At the time I was already working in web development industry. Yet, my prefered CMS of choice was Drupal. I was freelancing by making drupal sites for my clients while being a part time web master at a Magento store. After I saw the demand of work for wordpress sites I thought that it would be a good skill to have so I dived in.
Personal wordpress challenge
I knew that the most reliable way to learn something is to actually do it. By following this logic I set myself a goal to make a wordpress site each week for the next 6 weeks. Regardless of the result each week, I would note of the things I did right and fairly quickly and things that took too long to do or didn’t get finished at all. These notes helped me to approach the development of next site for the following week and so on.
To pick site themes I looked at the businesses I knew which either didn’t have a site or had one but they would be better off without one.
The main priority was to get a good idea of what wordpress site development looks like. And take a good peek at what is going on under the hood. Not to be confused with being able to carelessly spit out wordpress sites every couple of days.
My journey began with a few pretty simple ‘we exist’ type of sites. Those contained a few pages such as Home, About us and Contacts. From learning my way around the dashboard and built in features. I got into seeing what plugins are out there and how this all corresponds to my goals.
After 2 weeks of my challenge. It was clear that most free themes themes out of the box don’t meet the needs and I got into the custom theme development and that is where things clicked. I started learning more about the content output, wordpress hooks, actions and PHP in general. Following sites required food menu and custom post types.
Important to notice that I did not build any ecommerce sites. As I was doing the challenge on top of full time job and I’d like to set reasonable expectation to myself. It was clear to me that woocommerce does not solve all of the problems and customisation is required so it was decided to leave this out from the challenge.
Not every site got to the finished stage on the sunday night. Some of them were great failures. Some were okay and some even made it to the production. Those are:
Upon the end of my own challenge I felt reasonably comfortable with wordpress. From the basics to more advanced things. I knew my way around the file structure, custom theme development, template hierarchy, custom plugin development, dashboard customization, some of the tools for the automation the work process(wp-cli). This gave me a solid base to build upon.
As for right now I still work with Wordpress occasionally. My main focus shifted towards Node.js but from time to time I stretch my hands at a wordpress site development.