Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Thoughts on Wordpress

As I've been watching my web traffic at my personal blog and website over the past few weeks, I noticed that my website was getting more and more visitors--more than my blog at times, which is quite the opposite from the norm. And I still wasn't really happy with the old website. It was better than my first draft, but it lacked oomph.

However, I also didn't really relish the idea of going back to the drawing board with Dreamweaver yet again. Coding in html can be a long and arduous process--especially when you're trying to convert a bunch of pages from what design to the other.

Here at the library, the university has been transitioning over to a Wordpress-based web design. I've heard a lot about Wordpress over the years, of course. Enough that I poked my head over and checked it out a time or two. But each time, I ended up deciding it wasn't worth it to me to learn a new way of doing things. The learning curve seemed too steep.

But at the same time, Wordpress lets you redesign an entire site quickly and easily--or so I'd been told. If I finally moved over to Wordpress, I might be able to avoid another long conversion process in the future. And like it or not, my library site is going to go Wordpress at some point. So in the end, I decided to bite the bullet and learn Wordpress.


It might seem daunting at first, but it really is easier and more elegant (in my opinion) than html. That isn't to say that if I were an html-ninja I couldn't do more with html. No doubt I could. But a ninja I am not. (Hopefully we can still be friends, even though I've now publicly admitted that.) I need something easy--something I can tweak on the fly whenever I need to.

Wordpress fills this need perfectly.

In the end, it only took me about two days to learn the software, find a theme I liked (Atahualpa--a theme my coworker suggested, and which I settled on because it was so versatile and easy to tweak), change the theme to my tastes, and then transition the site. (Which you can view now right here.) It's not flashy, but it's clean--and yes, if and when I choose to update the site again, I can change the entire site design all at once. Hooray for that.

So if you're in the market for a new webpage (or want to make one of your own), allow me to add my admittedly-belated voice in support of Wordpress. It's free, it's got a ton of support, it's relatively easy to learn and use, and it's really robust. If you're interested in making the jump, the best place for info is definitely Wordpress themselves. However, I'll say this much--actually navigating their site and using it to find information isn't the easiest task in the world. I found their interface to search themes and plug-ins quite weak and disappointing. Enough so that I wondered if I was using it correctly. Maybe I wasn't. Just be prepared if you make the jump to spend some time actually reading detailed information about how to do certain things. It's an easy transition, but that doesn't mean you can or should do it without a manual.

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