Cha-Ching, Cha-Ching

As I’d spent most of my web development career working in the higher education setting, I’d never had occasion to do certain things my peers working within the commercial sector might do, like eCommerce sites. Overnight I finally got myself a small taste of this, connecting friends existing WordPress-based website up to Woocommerce for their first item they’re needing to sell online.

I’d love to say all was smooth sailing, however it wasn’t. It was not the install that let me down, but rather an old version of PHP that was causing me problems and leaving me with the WordPress ‘white screen of death’, that is, a plug-in is ‘Not. Happy, Jan!‘. I’m not sure why hosting services insist on installing bog old, and insecure v5 PHP, when they have available v7.x for you to use. Once my friend provided me the hosting creds, I logged in and swapped over to v7.3. This seemed to work for a bit, however the Avada theme was having issues and couldn’t save, so I was forced to downgrade to v7.2 which proved more stable.

Once all was looking hunky dory, I could finally get around to testing and finalising the two pages and associated form. I ended up having to create a password protected page with a form, as this event required personal details to be provided, after they submitted I then had the form redirect to the Woocommerce product page. All worked quite nicely once it was determined the product page must be a public not a private page or a 404 was generated; we were wanting it to not be visible but restricted.

Hopefully people’s orders go through okay, pity I can’t attract a commission per ticket though 🤔

A little blue, a little green

I have to admit, my experience working with WordPress themes leaves me looking a little green. I am used to developing and designing that which I work with, so when I have to start working within other environments and other’s code it’s suddenly a bit of an up-hill climb. Thankfully though, I do adjust quickly.

I recently assisted a friend who referred her coaching client to me for a small website development project. She needed help to redesign her website and enhance its functionality. Little did I know when taking on this project her website was in need of some viagra, it was suffering from performance anxiety, it just didn’t like staying up (sorry, couldn’t help that one haha). I would never approach a new client with immediate effect of trying to move them from their chosen hosting, in this case she was with Wix, but every time I was attempting to surf her current website it was down; I needed to convince her of the need to move.

After determining that her website had been suffering this problem regularly, I convinced her of the need to move, presenting her with three options for WordPress hosting. Whilst it would mean busting her original budget when factoring in my own development costs, which I was going to keep low to help out, she understood the importance moving would mean to her business in the end – visibility.

Bluehost was chosen as the preferred hosting platform in the end. After a few weeks of my developing part-time (nights and on the weekend), Karen signed-off on my efforts and was happy to launch. I swapped over the DNS entries at her domain registrar from Wix to Bluehost, and then the fun began.

The WordPress site had been developed using a temporary domain, thus all the images and sliders were using this address. Unfortunately updating the relevant URL and site address within settings didn’t update everything across the site, I then needed to update links throughout all the web pages and update sliders too. Then, once the SSL got fixed (OMG! painful), I had to fix once more. I was never more grateful that Karen’s site was a small one, had it have been a larger one I’d’ve been crying out for a better solution to update things.

A should out to the Avada theme, version 6 is just a dream to work with. As I said, I was a tad green working with WordPress and themes, and working with Avada I have learned so much. I still have so much yet to learn, they have a great site to reference. I totally recommend this theme, it made building this website so much easier, especially the responsive development.

Cuttin’ it with Avada

I’m currently developing a WordPress site with one of the more popular WordPress themes, Avada. The client didn’t have much of a budget, so initially I was looking at free options, I thought Gutenberg might allow me some measure of being able to develop her site nowadays without the need for a commercial theme. How wrong I was. I apologise to my neighbours, for their ears heard were bashed regularly at my utter frustration with those free themes and Gutenberg.

I relented and paid for Avada, I had helped a friend last year with an earlier version of this theme to develop her business website, my first time ever using it, so I wasn’t entirely experienced using. Thus, developing my client’s site this time around using the latest and greatest release Avada with a live editor has been a much better experience. All the frustrations I’d been experiencing with the free themes quickly melted away and suddenly progress was being made, designs were being realised and I was moving forward.

That being said, considerable time has still been expended working on implementing things for what is just a small site, really highlighting how little time I have spent working with WordPress. I have quite enjoyed crafting responsive solutions to problems I have faced, I do wonder if others implement in quite the same way. Due to my using different backgrounds depending on the background, and laying content out differently, I am having to replicate structures and content for each mobile/tablet/desktop and specify container is for which device.

The lessons I learn on this project I will hopefully be able to translate to a larger project I’m being considered for later in the year. Thankfully the budget there will be much bigger and plug-in options greater.

Gutenberg blocks

I’m developing a client site for the first time using WordPress and Gutenberg blocks. On the one hand it is good that I haven’t needed to go out and purchase a premium theme, thus could keep the cost down for the client a little, but on the other hand it has also been a bit frustrating.

The Gutenberg interface is generally okay to work with, but it doesn’t always avail itself when you need it to, making it a more difficult way in which to develop a website. I have also been using a supporting blocks plugin to extend Gutenberg, this whilst good has too added to the frustration when working with background images, too few options here mean these images were often displaying poorly and I needed to delete.

I have hit a brick wall trying to interface with my clients events services sites, neither that she has been using works nicely with WordPress, thus I’ve emailed her tonight to convince her that Eventbrite might better suit. Fingers crossed it’s something she will consider; I feel like I’ve changed everything bar her business name since working with her.

Been a long day.

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