.)

The funny thing about WordPress is, it looks pretty user-friendly. The site is clean and conversational. It advertises a “famous 5-minute installation.” But then there is also this ominous warning:

If you have no idea what to do with this download, we recommend signing up with one of our web hosting partners that offers a one click install of WordPress or getting a free account on WordPress.com.

I had no idea what to do with that download.

I went ahead anyway, but got scared off for most of a year by language like PHP and mySQL. I can happily say now you don’t need to know what that means to install or use the tool.

But it takes way longer than five minutes.

The rest was comparatively easy, although I found most bits I tried to add didn’t work the first time either.

These worked (and thanks be to their developers!):

  • PrimePress as a theme, with an easily customizable header. (Others I tried said they did, but my pic never fit well)
  • cformsII as a contact form. It’s not listed on the WP site, but others didn’t allow for the styling I wanted.
  • Twitter for WordPress to show my Twitter feed. Others looked weird. I’d like to style this one more too, but that would take some fumbling about.*

It’s a work in progress, and if anyone has any tips let me know.

* Fumbling is required because I don’t know css, I just work it by changing the style sheet, seeing what I break, and going from there.

2 Comments

  1. Good for you for taking the stab at builidng your site yourself. If you can manage through all of the wordpress forums – you’ll likely find some good tidbits. A lot of them have the code that you need to enter in order to do things like round the corners of your nav tool bar or change the background.

    DM me on Twitter if you need any help – I went through all of this fumbling a few months ago when I launched mine. At the end, I took the things I really couldn’t figure out myself and had my web-techies put the polishing on it so to speak.

  2. Thanks! I may need to take you up on the offer.
    The forums were helpful — especially where someone had posted the exact bit of code to remove and replace.
    It all went from harder than I’d hoped to easier than I’d feared 🙂

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