I created a WordPress.org site recently for several reasons:
Growth. I have started to develop other sites and I need the customisation power of the .org version
Maturity. The more you develop as an individual, the more you need to learn and extend yourself. The .org allows me to do this
Fuss. I really need to see what the fuss is all about myself having heard so much about the .org. [note: Matt’s .com version is a fantastic tool for beginners and I recommend it highly].
And as an aside, I never really bought into the arguement of ‘Matt and .Com owned and could potentially take my data away at some stage‘. Yes I agree that I own my content in .org version but come on- I think we can trust Matt and the staying power of WordPress.com.
Anyway, let me get on to some early observations.
This is obviously not a problem with the .com version but this is something to consider with the .org version. I checked out a few and crossed off a lot based on price, features and reviews.
I landed with 2 in the end: Siteground or GoDaddy. I landed with Siteground based on (a) its history with the Mac and (b) the powerful testimonials (Syed Balkhi and others, mattered).
I skipped over the documentation and went straight for selecting WordPress setup and- BOOM! I was pleasantly surprised that I had WordPress.org installed. I had no need for video tutorials or had no need for my FTP client to transfer my WordPress.org files. Incredible. They were not kidding when they boasted about “1 click install“.
The only hiccup I did notice was when I received an error during the last step of install. I got worried and invoked Live Chat. Unfortunately there was no one in the other end immediately so after about 30 seconds, I switched back to Siteground’s main site to see if I could go through some documentation. Lo and behold, the system automatically fixed the problem.
I was even more surprised when I toggled back to Live Chat to see that I missed a specialist on the other end. All within 2 minutes.
I was so happy that I had to tweet it:
So far, so good.
Well this looks familiar.
The .org dashboard with the sidebar, body and all, looks exactly like the .com dashboard at first glance. Upon closer inspection, there are subtle differences from the plugins, to jetpack and initial Siteground default promo on the dashboard. And I even noticed the subtle change in the “W” (WordPress) logo.
While I found it nice to see the familiar dash, I really wanted to get out of my own comfort zone and feel ‘unsafe’. It’s quite scary to start something new, BUT I like challenges (and I know I’ll get there in the end).
One such challenge was using a theme that had a default iThemes footer (which I wanted to remove. And by the way, Siteground provides free premium themes).
“Fine, this should be easy,” I thought. But then I remembered that this was .org, and I now had to manually change files and upload the changes via FTP.
FTP with Transmit
Here’s a little detour: I needed a FTP client.
I googled and came up with 3 options: Filezilla, Cyberduck and Transmit. I dismissed Filezilla based on a virus warnings last year (yes, it’s likely that it only contained the virus if you downloaded Filezilla from certain sites- but this stuff scares me and there are other FTP clients out there. Blame it on Google’s lonnnnnnnng memory).
So I was down with Cyberduck and Transmit. The short of it: I went with Transmit based on its glowing Mac reviews (good testimonials are so important).
And just like Siteground, the Transmit client was just so easy to use. Split screen, your local files, your host, drag and drop. You really can’t ask for anything more.
Transfer speed? So far, not an issue.
2 thumbs up for Transmit.
Trial and Error work part 1: Footer fail.
So there I was, back with my footer config. I knew this going in but thought to test my luck anyway: I went to the footer.php file and got rid of:
$builder_link = 'iThemes Builder">iThemes Builder'; $ithemes_link = 'iThemes'; $wordpress_link = 'WordPress & hosted by SiteGround WordPress Hosting';
saved it, FTP’d and refreshed the page.
It turns out that the above is used by some other component (like duh, I am such a noob).
But I am not that much of a noob to not take a backup. So after reinstalling the footer.php file, all my styling came back to my page.
Don’t play with fire again until you understand how the model-view-controller works.
I bookmarked LayersWP a while back until such a time a made a leap of faith to go to .org. I am so thankful that I did save this link for a rainy day as the interface, powerful features and easy-as intuitive nature made designing a site delightful.
So I now have a perrycarbonell.com site live, but very much still in-development.
[publishing a development site is quite OK with me. Perhaps you I’ll make a series of blogs on how it goes and if you do happen to follow, you can watch live development – success / failures and all].
So why should you care about Layers WP?
It’s super easy, looks good and free.
And what about the features?
- it’s as easy as ‘drag and drop’ and ‘point and click’
- it’s very intuitive
- it provides CSS power
- the designs are modern and responsive
But don’t take my word for it. Take these:
If you’re reading this, I do urge you to check them out if you haven’t so already.
[note: I ventured into Squarespace not too long ago but let me tell you that the guys at LayersWP are pushing out templates that look every bit as pretty for the visitor – and they’re making the UI every bit as easy for the user]
Made with love all the way from South Africa!
And what about this site? I can see myself migrating content from this blog to my new site sometime in the future. But I still have a whole lot to do before that happens.
I do figure to move to .org sometime this year though, once I get my new design right.
About this post
Trying to get into this startup game is a really thing to do. There are some very serious technical and financial considerations to be made- not an easy thing after your 20’s with a family.
Focussing on more immediate goals of creative and financial success means more at this stage than venturing into the unknown.
Designing and developing in WordPress is such a perfect fit right now and I am quite sure it will figure quite prominently in my future.