Author Topic: Wordpress for newbies  (Read 4149 times)

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Offline TopLoser

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Wordpress for newbies
« on: May 14, 2015, 06:26:44 pm »
I've been given the task of maintaining my running clubs website.

The guy who sorted it out before used Wordpress. I have no experience of web design and no real interest if I'm honest! I'm a programmer by trade (amongst other things) and can cope with most things in life pretty well.

I've just been given the username and password, am I going to struggle with this or is it going to be pretty trivial to update it and give it a bit of a facelift?

Or would I be better off choosing some other web design package and starting again, there's nothing on it that seems particulary important at the moment.

 

Offline AndreasF

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Re: Wordpress for newbies
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2015, 06:44:42 pm »
Fairly easy. Wordpress is a really nice system for simple websites. Just keep it updated (the newest version can be set to do this automatically) and try to limit the (number of) plugins you use.
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Offline TopLoser

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Re: Wordpress for newbies
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2015, 06:52:25 pm »
Current website is navigated purely by the dropdown 'Categories' box.

I notice you use the eleven40Pro theme and that has some more friendly popup style menus across the top. Is there any reason you chose that theme, as it's not free and so must had had some appeal for you to spend the money?
 

Offline AndreasF

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Re: Wordpress for newbies
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2015, 07:20:52 pm »
My wife makes WordPress based websites for a living and bought the ProPlus package, so I didn't actually have to pay for it. The reason she exclusively creates Genesis framework based sites is because it is a really good and well-maintained framework with very responsive developers/"customer service", so definitely worth a bit of money.

Before I had the current theme, I used a standard free Wordpress theme and that worked just fine as well. With those you just don't know how well they are and will be maintained.

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Offline TopLoser

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Re: Wordpress for newbies
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2015, 07:33:19 pm »
I'm googling trying to find answers to some fairly simple questions, and finding a lot more answers than I'd like!!

Seems to be obvious you can create a Wordpress site off line, happy with that. That way I can create a new site without disrupting what's already up and running (groan).

Is it a painless process to then transfer the offline site to the existing server, replacing the existing site? Would there be lots of faffing about to do?

Or can you create a new site alonside the existing one online, and then just switch between them?
 

Offline AndreasF

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Re: Wordpress for newbies
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2015, 08:09:31 pm »
I know it's possible to develop locally (or along side the old) and then move it to the live server, as that's what my wife typically does. However, I'm not sure how much "faffing about" is involved in that - probably not that much. It may depend a bit on server settings. If you're just replacing a site completely I imagine it's not that bad. I'll ask her when she gets back.

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Offline edavid

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Re: Wordpress for newbies
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2015, 07:10:34 pm »
I'm googling trying to find answers to some fairly simple questions, and finding a lot more answers than I'd like!!

Seems to be obvious you can create a Wordpress site off line, happy with that. That way I can create a new site without disrupting what's already up and running (groan).

Is it a painless process to then transfer the offline site to the existing server, replacing the existing site? Would there be lots of faffing about to do?
Not painless, because of a lot of stuff in the database that is location specific, so it has to be fixed up when you move it from the test site to the real site.

Quote
Or can you create a new site alonside the existing one online, and then just switch between them?
This is a lot easier, but you still have to clone the database if you want to keep the existing content.

If you're not doing anything too radical, you can just back up the existing site and edit it in place.  You can always restore the backup.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2015, 07:15:33 pm by edavid »
 

Offline Howardlong

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Re: Wordpress for newbies
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2015, 07:36:50 pm »
If you're a programmer, you'll find it a walk in the park. Just follow the noddy guides offered. Just be prepared for a few minutes by yourself with no interruptions, that should be all it takes.

Make sure you always have an up to date backup of both the database and the website. The one downside of Wordpress is that the sites attract script monkeys and bots, so you need to keep it and any add ons up to date and backed up. I am not sure how you're hosting it.

I am not a web or PHP programmer and have no wishes to be despite being coerced into it several times during my IT career, but found Wordpress to be very easy.

The only other thing is to have some means of controlling the spam. Regrettably Wordpress websites are a magnet for viagra ads in your comments, that in itself can be quite time consuming and you will need an add on to control it.
 

Offline eas

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Re: Wordpress for newbies
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2015, 12:11:42 am »
If you are a programmer, I think you'll find it horrible, because it is a very old PHP code base. I'm not a programmer, and I found it horrible when I tried to create a custom theme. Because of various historical afflictions of PHP and PHP programmers, figuring out how what code a function/method is calling is a chore (yes, people can write bad code in any language, but some languages make it easier to write bad code and/or harder to write good code than others). Fortunately, some people have compiled indexes of all the functions available in a typical Wordpress execution context and the file(s) responsible.

From a sysadmin point of view, its not too bad, other than the fact that the ease of updating to install security patches works against the sort of security you probably want to have in place. But, that's basically the tradeoff with LAMP. Securing it can be fussy, but deployment is easy, and hosting is cheap and plentiful. My compromise is to use a shell session to make the wordpress files writable by the webserver user just long enough to do updates, install plugins, etc, using the web interface, then chown it back.

Using the built-in updater makes for easy updates to the core code and many plug-ins and themes. Given that their are security fixes every month or two, its a good idea to get up to date and keep up to date.

As an end user, if you aren't fussing with hosting, or custom themes, its pretty easy to use. The potential downside is that some functionality you may never use gets in the way of figuring out stuff you do use. Also that previous customizations may be a bit baroque.
 

Offline sleemanj

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Re: Wordpress for newbies
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2015, 12:23:52 am »
WP is:

1.  very very popular
2.  horrible code lacking sensible structure (but this may be a personal bias)
3.  horrible (overly complicated) interface for normal users (down in part to major feature creep)
4.  used for things it shouldn't be (like general websites, it's a blog software, not a website builder, don't bloody try to use it as one)
5.  commonly installed badly, with various "plugins" and such leaving security holes all over the show
6.  commonly left to rot on servers, which then become havens for botnets, script kiddies and so forth who exploit old installs of it all up the wazoo
7.  constantly a source of spam, both in comments and see 5, 6
8.  very very popular   :-//

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Offline TopLoser

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Re: Wordpress for newbies
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2015, 01:01:49 am »
Thanks for all the feedback, the wide variety of comments (positive and negative) is typical of what I've come up against while googling it.

It's a simple website I need to maintain (or create), no user comments, no blogging. Just a set of static pages with good navigation between pages would suffice.

I'm currently thinking Wordpress is more pain than gain.
 

Offline eas

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Re: Wordpress for newbies
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2015, 01:17:06 am »
For that purpose, I think just using Wordpress might be as good an option as finding something "better."
 

Offline george graves

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Re: Wordpress for newbies
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2015, 01:39:43 am »
Set up a good back up.  And have copies going back a few weeks.  I had a WP site that was up-to-date, but still got hacked.  I had a back up going automatically, but not multiple copies arranged by date - just a back up every night.  Well, the hack had inserted tons of code into hundreds of pages -  and the back up wrote over any "clean" versions.  I didn't know the site was hacked for a good week.

Offline Howardlong

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Re: Wordpress for newbies
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2015, 11:32:59 pm »
WP is:

....
4.  used for things it shouldn't be (like general websites, it's a blog software, not a website builder,


As a matter of interest, what would you use these days for a few pages? (The first pages I wrote back in the mid 90s were in Notepad, i.e. raw html, I then "upgraded" to Frontpage, then almost nothing until about 2009 when I very reluctantly ended up doing some JSF briefly and more recently Wordpress for a noddy website: I fight against doing any web stuff, it doesn't interest me in the slightest, but occasionally needs must).
 

Offline sleemanj

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Re: Wordpress for newbies
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2015, 04:56:52 am »

As a matter of interest, what would you use these days for a few pages?


As a web developer, I have my own bespoke system I have created over the last 15 years, so my answer wouldn't be representative (bias, and perhaps NIH (not invented here) syndrome :-)).



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Offline Howardlong

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Re: Wordpress for newbies
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2015, 02:11:36 pm »

As a matter of interest, what would you use these days for a few pages?


As a web developer, I have my own bespoke system I have created over the last 15 years, so my answer wouldn't be representative (bias, and perhaps NIH (not invented here) syndrome :-)).

LOL, I guess the OP doesn't have a spare 15 years to hand... web development so far I've largely avoided it, but never say never. My worst time was being dumped into running a JSF project at a large FTSE100 organisation, try as I might no-one could tell me where their CSS source repository was, but I had deadlines, and look and feel is going to be important for the marketing and brand types. So in the end I downloaded it piecemeal from their various websites on the internet and intranet... only to discover that clearly everyone else who'd ever developed anything for them had been in the same boat: everyone previously had effectively screen scraped the CSS from existing live projects and hacked it into theirs, just like I was doing.

I salute you for doing web dev, CSS in particular is the work of the devil, it's the voodoo of programming and you're welcome to it as far as I am concerned!
 

Offline TopLoser

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Re: Wordpress for newbies
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2015, 02:26:15 pm »
I have so little enthusiasm for any of this web nonsense I have haven't been able to find the will to try out my username and password for the damn site! I'm being pressured now and that never ends well lol

What is the attraction of this web stuff?!!
 


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