It’s about time for a blog post that has nothing to do with farming! And even then that’s a bit of a lie.
Today I’m going to talk a bit about how I administrate my websites nowadays and how that has changed over the past decade and a half.
This blog, my HPRF site and my yarn blog all run on a content management system called WordPress. What is a CMS? It’s a tool that lets you manage the content apart from the visual display and functionality of the website. A good analogy would be to think of the way a pressroom works. Each writer works on the content of their story and hands it off to the editor, who wraps it up in the newspaper’s theme and presents it as one whole work.
This simple concept has changed the way I’ve chosen to develop websites.
I was a relatively early adopter of HTML given that I was like 8 at the time. Back in those days content and presentation were one and the same, you had one file with both things and to change one you could potentially mess up the other. Jump forward five years or so and while the adoption of the internet increased you still had one webmaster who was responsible for combining content and presentation. It was taxing work.
Nowadays though, with the adoption of the internet and blogging and social media in general, people are more confident with their abilities to create and manage the content. But it’s still a great idea to keep the presentation separated off in its own area, that way it can be changed independent of the content and vice versa.
Combine this concept with the open-source movement and you get a project like WordPress. Here’s another analogy for you, making a website with WordPress is a bit like going to a Build-a-bear store and making your custom stuffed animal. There are shelves of themes, tweaks, and plugins for you to modify your site with, and in the end you will end up with a website suited to your liking. As a designer I love this because I hate reinventing the wheel. If I want to integrate my Flickr pictures, I can simply install a Flickr plugin, authenticate the plugin with the Flickr site itself, and bam it’s done. Now with one click I can insert a picture from my Flickr account. The ease of plugins like this lets me as an admin improve my site constantly to end up with a great user experience.
And thankfully my skills as a coder and designer are not for naught. While there are tons of themes available for free and for money, having HTML and CSS skills lets you create and modify themes on your own. So I can still build you the exact site you want if you started out with a sketch, it will simply be powered by WordPress underneath, which lets you come in and put your content whenever and wherever you want.
Speaking of which, I have some time nowadays so if you’d like to have a website created or know of someone who does, give me a shout! From little personal family blog to serious money-making websites I can do them all for you.
In the coming days I’ll be posting more posts here about my WordPress love, such as listing out some of my most valued plugins and tweaks.