Sunday Funday and the 1.5 Hour WordPress Website

By Joshua Ballard / a couple of years ago

As some of you may know (or at least will by now, since I’m writing it here) I have decided to try an alternative lifestyle, the label of which becomes a talking point over dinner parties on tropical islands in southern Thailand.

I met some great people already in this stint, and one of them, in particular, got me thinking.

He was about to launch his travel blog as he documents a 1 year journey, and it made me realize that I set my own domain name months ago (can’t recall the exact date and don’t care to check).

I was explaining that WordPress is a great option, even if you’re not a serious business. many reasons etc

One reason people tend to think wWordPressmay not be the right platform for them is that its a huge learning curve, in which it can absolutely be.

When you really want it to perform, then there is a never ending amount of work that can be done to it (trust me, its my job haha). But for something simple, with no commercial ambitions in the immediate future, it can actually be pretty damn simple.

I decided that rather than watching some netflix on my Sunday night I would pump out an entire website ad a first blog.

Next thing we know, in just under 2 hours this bad boy was created (and netflix is still there, world didnt end).

If you’re interested (I imagine this will be a very small group of my friends who can be bothered, I ran through my notes and pasted them below.

My Notes Consisted of this congealed mess (courtesy of my favorite note taking app, Notepad).

Please remember, there is no spell checker in notepad, its more authentic that way, so dont give me crap about typos coming up!

  • fresh wordpress install (hosted with some cheap place I can not recall at the moment, costs a couple dollars per month)
  •  choose a theme: I chose Performag from Thrive Themes
  • upload theme and add license key (agency license key)
  • check theme instructions
  • design interim logoI Chose between using canva or getstencil for simplicity
    – ideal logo size to match the theme (performag) is 200×50
    -getstencil: I dislike the fact that holding ctrl+scrolling makes the whole thing go crazy and then I couldn’t intuitively figure out how to make the screen larger, had to work with it at scale 100%. On the plus side it was  easy to set the background as transparent and it has a great selection of icons ready to be used immediately.
    -Canva: transparent background requires a paid subscription (I don’t have one, but I have a lifetime subscription to getstencil), can scroll the image to the exact size that I want.decided, since i cant make it a transparent background, ill just use stencil.I then spent 10 minutes making a logo, wasted 3 mins trying to do somethign a little fancier, but without being able to zoom the screen in i just got frustrated and stopped.
  • added my logo to the website
  • filled in some basic theme details, such as copyright, logo placement etc
    – a nice touch is being able to use relative text, so {y} to automatically put in this years date. No more copyright images that simply reflect when the site was built
  • just keep working through the theme settings of thrive
    – choose a colour scheme
    – thrive give very basic options, however this can have any colour you want, provided you can use CSS. I just chose blue, and set it to ‘light’
    – left all the blog layouts as default, afterall, i chose the theme based ont he default. no need to change it for the sake of it
    – gave it a ‘floating’ navigation, so the menu remains visible (put a note aside later to test if this generates more or less page views)
    – setting blg setting featured images
    – handy video guide showing the different options
    – eventually it prompts you to add analytics scripts
    – i really like the thrive feature that makes it very simple to integrate this with google tag manager, which makes life much easier later
  • I decided to jump over and make it a google tag manager and google analytics account straight away. 8 minutes spent setting up a google tag manager, universal analytics, and then confrming the tags are firirng appropriately
  • updating some of the social settings made me realise that my facebook url was the same one i set when i first started facebook, so i changed it
  • make it throught the rest of the theme settings in about 10 minutes
  •  then realised that my display name is the same as my username for the login, not ideal
    – update user settings, realise that the email address used initially is a random one set to a box i dont think i even have access to
  • created a new user for myself to use
    – log out of the site, as everythign else im about to do should be completed by a public facing account
    – realise that my email i just used doesnt have a gravatar set, so need to set up a new account
  • realise that its been 6months, so my plugins and theme are outdated and need to be upgraded
    – while updatig plugins, decide to give akismet a crack and then have second thoughts. ill just watch how hard i get spammed in these early days without it
  • deactivated my coming soon plugin, now have 0 plugins active on the site
  • last point of frustration is the prsence of text saying ‘assign a primary menu’ rather than an actual menu.
    – have to make at least one link up there in that bad boy
    – may as well be contact, because i cbf writing an about us (about me?) page straight away
    – to do this i create a new page, label it ‘contact’, laugh to myself a little, and decide to actually call it ‘first contact’, UFO insinuation leading to just a form
    – saving the draft immediately makes me realise my permalinks are not set to anything other garbled junk, resulting in less sexy urls
    – updated this
  • now to add a form ill need my first plugin, a total crowd pleaser and accessable from within wordpress dashboard itself
    – 20 seconds later, my first form is generated, 10 seconds later its configured to notify me with an email inbox i actually monitor
    – contact us page is done, its boring, but its done
    – now i can make a menu item, it looks alright
  • now, I’m going to pretty much copy paste the notes ive been taking during this build into a new post (deleting poor old wordpress post that comes initially), promise myself to format it nicer later, write a quick intro, add a featured image and im off

Total Times (Recorded by Toggl)

Total Time on Website Build: 1:31:37

Total Time Creating Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager: 8:03

Total Time Writing into and formating this first post etc: 27:11

About the author

Joshua Ballard

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