Building a WP website (resources, reco's)

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05/30/2008

I know there have been a number of threads about building WP sites, but since trends and tech change so often, I figure it's worth asking again.

Seeking suggestions or recommendations for:

- themes to use

- training videos

- step-by-step guides

- what to be sure to do or not do

Thanks in advance!

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05/30/2008

Thank you, everyone, for your input!

Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

Yes, all I've seen come with dummy data, but it doesn't just install and you have the demo you looked at online. That's what a newbie is looking for, but you have to do stuff to get to that point, and you shouldn't have to.

It's a case of them (creators of the theme) knowing it all so inside-out, they can't put themselves in the shoes of a first time user. It's harder than it has to be.

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05/22/2008

FYI: To get the "dummy data": you have to use WordPress Tools / Import and import the dummy xml file to your site. 

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05/22/2008

I am not recommending these themes, but if you watch THESE VIDEOS, you will get a good idea of how wordpress works.  Very easy ..... once you know what you are doing. But it does so much depending on the theme you purchase.

I suggest you download FIREBUG and use it to view websites so you can get used to seeing the styles being used on sites and play with it so you can see how you can customize the styles to suit your needs. Some folks would have you believe you install wp, install your theme and away you go...sorry...not that easy..if you want a good site.

I have used alot of different themes. The Coherence one is nice, But one I found I like so much better is called Striking.

Available through ThemeForest. The thing that seals the deal with me on this theme..it does so much...but more importantly is the outstanding support the fellows provide. There are only 3 of them but they do yeoman's duty is helping their buyers. I have been beta testing the new Striking Responsive and it is great. It does soooo much. It should be coming out very soon. Anyone who buys the current Striking theme, will get a Free upgrade to the responsive one when it is ready.  How many companies would do that?  None that I know of. They would charge you as if you were buying a new theme.

Read and watch videos. BEFORE you start doing anything. Another good source for training our these YouTube Videos. They do a good job.

Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

EmptyNest wrote:

Some folks would have you believe you install wp, install your theme and away you go...sorry...not that easy..if you want a good site.

AMEN to that! I've worked with a couple of different themes and what you get "out of the box" is nothing like the samples they show you. I had thought that they'd start me with the sample they show. After all, that sample is why I bought the theme. Then I'd just have to change the text and photos to my own, and I'd be happily on my way.

But oh no. Out of the box it's much more basic. Lots of cool features they show in the samples takes advanced knowledge and a few trips to research or to contact their tech support for help. Don't know why they don't just start you out with the sample you liked!

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05/22/2008

oh, there are some themes that have demo data you can download and work from. Striking is one of them. That way you at least have some dummy pages you can use, adapt or copy to other pages. some of the "cheapo" themes say they use purchased images and will not provide them. one I bought the other day, I paid extra for psd files and they were a total waste!

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

Ditto getting a responsive theme. Mine isn't yet but it should be soon. My theme is Striking.

Once you find a theme, search for training videos on how to use it.

Go thru the whole theme and turn off/on the things you don't want/things you do want. Some of the plug ins do things you don't expect so go thru all of those as well before you're deep into the creation part. Figure out what you need the site to do and download the right plug ins first. It's hard to go back later and add plug ins and then have to change what you've done because the plug in wants things a certain way.

I think all of them let you change the colors and add a slideshow but you should be sure the slideshow works on all platforms.

There's an SEO help plug in called Yoast SEO. It will help you build the SEO and let you know if you're hitting the mark.

Changing from html to WP - all your page names will be different. You can redirect the old pages to the new ones after the new site is launched.

What I found... Google was crawling the WP pages as I was working on them. As it took me 3-4 months to finish this I didn't want that. You can password protect your pages so even tho google finds the new page names the new pages themselves won't show. There is also the extra option of asking the search engines not to crawl your pages. And adding a command to your root directory to not crawl. (The exact phrasing escapes me.) Those 3 things should keep your new pages under wraps until you are ready to launch.

Don't use the default 'admin' as your log in.

Lay out the site first before you even start using the template. I just cut and pasted a lot, but I did find this was the perfect time to cut and not paste a lot of stuff I used to have.

Sizing your photos - the templates have default sizes. You should size your photos before you upload them. If you try to force a non-standard size you get google telling you you're not efficient and the page is loading more slowly than it could.

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Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

Be sure your theme is responsive, meaning it automatically formats itself, resizes photos, etc. to fit the width of whatever screen it's currently viewed on.

I use a theme called Coherence. If you go here you can see a sample of that theme. Once you get there, grab the side of the browser window with your mouse and slowly make it narrower and narrower and you'll see how the layout automatically responds to keep everything readable with no need for horizontal scrolling, while keeping the text full size and readable, right down to the size of a mobile phone screen. This means one website will work for any user, from a desktop down to a phone screen.

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