I love WordPress.com – the design templates are clean, fresh, and best of all, easy to use. On the other hand, its .org version is definitely trickier to navigate. My client had decided on WordPress.org and just needed someone to bring their website to life – what they didn’t know is that I had never touched it before. I figured that after all my web dev learning, I could wing it.
The first thing I discovered was that the .org version allows templates aka themes. You can either select a theme directly from the site or alternatively find a compatible one online and install it using a zip file. Be aware though that most free themes have limited modification options. After a couple days playing with different themes I came across Hogan Chua’s channel on YouTube and finalized on the super modifiable theme Themify Ultra. Check out his easy to follow tutorial here.
Now, you may know that WordPress.org uses widgets and plugins which I had a basic idea about but couldn’t have told you how they were different from each other. So, after a bit of reading online here’s my overly simplistic explanation:
- Widgets are for appearances.
- Some popular widgets are for displaying post stats, social icons + stats, archives, authors, and testimonials.
- Plugins add functionality to a website – including functions that are visible.
- Some popular plugins are designed for SEO, scheduled backups, contact forms, email marketing, security, caching for faster site loading, and photo and video galleries.
Read a much better (and thorough) explanation here. And it’s worth knowing that they’re not all created equal, i.e., beware of the ones that radically reduce the speed of your site.
Finally, using the design inspiration my client had provided, I put pen to paper to draw ideas before transferring them to a digital sandbox environment for play purposes. After receiving the go-ahead, I moved my final design over to my client’s site where it’s currently sitting ready to go live and I can’t wait until I can share it!