Discovering Cool New Technology: Coverting from HTML to WordPress

Computers from the 80sBeing exposed to computer technology at a very young age helps me comprehend what is possible as I put together a new website together for Lifemoves® in WordPress. The first computer I received as gift was an Apple II (I think).  My father owned his own software development company and I began to program at  during a summer a camp around the age of seven (?).  One of my summer jobs in the the late 1990’s was working for him coding in Visual Basic and developing MS Access Databases.

A personal summer project for me  in 1996 was coding a website in HTML that was unexpectedly noticed by employment recruiters in Kitchener, Ontario. I declined their offer for a job in IT to finish my Human Kinetics degree. Wow, that was one decision that if made differently would have drastically altered my life!

While CSS and Javascript have drastically changed the website development landscape, WordPress makes it a lot easier to manage content and for non techies to put together something decent. Unless there is need or desire to create detailed customizations there is not a lot of need to know these computer languages because there are many paid and free plugins that take care of this need.

Lifemoves.ca screen shot

Lifemoves.ca Home Page Style Sheet 2008

In 2008, I paid a lot of money for a great website that has since outlived its purpose. Quotes to convert it to WordPress so that it is also mobile friendly and easily updatable from $2,000 – $5,000. Cash I just don`t have for now. Instead of waiting months to save up for this project, I thought about doing it myself.

With limited funding, some previous website, coding and graphic design experience I decided to dive head first into WordPress.   Choosing a new host who makes it easy to ask for help as well as install WordPress on to my domain was first step. New site is being developed on a sub-folder of my domain and then it will be moved to the top level when complete. Self-hosting enables the owner to gain access to a lot more plugins as well as the files needed to code.

After consulting with a couple of graphic designers and someone in my target market I chose a paid theme with a number of different shortcodes (quick easy functions to do cool things) and page templates.  The plugins and widgets add even more tools to add individual flare,

Yes, it is going to take me longer to flip my site over to WordPress than if I hired someone, but during this time I will have learned a lot (with the help of Google and those who have traveled this path before me) and be able to customize more quickly on fly down the road.  It also keeps my long-term costs down because I have easy and quick control over my website to keep it freshly pressed.

All the final touches or anything that is stumping me to figure out will be handed over to the graphic and web developers. In less than a week the new site is almost complete; even my web and graphic designers like the changes to the theme.

It is really cool to see it take shape page by page, feature by feature. It feels much like the summer I assisted with framing the basement of a family. Stay tuned for the launch!

Read my first WordPress post: Trying this WordPress Thing

What is your experience with website development? Leave it to the pros or try it yourself?