One of my ‘hobby’ is building a website. I don’t even know what got me started but I always enjoyed making a website come alive. While this really isn’t my career choice nor my main profession, I always love sharing my idea of web design & helping people with it. And this is one of few things that I can proudly say that I’ve had over a decade of experience.
My journey as Web Design Hobbyist
Fast-forward to 2015…
In my opinion (without offending anyone), web design has become a common skill, not a special knowledge. While there are still few expertise that can be achieve that common hobbyist like me cannot reach easily, introduction of Content Management System (CMS) has really changed everything. In early 2000s, SEO was a big deal. Being able to code correct keywords into HTML or PHP so that google crawlers would pick it up and place you on the first page used to be special skills. To be honest, I never learned it since my goal really wasn’t go after business customers.
And then I met WordPress…
In 2013, I met WordPress. After battling with Drupal for 6 months, which I thought was counter-productive tool that force you to do more work in order to avoid coding, I decided to try next application GoDaddy recommended. This application with plain W on it changed everything.
WordPress made me feel like all those years of coding and learning and collecting different scripts a waste. It is incredibly intuitive, user friendly, and it allows anyone to create a beautiful, professional website without knowing a single <a herf> or <br>. (although <br> is a good tool that can be used with WordPress sites) Unlike Drupal that required me to watch numerous videos just to understand the basic structure, understanding of WordPress just came to me without any help. It was simple and everything is right in front of you.
What makes WordPress so attractive to me is its component based design. When you first install a WordPress site, you only get a basic frame and engine. Imagine a car that’s just composed on basic metal frame, metal stick for steering wheel, a gas pedal, and engine, connected to four wheels. That’s what you get with the WordPress core. And it’s up to you to building rest of the car by adding different components. There are two categories of components called Plugin and Theme. Plugins are functional components which can be anything from windows, doors, seats, A/C, all the way to satellite audio and solar panel roof. Themes are styling. How you want things to look and show up as well as basic design of the entire site is managed by themes. And with tens of thousands of themes and plugins available for free, you can really build the perfect website with ease.
The best thing about WordPress design is how it makes a new website creation so easy and quick. Typically, in order to create a professional looking website (even simple ones), it used to take me 2~4 days using web editor, flash, and scripts. (Especially to correct all the bugs) With WordPress, I can create a template that has about 20 plugins which includes all security settings and components most websites would need including SEO configuration. Using this template, I can clone it with a click of a button and add a theme to complete a simple but functional website. Using this method, I once created a fully functional campaign website within one day.
Using WordPress, you can be an expert in web design too!
My article is based on my experience as a hobbyist web designer. If you have anything to add, please let me know! I always love learning new things!
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