Update on my WordPress development…
There are wise ways to spend time these days, and there are unwise ways to spend time these days. It turns out that the worst way a freelance graphic designer, who’s days are measured in dollars and minutes measured in gold shavings, is to spend time trying to build a website by hand. After years of lovingly and achingly “staying true” to my craft, I’ve adopted WordPress to do all the heavy lifting of putting together and running a website. I feel like an old-world watch maker who sees the new Seiko factory cranking out digital watches by the pound for pennies on the dollar. Amazing insight: “craft”, while noble, no longer applies to tinkering with every piece of HTML code, if one wants to stay afloat in the graphic design world as freelancer. This is a good thing. That kind of attention should go towards fine art, illustration, better print pieces, etc. In other words, I’ve awoke from a bad dream (hand coding everything, writing home-brewed CMS systems, etc) and found that an amazing community of people have done all this work once and for all, so that freelance graphic designers like me can focus on what matters. And what matters? Content! I’ve known this for some time of course but the constant nagging of overly-customized work was taking all my time. Projects went too long and I would eat the overage on a fixed bid job. This is bad if you want to stay on as a freelance graphic designer in a competitive environment!
Here are some WordPress tips learned so far:
- Keep your blog design simple. Think whitespace.
- Use a high-quality template. Even better, use a template framework with a budding and buzzing support community. Don’t bother with one-off templates from one-shot Joe designer
- Discover, through astute observation and archive reading, what your favorite WordPress blogs are doing and emulate it. Chances are they have let the cat out the bag for you. There is no “secret” to blogging other than, apparently, reading a lot and doing what those with more experience tell you to do.
- Work hard at the basics and you will have more time later for what you really should be doing, like in my case, freelance graphic design.
- Don’t fiddle with things that take away from what is most important: content.
Anyway, I’m rapidly working my way through implementing a new design in WordPress. I’m using Theme Hybrid (themehybrid.com) and getting through the initial orientation and learning curve. So bear with my franken-site for a few more days!