In the last post, I briefly talked about how to reserve a domain name and set up hosting service for your personal website. In this post, I will review the templates I used in creating static and dynamic WordPress websites.
Personally I believe it is never a bad idea to write your webpage line by line – great way to brush up your coding skills. But if you only care about getting your contents out there, I highly recommend using a template.
Do a web search on keywords like “static website template”, you will find plenty of well-crafted lightweight templates to use. My old website was a static one with template from Type & Grids; you can see the archived webpage here:
After downloading a template, the the most common technique to create your own content is “find and replace”. First find the part of the template webpage where you would like to replace demo content with your real data. Then, with your favorite text editor, such as Windows Notepad, Emacs or Sublime Text, change the title, text or image links of that page. This way, you won’t loose css styles, or accidentally delete html elements.
Notice that if you manage a static website with FTP, you will run into file permission issues when creating or overwriting files. The issue is that when FTP client writes a file to remote, file permissions might change, preventing external users from accessing your contents. One of the most recommended practice in setting file permissions is set your folders to 711 (you can do anything with the file or directory and other users can only execute it) and files to 644 (you can read and write the file or directory and other users can only read it).
Another tip for static websites is that you have to manually edit their meta tags. Meta tags are informational tags created by web author to help site analytic tools
Dynamic (with WordPress)
The easiest way to install WordPress is through your web host’s installation wizards. If such service isn’t available, you can simply download WordPress and upload the unzipped package through FTP, then visit YOUR_DOMAIN_NAME/index.php to set it up.
After installation, pick a theme from the store, because most pre-installed WP themes are general-purpose themes and don’t speak for your style. The theme I am currently using is StanleyWP, an amazing theme for a personal portfolio + blog.
Some WordPress plugins you may want to check out:
– Easy WP SMTP, a plugin to replace php mail function with an SMTP mail service API call. My Contact page is backed by this API.
– Add Meta Tags, which helps you manage meta tags in all pages in one place. Notice that if you use this tool, do not manually edit meta tags in header.php or other PHP files because it doesn’t automatically detect overlapping tags.
– Avatar, a tool to manage user avatars, useful if your theme doesn’t have a powerful tool for that.
In addition, one modification I had to make to StanleyWP theme was functions.php, in function folder of stanleywp theme. Specifically, line
$read_more_text = bi_get_data(‘read_more_text’, ” );
need additional definition on variable read_more_text. In my case, I added a variable declaration at the beginning of the php file:
$read_more_text = ‘Continue reading…’;
which will correctly display all the Read More tags in posts.
Now you should be able to see your website running. Start bloggin!