For years I resisted updating WordPress, for fear stuff would break down and I’d have a heap of work. I also strongly resisted revamping this site, because … heap of work. I wanted to write novels rather than sort through code. There was a reason I didn’t major in computer science. I HATE debugging!! However, one can only resist the tide for so long.
Earlier this year, I received a security notice for the photo gallery plugin I use. I had to update it to secure this site, but in order to do so, I also had to update WordPress. Since I didn’t have the time then, I did a temporary workaround. But temporary is temporary, so I finally gulped down the bullet and updated everything. It wasn’t too bad. Not everything broke, though one rogue plugin somehow gobbled up gigs of disk space. I had some panicky moments before I finally dug out the culprit.
After the update, my Google site ranking dropped. No clue why. I tried improving my site speed, but the image-compression and caching plugins didn’t make that much difference. I realized my site was old. I was embarrassed, too, that it looked old.
A site too colorful
I blame Apple for making white and flat the new look. Personally, I’m not a fan of white. It’s so plain and dull. I can scarcely be caught wearing white, but GwenPhua.com needed to look more professional … and be in line with the times. Even though I’m far from big on blogging.
So, I spent some time searching for a free WordPress theme that looked closest to what would appeal to me. Nothing appealed to me wholesale, naturally, but I wanted something that would hopefully be easier to work with. Despite my careful selection, it took me long hours bleeding my eyes out sifting through code—exactly the thing I’d hoped to avoid. I’ve never had any formal training in web programming, so I can’t code anything from scratch, and even tweaking stuff requires some trial-and-error.
Anyhow, it’s done! CSS is fine-tuned to my site content and tastes, and I even managed to massage some PHP code into doing what I wanted. My Twitter widget plugin was originally giving bad outbound links, but I found the problem and fixed the code. All I did was change “statuses” in the html address to “i/web/status”.
GwenPhua.com now scales to all screen sizes, from desktop computers to mobile devices. The site speed doesn’t appear to be any faster, but, oh well. At least it all looks new. The one thing I failed to achieve was to have a sticky menu for mobile devices.