After an endless nightmare of dragging and dropping videos, buttons and contact forms, a Sydney Theme WordPress tutorial helped me finally create the website I’ve always wanted.
Over recent months I’ve had a fair bit of practice building websites. Well… one website actually, my personal brand website… the one that’s about me. Now if I seem to be a bit heavy-going on the self back-patting here, well it’s for good reason. After ending a fruitless marriage to expensive site management services, I decided to go it alone. I Spring-cleaned the office (yeah OK, it was Spring 2015 and a few months morphed into a year), and then tried, and failed, to reach out for some David Lynch-inspired transcendental meditation – a feeble attempt to connect with my inner techno-nerd who, I’ve now assured myself, never existed. I gingerly hitched onto the cyber conga worm, the WordPress express of DIY website-builders. It’s been a bumpy ride of false starts and resets but I think I’ve finally gotten there.
I’ve viewed every YouTube tutorial on the subject of DIY websites. There’s lots of them, you know? Bazillions! (my wife’s favourite word for anything that is plentiful in quantity). Out there in internet-land exists a global smorgasbord of wannabee YouTube entrepreneurs and plugin professors readily spouting their interface know-how. Many have sponsorship deals with hosting companies and domain providers and so they’ll often include a link beneath their YouTube video that provides you a discount with their delegated sponsor. Surprisingly however, they all tell you that the actual website building process is not too difficult at all, and so what they offer you in terms of site building is much the same. There are hordes of these website wizards cheerily unleashing profound widget wisdom. From their mum’s basement and makeshift kitchen offices they assert with spiv-like salesmanship that ‘this website that you’re about to build from scratch is far superior to any other website that my competitors said you could build from scratch, and I know you probably just clicked on those other tutorials and checked out their website before you opened this tutorial on how to build a website but trust me this is the website you need blah blah…‘ In their hunger for one more subscriber click or one more red ‘thumbs up’ likey-like, they gleefully pronounce to the abysmally non-techno saps like myself: “I’m going to show you how to build your very own website in just a few minutes with NO STEPS SKIPPED!” In minutes… no steps skipped… really? Quite an outrageous pitch considering most of these webcam how-to-guides are two hour epics.
What have I learnt from the months (year) it’s taken me to piece together a mini-cache of digital bravado and satisfying online presence? Theme, theme, THEME! If you don’t choose a theme that succinctly expresses, on the home page, who you are and what you do, then you’ll end up with red-eyed nausea. Or, as in my case, crafting a mini-bible of website pages only to realise, as I reached for the opening-night Champagne, that my page’s archaic floral-framed photo gallery, psychedelic sidebar and manic oversized call-to-action button was crap. The theme is your website skeleton, the template that starts you off. It’s the first building block you lay down. Think of theme selection being like deciding at the stationery store what type of presentation book you need. Think of how many services you are providing to your visiting clients and the level of importance they have in your presentation portfolio. Will your website be rich in photographic content or video files or short stories, or retail products or wedding plans? Are you selling, promoting, referring, servicing or all the above? WordPress has a wondrous array of free themes from which to choose. I found the Sydney theme best suited my needs. Blog or website? Blog or website? I decided on a website with a blog because my work-life is an oscillating brew of publicist, press release writer, medical trainer, videographer and performing artist – a pretty strange vocational mix indeed and one that now requires disciplined CV updating on a regular basis.
I chose a theme (it’s called ‘Sydney’ – see below) that lays out on a neat scroll-down home page my work experience in both media and performing arts. I wanted a blog platform, a row for audio (if you like balloons and The Fifth Dimension then ‘Check Out The Voice‘) and video samples and a portfolio preview of my published articles. All the skills I have on offer are presented on the home page which then refers to the site’s sub-pages. The WordPress Sydney theme is incredibly functional, has superb mobile responsiveness for small-screen reading, works really well with popular WordPress plugins and significant re-formats are hassle-free – great for when I need to shape new landing pages for my upcoming 2017 projects.
Anyway, here’s the result
Please have a gander, leave a comment, feedback or suggestion – so far I’ve been taking a lot of suggestions on board and implementing them. I’d be more than happy to pass on some novice (and I do mean novice) website-builder tips.
Four Great Website-Building Gurus on YouTube:
Tyler Moore Already Tyler has his imitators and you’ll discover from a quick Google search that many WordPress site-building teachers are copying his sales style (‘no steps skipped’ is being mimicked everywhere) and lesson layout. His ‘Explore’ – How To Make A WordPress Website 2015 video has had more than 5 million views.
Josh Jackson I love Josh’s work and he has a great range of instructional videos for different website types. Josh is procedural, articulate, and his check list at the beginning of each video gives a clear overview of what will be covered in each tutorial.