The Trials and Tribulations of WordPress

WordPress Logo
The Chilli PA Services website has been built using WordPress (not to be confused with which is specifically for blogs). Before WordPress I used good old Microsoft Office Live Small Business which let you register a domain and then provides free hosting and website templates.

However, the rigidity of the Microsoft website templates meant that after a year of being in business, Chilli PA Services needed a sparkly new website. Cue lots of research on the internet to find website designers, lots of telephone calls to various people and the realisation that a new website could cost anything between £250 to £5,000.

Whilst Googling like a maniac, WordPress kept popping up. A tool that would let me control my content easily and quickly. After some more investigation I decided that it was worth giving a go, I knew what I wanted from the website and I had an idea of what I wanted it to look like, so then my WordPress journey began…

Installing WordPress, luckily for me, I had recently bought the .com domain for Chili PA Services with Daily and they provided an easy 2 click installation path for installing WordPress…..yay!! Otherwise, I would have had to use the (in)famous 5 minute install for WordPress – not so yay according to some of the comments I have read on various forums.

Once WordPress was installed I needed to find an appropriate Theme. The WordPress community is huge and a lot of people have spent a lot of time designing and developing themes that WordPress users can use to control the general look and feel of their website. You can then customise these themes to suit yourself, or, if you’re pretty IT savvy have a go and design your own theme. There are thousands of free WordPress themes, but there are companies such as iThemes and Themeforest that sell themes for under £100. Initially the excitement of having so many themes to choose from kept me on my toes, however, within a couple of hours I was officially ‘theme exhausted’. I would find a theme that I liked and then find that the theme had not been developed properly or it did not allow me to customise it as much as I would like to. Eventually, through a process of trialing and testing I settled on my theme and started to design my website.

With a mixture of Widgets and Plugins you can mix and match lots of elements to make your website your own. Widgets can be added to the side menus of a website, whether its a tag cloud, images or social media buttons the range of widgets is almost limitless. Plugins allow you to develop and expand your website even further, making it more accessible and easier to use by adding specific capabilities such as adding an image/video gallery or integrating your website with Google Analytics. Again, as with the themes as almost anyone can submit a Widget or Plugin you will find that some are better than others.

The only advice I can give you when it comes to WordPress Themes, Widgets and Plugins is that it definitely helps to know what you want before you look for it, otherwise, the temptation to go overboard and install anything and everything is VERY strong and you could end up with a patchwork website. Keep your focus and don’t be seduced into fitting your website around WordPress, instead make WordPress work for you. There are a lot of helpful tutorials on YouTube and the WordPress forum is a mine of information. Make use of all these tools to ensure that your WordPress journey isn’t a frustrating one.

Let us know if you have any tips when using WordPress

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