Rediscovering WordPress

Josh Sherman
3 min read
Personal WordPress

If you’ve followed this blog for long enough you know that I’ve been through quite a few platform solutions over the years. Started with a homegrown blog, moved to WordPress, back again, moved to Tumblr and finally settling on Jekyll & Github because of it’s simplicity as well as the hacker aesthetic of maintaining my blog from the command-line. Recently when I decided to start a niche blog dedicated to just PHP, I decided to give WordPress another go.

My problems with WordPress had been with upgrading and not necessarily the platform itself. The details are fuzzy at this point, but I didn’t care for the hoops that had to be jumped through to use SSH instead of FTP to upgrade and needing to chmod some files to 777 didn’t help matters. Couple that with the constant fear that my WordPress install would be outdated and vulnerable for attack, that’s why I decided to drop it.

I had decided that if I’m going to use WordPress again I need to find a managed solution as there was no way in hell that I’d be hosting it on one of my servers. After some research I settled on WPEngine as they are the only WordPress hosting company that Automattic (WordPress’ parent company) has made an investment in. I’ll save my review of WPEngine for next week as I’d like to focus more on WordPress itself.

Keep in mind that a lot of this decision was based on the fact that I didn’t want to maintain the software for the blog so that I could focus on content and not features. The reason I started the new blog was to endeavor more into SEO and content building by way of HitTail’s keyword suggestions for this blog (most of which are PHP related, but I didn’t necessarily want my personal blog to just be PHP tutorials). WordPress was a pretty obvious solution for no other reason than the volume of available plugins that are out there as well as a very active community of developers (some of my friends are WordPress developers!).

The good on the matter is that WordPress is absolutely helping me focus on content and not with keeping up with the Joneses in regard to building features. Blog posts and content pages are available out of the box but what if I want to add a poll to the site? There’s a plugin for that. What if I decide to have a paywall down the road? There’s a plugin for that. No need to beat a dead horse (so many idioms today) you get the idea (there may also be a plugin for it ;)

Switching back to WordPress was not without it’s faults though. It had been ages since the last time I had messed with templating a WordPress blog and it doesn’t seem like much has changed. I understand the logic behind formatting the code inside the templates the way they do, but the anal retentive code formatting nazi in me just wants to reformat everything. After boning up on the function names I was able to get into groove of it.

Come to think of it, I guess the switch really wasn’t that bad. Now that the design is pretty much worked through, I can focus on content. Choosing a managed / hosted solution took away the setup time and recurring overhead with updates (for a fee of course) but the piece of mind is worth it (again, more on WPEngine next week). If you’re interested in checking out my new PHP blog, just make your way over to PHP Avenue.

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About Josh

Husband. Father. Pug dad. Musician. Founder of Holiday API, Head of Engineering and Emoji Specialist at Mailshake, and author of the best damn Lorem Ipsum Library for PHP.

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