I recently created a Wordpress based website Balaji Wires. It was one of my first projects as a freelancer/consultant.
Wordpress installation mess
It took me 2 days to get Wordpress working on my desktop (Linux Mint). Ironic, considering Wordpress promises installation in 5 minutes. Turns out, the Wordpress available in Ubuntu repositories is outdated and its guide is no help either. Found his guide by Digital Ocean, which is exceptionally crisp and accurate. With this, installation was done in less than 15 minutes.
Wordpress excels in addressing usual suspects of setting up a website. All these were relatively easy to setup.
- Google Analytics
- Free HTTPS
- Email - Plugin and Sendgrid on Google Cloud
- Brainstorm Widgets
- Visual Composer
- Child theme to allow easy updates of theme.
Even though the website did not feature a blog, I chose a theme so as to minimize the effort in creating a beautiful looking site. I chose Porto theme and it was a big learning for me. I had to muck around a lot to resolve simple issues (compounded by my lack of Wordpress experience).
- My learning: Choose a theme with a lot of sales like Avada or X-Theme.
- Porto sales = ~4,500, X Theme sales = ~95,000, Avada sales = ~200,000!
- Higher sales = Good standard documentation
- Higher sales = Lot of indirect documentation in form of Q&A from other buyers and YouTube videos.
- Higher sales = Most of the edge case issues have been ironed out.
- Optimize cache settings on the plugin
- Use proxy servers like nginx, apache or varnish
- Use HTTP2 on top
Image editing marathon
60% of my time on this project ended up being spent on editing the images. Though thanks to that I learned Gimp a bit and found this amazing tool called ImageMagick. Few operations/aspects of these tools I learned are:
- Image resize and Canvas select a.ka. Crop
- Transparent background
- Excellent Selection tools - By selection, by color, by fuzzy logic its all here.
- Clone and Erase
- Export as PNG to retain transparent background. JPEG does not support it.
- Clients are very visual. Agile methodology of customer involvement and splitting work in multiple phases is critical.
- Its better to coordinate with only 1 point of contact if working for a client company.
- Though, as happened with me, chances are, at latter stages once other folks will have feedback and that will have to be incorporated too.
- Emailing work to your clients is not enough. You have to be physically be there to walk them through, otherwise the emails are mostly ignored or replied to very late.
Project lasted much longer than I anticipated. Most of this time was consumed in image editing. Wordpress & the theme had some learning curve, though very handy once learned. All in all, lot of learning. That makes me happy!