Web Design

All Things Computer!

I N T R O D U C T I O N   T O   W E B   D E S I G N :

I started doing Web Design the easiest way possible, which is with WordPress. So far as of March 2015, all of my websites have been created quickly and efficiently using WordPress and a few Premium WordPress Themes that I purchased.

I bought a couple of Janine Warner’s books, thinking that I would use Dreamweaver to create my websites. Janine Warner converted me to WordPress in the first chapter of her books, and saved me a whole bunch of effort and time. In my humble opinion, WordPress is the best and most efficient Content Management System and Web Development System on the planet; and, millions of people seem to agree with me. Best of all, it’s free! I spent a month studying Janine Warner’s website, and then when I was ready and knew what I was doing, I started searching for and testing out different WordPress Themes, first in XAMPP and later in DesktopServer.

Janine Warner’s Website: http://www.digitalfamily.com/

After I get my websites framed-out and a reasonable amount of content on there, then I hope to take some time to study the harder way of creating Web Pages and Websites, and that’s with Dreamweaver and Coda. I have some books that are supposed to teach me how to use Dreamweaver, and I would like to go through the process to see what it can do.

Later on, I also hope to take classes at the Community College where I will learn how to create Web Pages and Websites the hardest way possible, and that’s with HTML, CSS, php, JavaScript, MySQL, and so forth.

That’s the battle plan — start with the easiest way of creating a website, and then slowly work my way up to the harder and hardest ways of doing the same thing.

The Prerequisites:

If you decide to embark on web design and create your own website, you will need to purchase a domain name, and you will need to get a good Host.

We chose BlueHost for our hosting services, and we have been very pleased with the results. They cater to WordPress, and WordPress is what we chose as our web development platform.



You also need to purchase a unique Domain Name. Our affiliate Register.com sells domain names:

Register.com

Bluehost also sells Domain Names.

Once you have someplace permanent to place your website, then it’s time for you to figure out how you want to design, develop, and publish your websites.

Website Development:

My CMS can beat up your CMS.

I have chosen WordPress (http://www.wordpress.org/) as my Website Development platform. WordPress is FREE, and it’s extremely popular with a lot of public support and a huge user community, so it is truly the best value in Web Design software. I have looked at and studied WordPress Themes for over a month now, and I have purchased or acquired eight WordPress themes that impressed me, and I have taken them live here on my “All Things Computer” website. Most of them are still barebones, because I installed most of them fresh and new yesterday (02JAN2015).

Web Design through WordPress is kind of like programming.  For me, programming is addictive.  The more time I spend “programming” with WordPress, the more I find my OCD replacing my ADD.

During the past month or so (November-December 2014), I first used XAMPP (https://www.apachefriends.org/index.html) and then I later used Desktop Server (from http://serverpress.com/) to install and study a couple dozen different WordPress Themes that caught my eye.

I want to say here that Janine Warner, her books, and her website completely shaped my choices and the course or direction of my WordPress development. She was the one who converted me to WordPress and got me headed that direction when it comes to Web Design: http://www.digitalfamily.com/. Janine’s advice to take a look at XAMPP and WordPress was the best advice that I have received so far, during this whole process.

I joined ThemeIsle’s Pirate Club (https://themeisle.com/pricing?ref=5251) purchasing all of their WordPress themes and plugins. I eventually affiliated with them as well. Three of the eight themes that I have chosen to highlight and develop here at “All Things Computer” came from ThemeIsle.

As I study Web Design and learn the tricks of the trade, most of my time and effort will be spent setting up and fleshing out these eight different WordPress themes. Each WordPress Theme that I develop here online will take on a different topic or theme, when it comes to “All Things Computer”. Web Design and Web Development are definitely a part of “All Things Computer”.

Over half of these eight WordPress Themes aren’t even linked-up to anything yet, because there’s not much of anything to see. I will link to them here so that the curious can check out what themes I have chosen and watch my progress.

For me, Web Design is a fun little hobby that allows me to express my artistic and creative side. When I start to study Web Programming, I will also be able to showcase my best results here as well.

Although I do know how to monetize websites, and I will be monetizing some of these websites and pages as I go along, making money is not my primary focus right now. I’m doing this primarily for its educational value — mine and yours. When I created my “All Things Computer” computer forum (http://allthings.computer/phpbb3/), I did indeed use Google AdSense as a way to monetize the forum and add value to the forum with context sensitive advertising; however, that computer forum continues to exist primarily for its educational value. It’s definitely not earning any money for us. In time, I hope to do a lot of good with these different websites and forums.

You can keep track of my progress here.  I will be reporting both the good and the bad as I go along.

Respectfully,

Darwin Bagley

Original: 03JAN2015
Revision: 14MAR2015

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Our Web Designer! Ain’t she cute? She’s got eyes for you!

Web Design

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Links to the WordPress Themes that are taking shape and coming along:

1) The “All Things Computer” Home Page:
http://allthings.computer/
Using the Foliogine Pro theme:
https://themeisle.com/themes/foliogine-pro/?ref=5251
This WordPress theme fits perfectly with the overall theme of “All Things Computer”. It’s as if I had dreamed of this theme, before I ever saw it or bought it. When I first saw it, it spoke to me. It’s as if it was designed for me. I had to own it, because I was determined to use it as my Home Page. I learned to love the Portfolio feature inside of this theme, once I figured out how it works.

 

2) The ATC Reviews Page:
http://reviews.allthings.computer/
Using the Customizer Pro theme:
http://themesandco.com/extension/customizr-pro/
I was very impressed with the demo for Customizer and impressed when I installed Customizer locally, so I immediately went and bought Customizer Pro so that I could have the full experience. It felt like to me that this would be the best theme to use to write Product Reviews. I’m planning to drive most of my Affiliate business through this theme, creating Featured Pages to emphasize and promote my favorite computer products.

 

3) The ATC Portfolio Page:
STORE PORT!
http://portfolio.allthings.computer/
Using the Virtue Premium theme:
http://www.kadencethemes.com/product/virtue-premium-theme/
This theme had the most complete and best looking Theme Options panel that I have seen so far in a WordPress theme, and that’s just the free version. The Premium version adds even more to Theme Options. This theme cost me a bit more than the other themes I purchased, but it came with an arsenal of free plugins including the $18 Revolution Slider. This theme is Slider Heaven, and it comes with three different slider plugins. I believe I could spend months trying out everything in this WordPress Premium theme, and not even begin to exhaust all that it can do. This theme seemed like the best theme to showcase or portfolio personal hobbies and interests. I’ll use this Virtue Premium theme to brag-up some of my personal accomplishments and virtues as well.

In March 2015, I chose STORE PORT as the name of this website after incorporating most of my Linkshare and Commission Junction affiliates into this site.

 

4) The ATC Book Review Page:
http://bookrev.allthings.computer/
Using the Bookrev Premium theme:
https://themeisle.com/themes/bookrev/?ref=5251
This is a theme that is designed for writing Book Reviews. I was looking for such a thing, because I’m going to be writing a few Book Reviews. This was the best looking theme that I have found so far, for writing Book Reviews; and, computer books are a part of “All Things Computer”.

I found Alibris, and they accepted us as an affiliate. I’m going to try to promote all of my favorite books through them.

This is where most of the action will take place at first, at these first four locations or Pages.

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Links to the other four WordPress Themes that I have chosen to explore and develop:

 

5) The Make Page:
This one ended up being the ATC Upgrades and Repairs page. It’s All Things Computer Upgrades and All Things Computer Repairs. On this site, we will talk about how to make, repair, and ugrade computers.
http://make.allthings.computer/
Using the free “Make” WordPress theme:
https://wordpress.org/themes/make
https://thethemefoundry.com/make-pricing/
This one is a fun little experiment where they try to use drag-and-drop to create customized unique Pages in WordPress. It looked like a fun little toy to play around with. Their Plus or “Pro” version was too expensive, unless you plan on making this theme your only development platform, which I am not. This theme is a conversation piece, and it seems to generate quite a bit of discussion online, even though its defaults are bare and unimpressive. I felt a great desire to spend some time trying to figure out what can be done with this WordPress theme. With this theme, I’m going to discuss Computer Repairs and Computer Upgrades. I’ll be making computers, discussing computer parts, and discussing computer repair.

On this website, I hope to discuss how to make computers, repair computers, and upgrade computers.  I have also decided to discuss IT Certification on this website.

 

6) The ATC Software Reviews Page:
http://software.allthings.computer/
Using the free Tempera WordPress theme:
https://wordpress.org/themes/tempera
http://www.cryoutcreations.eu/tempera
https://profiles.wordpress.org/cryout-creations/
The Tempera WordPress Theme has the most beautiful and complete defaults of any WordPress theme that I have encountered. You install it, and it automatically looks good right from the start! I kept getting drawn back to it. They don’t have a “Pro” version of this theme, but they are willing to take donations; and, I’m willing to donate a bit of space on my Website to mention and promote this theme. I’m going to use this theme to discuss “Beautiful Software”. I will be making software recommendations along with explaining how to do many different things with software, while using this theme.

I’m also sticking a software store on this page.

In early March 2015, I started working on this site. I will do my Software Reviews here and have a SOFTWARE STORE where I will promote my Software Affiliates, and also promote the FREE Software that I like and use most.

 

7) The Zerif Pro Page:
ZARIF – ELEGANT AND GRACEFUL.
http://zerif.allthings.computer/
Using the Zerif Pro theme:
https://themeisle.com/themes/zerif-pro-one-page-wordpress-theme/?ref=5251
This is ThemeIsle’s flagship product, the one they have spent the most time on, charge the most for, and has the most activity in their support forums. They are proud of this theme; and, when you install it, it sets itself up fully ready to go, and all you basically have to do is fill in the blanks. I think this would be the best theme for creating a Home Page or a Landing Page to cover all the bases. It was meant to be a one-page WordPress theme, thus putting most everything onto a single Page that you could ever possibly want to have there. This is the theme that never ends. It just goes on and on, my friend. The word Zerif means “elegant” or “graceful”; therefore, this will probably be the theme that I will use to discuss subjects that inspire me.

This is the website that I decided to turn into a Social Media forum, the one that I will encourage people to register for and participate in. This is the place where I will try to experience and learn BuddyPress and bbPress. I started putting this one together in the middle of March 2015. It has been a lot of fun so far, and I already like it.

 

8) The ATC Store (nothing for sale yet):
http://store.allthings.computer/
Using the Vantage Premium theme:
https://siteorigin.com/theme/vantage/
Many people kept saying that Vantage is the best theme to use for creating a shopping-cart. In the demo of this theme, they also make it a point to emphasize that this theme was built to dovetail perfectly with WooCommerce, the most popular free shopping-cart plugin for WordPress. It just seemed logical to me to acquire this theme and use it to slowly learn how the shopping-cart process is developed and maintained. It’s possible that at some time in the future, I will have clients who want to sell their products online, so it’s good to have exposure to these kinds of things, especially if you are doing Web Design.

Right now, I don’t have anything to sell, so this website sits unused.

When it comes to “programming” websites, I quickly find my OCD replacing my ADD.

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My Facebook Post about WordPress:

https://www.facebook.com/darwin.bagley.3/posts/10204213789957184
The last few days have proven to be a milestone for me.

I’m LinkedIn:
www.linkedin.com/pub/darwin-bagley/5b/b16/277/
If you think I have any skills with WordPress or Web Design, feel free to stop by my LinkedIn Profile and let the world know.

The All Things Computer Forum:
http://allthings.computer/phpbb3/
Of course, I am always ready and willing to promote our Computer Forum. It is a key that is waiting to be turned.

Web Hosting:

If you need Hosting Services, we recommend BlueHost.

http://allthings.computer/bluehost/

An LDS Soul:

We are hosting and sponsoring this website and forum also, as a free public service.

http://ldssoul.com/

http://ldssoul.com/forum/

9) An LDS Soul Website:
http://ldssoul.com/
Using the free MetroX or Metro CreativeX theme from ThemeIsle:
https://wordpress.org/themes/metro-creativex
This seemed like the perfect theme to use to create a pictorial blog. It’s an interesting, useful, and nice-looking theme. As you can see, I picked up a side project and another WordPress theme to play around with.

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S U M M A R Y :

I have done enough of this now to know that there is the easiest way to do Web Design, a harder way to do Web Design, and the hardest way to do Web Design.

The easiest way to do Web Design is with WordPress and quality WordPress themes. You can pump out a ton of pages in a day with WordPress, and a quality WorkPress theme will keep it all organized for you and looking good.

The harder way to do Web Design is with Dreamweaver or Coda. There is a greater learning curve when it comes to these WYSIWYG web editors or web design tools. You also get to do a lot of FTP uploading of files with FileZilla if you are designing your web pages with Dreamweaver or Coda.

After I have mastered WordPress and built all of my websites as quickly as possible with WordPress, the next step in my Web Design education is to learn how to create web pages with Dreamweaver and Coda, and then insert those custom pages into my WordPress websites.

The hardest way to do Web Design is to code everything by hand. This means learning HTML, CSS, JavaScript, php, and MySQL. Here you enter the realm of Web Programming and get to re-invent the wheel or try to create a better WordPress. I’m not all that sure how knowledge of this will be all that useful given the existence of WordPress, Dreamweaver, and Coda. However, knowledge of all of this would be very useful for designing or programming my own WordPress themes and WordPress plugins. Knowledge of Web Programming would also help me to be able to fix the bugs and unsightlies within all my WordPress themes, using WordPress’ child theme feature.

Therefore, while I’m also trying to master WordPress, Dreamweaver, and Coda, I have also been trying to study and learn the code while I go along, because knowing how to code will allow me to put the finishing touches on the WordPress themes that I have chosen to use for my websites.

And, there’s my battle plan.

I visualize that it will take me two or three years to bring all of this to complete fruition. During that time period, I hope to take Web Design and Web Programming courses at Salt Lake Community College and get a Certificate of Proficiency in Web Design while I am at it.

One of these days, I hope to do Web Design or teach Web Design for a living.

If this subject interests you, then feel free to check out these other resources:

My Posts that talk about Web Design.

Stores that help you do Web Design.

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Remember, you can’t program or design web pages for very long on an empty stomach!

A Pleasant Distraction

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Be Excellent to Each Other,

Darwin Bagley

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If you found any of this information useful, feel free to donate any amount that you see fit to All Things Computer. The funds will be used to keep these websites going.