Relaunching My Website on WordPress

Content that Engages

Today is like a prodigal return.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done anything with my personal website. I’ve not done a lot creatively outside of Happy Joe, nor have I written about freelancing or the entrepreneurial journey in a while. That’s all about to change. I’ve relaunched my website on WordPress and I’m stoked about it!

Goodbye SquareSpace

SquareSpace is a great platform. I really enjoyed the ability to explore my design creativity and the freedom to create page layouts the way I wanted without having to code. But it never felt like home.

Many of the features SquareSpace offers are incredible, yet using them are also cumbersome. Blogging was a real chore. As great as this platform is, I needed to abandon it and come back to WordPress.

I’ll share an in-depth review about SquareSpace in the future. For now, lets talk WordPress.

Hello WordPress. Again.

I’m no stranger to WordPress. I’ve been in the marketplace for the past eight years. Creating some of the first premium WordPress themes was an exciting adventure. Yet I’ve also battled problems in WordPress because I’m not a developer. Hacking CSS and HTML is a chore for me. I want to be creative and explore possibilities.

There are WordPress themes now that provide greater flexibility with page and content layouts. It’s a lot different than my early days with iThemes and the Builder Theme. Divi and Avada were game changers, but other problems came with them. I wanted a WordPress theme that was built on a great foundation, was light, and could be adapted to my changing needs. Now I’ve found the perfect combination for my arsenal.

Genesis Framework from StudioPress

So many amazing WordPress developers I know use the Genesis Framework. I’ve designed dozens of custom websites for Genesis so I know it works great. StudioPress themes have always been solid out of the box. While you can’t make wholesale design changes without knowing code, all the Pro themes are an excellent foundation.

For this website, I used the Genesis Sample Child Theme for the base. It gave me a starting point for the base elements.

Beaver Builder Plugin

Two words: FREAKING AWESOME! I absolutely love the Beaver Builder plugin because it’s given me the creative power I’ve been longing for in WordPress.

You can create just about any page or content layout that you can imagine. It’s easy figure out and use. They have predesigned templates included or you can design your own and save them. Video backgrounds, image motion, icons, and parallax are no problem.

Beaver Builder is the real game changer for me. There’s so much I want to say about this WordPress plugin but that will have to be a separate post.

WP Engine Hosting

Your website is only as good as your website hosting platform. WP Engine is now my go-to solution and I couldn’t be happier. My websites are faster than ever before and all of the benefits WP Engine provides are second to none.

So what do I like about WP Engine? Daily backups and restore points. Customer support that has saved my ass dozens of times lately. I tend to blow things up! The ability to work on a staging site and then being able to transfer it in one click. The website speed checker is awesome. WP Engine just rocks it out of the park.

iStock Photos

Having access to over 900 iStock photos per month is like giving crack to a crack addict. Photos and graphics are everything. While I spend way more time looking at photos than I should, they always pay off. Design sells. Always.

If you can’t afford to use iStock, then check out Pexels.com for amazing photos. And donate to their cause if you can.

This is just the beginning.

I’m going to be moving a lot of my old freelancing and business posts back here. I’ve got a ton of new content to publish and a few online courses to release. Plus there will be more input on WordPress resources and tools that I am using to bring it all together.

Hello my old friend. It feels great to be back on WordPress. Let’s do this!

2 Comments

  1. Amanda Rush on July 13, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    Hi James,

    I’d like to personally welcome you back to WordPress. Not that I’m the benevolent dictator or anything, but I’m sincerely glad you’ve chosen WordPress, and that you’ve chosen to use the Genesis framework, which makes it a lot easier for you to make your site accessible should you choose to go that route. (Hint: you should). I hope to see a lot more from you in the future, wish you all the best with Happy Joe, love the direction it’s going, and hope you and yours are doing well.

    Amanda

    • James Dalman on July 13, 2016 at 8:53 pm

      Thanks Amanda! I really appreciate your friendship and kind words. I still hope we can work together in the near future! Hope all is well.

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