In the last couple of years, a new type of web designer has emerged: the WordPress web designer.
What is a WordPress web designer?
In a nutshell: smart, forward thinking web designers that base most if not all of their web design work off of WordPress. That means the entire web site is built using WordPress.
Why build all your sites using WordPress?
For the very same reason you don’t go the woods to kill a turkey for Thanksgiving (you go to the grocery store) … is why WordPress web designers don’t build static HTML websites – why would you not take advantages of all the things that WordPress does for you for free!
… Some nerd details:
When basing your web site off of WordPress, you get all this functionality for free:
Advanced templating for easy site wide updates.
Automatic search and categorizing of your content.
Built-in image upload and insertion.
Built-in text editor and the ability for non-nerds to add, edit delete pages.
… And that is just scratching the surface!
The economic advantages of using WordPress
If you haven’t guessed it already, using WordPress in your day-to-day web work WILL have major economic advantages – in a nutshell, you will be able to provide a lot more for your clients for a lot less work! This will lead to you landing more web design contracts and making more cash because the extra WordPress skills will allow you to charge more for your time.
Anyone who knows me, understands that I think learning and using WordPress is pretty much a must for web designers – WordPress is a key tool in the web design toolbox. That said, WordPress does have it’s failings (though not many) and one of them is the seemingly constant stream of upgrades.
What!? Aren’t upgrades a good thing?
Normally sure. But it seems to me that just as soon as you’ve gone through the trouble of installing the latest WordPress upgrade … you get another dashboard message saying it’s time to upgrade, again!
Of course these days, WordPress now has an ‘Upgrade Automatically’ button that should do it all for you … but I confess, I’m old-school and I’ve never used it. I do it the old fashion way and download the new WordPress files manually, upload them to my server etc …
All my complaining aside, one option is to not upgrade all the time.
WordPress allows you to schedule your post in advance so you can say, write up a bunch of articles and then schedule them to be published over a period of days (weeks or months .. whatever) while you are say … sitting on the beach.
The video (try watching in 720p and go fullscreen … it’s cool):
Actually, this very post was scheduled for publication the next day, while I was at the movies watching Avatar on the iMax.
… It could be, that you are watching this video at the very moment, that I’m actually watching Avatar and spilling my Coke on the person sitting next to me!
I am a big believer in WordPress as a platform for web designers to build off of … why only give your clients a simple static site, when you can for the same price, provide them with all the bells and whistles that a WordPress based site can give you:
ability for non-nerds to upload images and add new pages.
built in password protected pages.
… And man, there is much more.
Anyway, you ought to learn how to use this blog engine (like creating WordPress templates) … or any other, if you want to beat the competition these days. Other WordPress like blog engines/CMS’ you may want to consider include:
– Movable Type
… There are many others out there, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. I chose WordPress a few years back because it was powerful enough for my needs and it had a huge community to lean on – and it still does.
WordPress 2.9 just released
The nerds in charge of WordPress seem to have no lives … they just keep coming out with new versions it seems like almost every three weeks! OK, it is isn’t that often but it still is moving along at a pretty faced pace.
Some of the new features in these release:
1. Global undo/â€trashâ€ feature, which means that if you accidentally delete a post or comment you can bring it back from the grave (i.e., the Trash). This also eliminates those annoying â€œare you sureâ€ messages we used to have on every delete.
2. Built-in image editor allows you to crop, edit, rotate, flip, and scale your images to show them whoâ€™s boss. This is the first wave of our many planned media-handling improvements.
3. Batch plugin update and compatibility checking, which means you can update 10 plugins at once, versus having to do multiple clicks for each one, and weâ€™re using the new compatibility data from the plugins directory to give you a better idea of whether your plugins are compatible with new releases of WordPress. This should take the fear and hassle out of upgrading.
4. Easier video embeds that allow you to just paste a URL on its own line and have it magically turn it into the proper embed code, with Oembed support for YouTube, Daily Motion, Blip.tv, Flickr, Hulu, Viddler, Qik, Revision3, Scribd, Google Video, Photobucket, PollDaddy, and WordPress.tv (and more in the next release).
Creating a ‘killer’ blog is not that hard to understand … but it is hard to do.
As the title of this post suggest, there are three things you need if you want to create a ‘killer’ blog:
Start with a great blog software.
Get a great design.
Produce great content.
The list above is in order of doing, but not the order of importance: content is still king and so you must be able to produce quality content on a regular basis for your blog, otherwise it won’t work.
A gravatar, or globally recognized avatar, is quite simply an avatar image that follows you from weblog to weblog appearing beside your name when you comment on gravatar enabled sites. Avatars help identify your posts on web forums, so why not on weblogs?
From a community members point of view, whatâ€™s cool about gravatars is that you donâ€™t have to upload your avatar image on every blog, forum or community that you are a member of. And from the community ownerâ€™s point of view, you can now add a little pizazz to your blog or forum with your members gravatars.
What is the difference between a CMS (content management system) and a Wiki?
In a nutshell:
Both are web based applications/software designed to allow many people to contribute content (typically articles … but podcast and videos are becoming more common) to a website.
I would say the basic difference is that a CMS (Ex: Drupal) is a closed system where only certain people can add or edit content to the website/cms.
On the other hand, a wiki is an open system where anyone can edit and add content. The idea behind a wiki is that the masses will eventually correct any false information – with the help of editors.
I’m no wiki expert, but I see wiki’s being more suitable to general encyclopedic information. If you need a tighter structure and control over what is being posted on your site, I would be leaning towards a CMS rather than a WIKI.
That said, I am sure that the differences between the two types of software has room for a lot of gray area – I’m sure some CMS software have WIKI like functionality and vice versa.
How about blogs?
Blogs are kinda like a CMS for one person. One other distinction would be that the blog traditionally is date driven – where newer articles are posted to the front page of the blog. As with the WIKI/CMS blurring of the lines, you see the same with blogs and CMS software.
For example: WordPress (a popular blog program) has CMS like features:
Multiple users can post articles.
You can have static non date affected pages. WordPress call these ‘pages’.
Beyond the CMS-like features built into the core WordPress package, WordPress has a huge number of plug-ins out there that extend it’s capability considerably … bringing it even closer inline with a true CMS.
This first article is meant to give you a global picture about creating WordPress themes. Let’s start by answering a few common questions.
Do you need to know PHP to create or edit WordPress themes?
The short answer is no. It would help to know some PHP but many theme designers don’t, and they do just fine.
Do you need to understand MySQL to create or edit WordPress themes?
Again, no. Mysql is the database that drives WordPress and is a key component … nonetheless, it has no impact on creating themes. So don’t worry about it.
What do you need to know in order to be able to edit or create a WordPress theme?
I would say that you need to know three basic things:
The WordPress page hierarchy and behavior.
I think the first two are obvious, but the last needs some more explaining.