Categories
Archived Design Uncategorized Wordpress

New blog design for Erin King Photographer

At the end of last week Erin decided that her Erin King Photographer blog, while really nice and functional, needed a bit of a face-lift. There were a couple of reasons for this:

  • The NextGen Gallery plugin being used didn’t work 100% correctly with the WordPress theme we chose.
  • The best way to showcase photography isn’t to use thumbnail-based galleries anymore.
  • The existing theme was getting a bit dated – not because it used old techniques but because it just needed a change.

What changed?

Without going into detail that people aren’t interested in, the basic way forward was to choose a new theme and modify it to suit our needs. I’m running the blog on WordPress 3, my blogging engine of choice for client sites that don’t require extreme levels of customisation. I’m also a bit of a WordPress fan, which helps. 🙂

So, with the blogging engine already well-established, the major decision had to be made – which theme to use. Now, when I say ‘which theme’ I’m sure there are a ton of people that always design their own. This isn’t ideal for Erin’s site because it needed to be updated quickly and still needed to retain the management/configuration options Erin was used to. For this reason I decided to use the built-in Twenty Ten theme and modify the CSS as required. For this particular redesign I was kinda the "hired hand", with Erin dictating how the site should look.

I’m pretty happy with the result because it’s not garish or over-the-top and doesn’t have a stupidly high number of on-screen elements. It retains all the customisation options that Erin needs (widgets etc) but now shows the blog posts’ photos full-size without the use of any 3rd-party gallery plugin.

What does it look like?

Here’s a low-resolution view of what the site looks like now. It’s clean, simple, and draws the reader’s eye to the photos, not away from them. To visit the real site, please feel free to check Erin King Photographer’s blog.

Erin King Photographer Blog - Screenshot

Categories
Archived Design Non Technical Opinion Uncategorized Wordpress

Pay it forward …

For a few years now I’ve been dabbling in a bit of 3D design here and there. Purely as a hobby though and I’d never even dream of calling myself any good at it.

Anyway, I used to learn from a bunch of talented dudes over http://www.3dcaffeine.com, a site that unfortunately no longer exists (internal problems? I don’t know.) One of the members there was a Romanian guy by the name of Flavius, a very talented 3D designer with a pretty scary level of skill for someone his age, around 20 as I write this I think … no he’s not a Romanian scammer!

He’s in the unfortunate position where web hosting and all the bits that go with it are pretty hard to come by so I decided to do as the title of this post says – pay it forward. To do this I offered to pay for web hosting and domain registration for a website to be created, a site where Flavius could showcase his work, demonstrate his skills and get the word out there so that people know there are talented designers everywhere.

The site’s now live and, while it’s yet to have much content (it’s been live around an hour now but will undergoing plenty of changes over the next little while), is coming along nicely with a decent gallery to get started, backed up by a beautiful WordPress theme by Nick Roach over at Elegant Themes. Go there if you want themes – it’s the site I choose to use for all my WordPress themes.

Flavius’ new site can be found at http://flaviuscristea.com and will have more content added as time goes on. Please feel free to let me know if you find any problems there as I’ll be doing the back-end maintenance of the site even though Flavius will be maintaining the actual content.

Cool. 🙂

Categories
Archived Uncategorized Wordpress

WordPress ‘How To’ Guide

So, as I usually ask near the start of my posts, what’s this post about? I’ve setup a whole bunch of WordPress blogs in my time. Some have been for personal use, some for friends that need help getting started, some I’ve helped friends with and some have leaned more towards being commercial in nature. All of them, though, have followed a pretty similar process when it comes to the installation and configuration steps required for WordPress best-practice (in my opinion anyway). This article is going to cover the process I follow when I’m setting a self-hosted WordPress blog. These steps do not apply to blogs hosted on wordpress.com.

Please feel free to contact me through my contact page if you need clarification on or want to discuss any of the information in this post.

I apologise in advance for the length of this post … I tend to go into a lot of detail when writing posts like this. I hope it all helps someone though. 🙂

Assumptions & requirements

To begin with, you’ll need a few things before you even get started. Here’s a brief, but not exhaustive, list of things you’ll need.

  • A domain name. The domain registrar you choose is up to you – it would be irresponsible of me to say that any particular registrar is better than any other.
  • A web hosting account. I use ICDSoft – this is one situation where I’m happy to say they’re better than any other Linux host I’ve ever used.
  • A copy of the latest version of WordPress. As of today, September 1st 2010, this is version 3.0.1 and can be downloaded from http://wordpress.org/.
  • A theme. WordPress has possibly the best theme support around so this is quite important. Personally I use theme from Elegant Themes. Pick one, download/purchase it and have the files ready for later steps.
  • FTP credentials. You’ll need to know the DNS address or IP address of the FTP site that supports the final, published URL, as well as the username and password to login there. I use the free FTP client, FileZilla – it’s free and works on OS X (Mac), Linux and Windows.
  • MySQL credentials. You’ll need to know the connection address or IP address of the MySQL server that will support your WordPress installation, as well as the username and password used to connect.
  • An empty database ready for your WordPress installation. You don’t need to put anything in it – the WordPress installation scripts will do that for you.