So after a bit of rambling on Monday, and getting some feedback from folks, and doing a little more research on it, I have decided that I am going to take the leap and redo our front page utilizing WordPress. Now, I’m sure that you are thinking that this really isn’t anything huge – and certainly isn’t worth its own blog posting here. But I disagree!
When I took everything over regarding the website at the twilight of Vanilla, I knew nothing. Zip. Zero. Zilch.
When it was put in my lap, I evaluated what the most important piece was to keep the guild functioning, and determined it was the forums. I printed out, and bound, the PhPbb instruction guide and taught myself how to administrate our forums…which is a bit of an undertaking for someone with my background. But, I figured I’m nothing if not a great researcher, and just about all problems can be solved with a bit of time, effort, research and elbow grease.
However, when it came to our front page, which was done completely via HTML coding and style sheets and OH GOD WHAT IS THIS – I was absolutely lost and incredibly intimidated. One of the guys in the guild offered to step up and manage the front page updates for me. And I all but threw it into his arms and ran the other direction screaming in terror. Somewhere in the process, he registered us for the service that we have now that completely simplifies everything – utilizing bb code instead of HTML to update. Something that I know and I am familiar with, and we’ve been using that for the past 4 years.
But somewhere between then and now, I started this blog.
And while the world of things like CSS and HTML are still a very scary world for me to visit, I’ve become more comfortable with them…until I screw up something I can’t fix. And, I’ve learned quite a bit on the way. I’ve picked up some basic HTML by default, just by writing posts on the blog. I’ve become a little braver with my ventures, modifying the theme here on the blog. I’ve even said “how can I do that”, gone out and researched it and taught myself a little more than I knew before.
Really, I don’t think you understand how bad I really was at these things. Let me share something with you – just recently I redid our guild’s progression roster to include links to each member’s armory. I posted on the forums asking each person to check their link and make sure that I didn’t make any errors (and only one was found!).
Well, the officer that had set up the current front page for me commented how far I had come. I went from someone who could barely take a legible screen shot (oh god, you should see some of them, it’s embarrassing!), and then couldn’t get it posted on the front page, to someone who could make an interactive guild roster in 30 minutes. And you know, even though I’ve been learning how to do all of this on the side – and I’m by no means any kind of expert on it – I felt proud of what I had learned to do.
I shared my thoughts with him about redoing the front page, and he not only encouraged me to do it, but thought it was a fantastic idea.
And well, I feel that I no longer need the security blanket and helping hand of our current front page set up. So, with a good bit of encouragement, and at the 11th hour (yes…I’m hoping to mock something up for publication before Tuesday!), I’ve decided to take the leap. Once I leave work on Friday, I am on “vacation” until the 15th. Of course, much of that time will be slotted for leveling and getting raid ready – but it means that I have the evenings this week, all weekend and all day Monday to see if I can get it sorted.
Trying to be Prepared
I made this giant checklist of things that will be involved, and I mean its giant. Hey, I like checklists, what can I say? Included on the list are all of the things that I think I need to do in setting up the site and of the things on the list, the most time consuming item is recoding and archiving the past 4 years of “updates” from our current system. Sure, a lot of people probably wouldn’t go through the trouble of doing this, but it’s our history and I think it’s important. However, I have roughly 4 months to get that done before the service where they currently are located expires and I lose the information. I think that if I do a few each week, and break it up some, it won’t be too much of a chore.
My server admin/host (and guild mage) has indicated that I can download wordpress onto the server, and provided me with the information that I need to add it to our current database – along with some encouragement. So tonight when I get home, after I knock out my cooking dailies, I’m going to sit AFK somewhere (hello…need to be torched by Deathwing still!) and start the process.
What I’m Looking For is ideas, thoughts and suggestions! Does your guild use a wordpress front page? What themes would you suggest? What widgets would you suggest? Is there anything that you wouldn’t suggest?