I’ve used WordPress as a consumer before taking this class, but am a complete beginner when it comes to total web design!
From designing a logo to choosing the PERFECT WordPress theme…..Activating said theme, then nearly panicking when your website looks nothing like the beautiful theme you just paid for, to carefully choosing widgets and plugins (and knowing the difference). I didn’t realize just how much time I would need to allow for outside of the class. We learn so much in class, but it’s up to us to go home and implement what we’ve learned onto our new websites. So here are my tips, tricks, insights, and some stuff to just avoid altogether.
- Learn all you can from your instructors! Kori has always been enthusiastic when it comes to web design. She, AND her kick arse team at WebTegrity, are combining their super powers to throw down some wickedly awesome knowledge bombs in this course. Very similar to the way Power Rangers combine their talents to become one ginormous super-robot-thing…
- Save yourself time, and ask questions!!! The website I’m building for class is for a brand new business. My client has a very clear image of what their business is going to be and they decided on the name….but that’s about it.
One major roadblock for me was the logo. I didn’t know the first thing about designing one, and these types of questions swirled through my mind:
“Do I need to be able to draw?”
“Photoshop intimidates me.”
“Can I just use Paint instead?”
So I hunkered down and began several ridiculously time consuming Google searches. I found several “top free” articles… but a few downloads later, my antivirus software “detected malicious software” and I quickly resorted to eating Ben & Jerry’s w/ extra chocolate on top… Not a pretty sight…
Learn from my mistake! Ask questions in Basecamp first!! Don’t wait until you’ve been up all night combating viruses and wishing for nothing more than to dropkick your laptop…. Trust me! I work a full time job, so the very little amount of time that I do have to put towards my project for this class is precious!!!
Luckily, a quick shout out to the class and I was quickly directed towards some great resources for free image editing software (https://pixlr.com/ online image software and a free app called VSCOcam http://vsco.co/vscocam) and some pretty cheap stock photos (http://photodune.net/ and https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/).
- Work on building your website as often as you can. If you’re like me and get distracted by everything that’s not what you’re supposed to be doing…… its okay, I know your pain AND I have a pretty good solution: organize your time by completing one task at a time. If you know you’ve got to create 3 pages, write content for those pages, write a blog and update your Facebook and Twitter accounts; you can get all of that done! For example, you can give yourself 30 min. for each new page and its content. After that 30 min. is up, move onto the next page. Keep your pace going, try to stay within your time limits.
I noticed with myself, if I keep the time limits as short as possible, I will push myself to do more work than if I gave myself a generic deadline of “done by tomorrow”.
I also really like being able to cross things off my to-do list. I’m a visual person, so seeing just how many thing I was able to accomplish in a given amount of time is always fun. Plus it can be used as bragging rights. “Oh you had a long day today? Well my day went like this: work from 8a-5p, WordPress class from 6p-9p, and from 10p-11p I built 3 pages for the website, finalized my writing calendar, laid out my blog topics for 2015 AND beefed up my homepage with new images and content that is ripe for SEO.”
Bragging Rights! You’ve earned them!