Hey again, quick update for those following along. This edition: the struggles involved with building a website!
Here’s the scoop — building a website is a trial in frustration. It takes ages to get things looking right. And even when you do, there are always other sites that do things slightly better.
With ActivistLab, I’m building on WordPress with the Genesis theme – but it wasn’t always that way.
I came to a point a few years ago where I had a virtually completed a website built on the ‘Extra News’ theme for WordPress, but I wasn’t happy with it. I was locked into a design which was more suited to a rapid-fire daily updates type site. That was the first time I considered making use of outsourced website design services.
The site was functional, but the tone, aesthetic, and format weren’t what I wanted.
I wanted (and still want) ActivistLab to be a place for long-form articles, tutorials, interviews, and essays that are worth displaying for multiple days or weeks. Then, perhaps on the side, space for shortform articles that are responsive to current events and a bit less formal.
Very few websites are built in a way that supports this sort of division (rapid fire posts and those that stick around for weeks). I needed a ‘slow to update’ track and a ‘fast to update’ track.
I messed around with a few prebuilt templates, but eventually realized I would need to dig in and build a theme (mostly) from scratch that would meet my needs and let me ignore modern publishing conventions.
Enter Genesis. It’s a robust platform that allows for virtually limitless customization via child themes. None of their child theme got me where I wanted, but a few came close.
I started with Metro and built out most of the site. It was looking good! But I couldn’t come up with a header design I was happy with. And the background was a bit problematic. It distracted from the longform content, which is what folks are supposed to focus on.
So I grudgingly accepted that Metro wasn’t going to get there without some serious reworking. Luckily, the Magazine child theme is very similar and fixed the problems I was having with the header and background. I switched over, made a couple hundred customizations, and ended up with something I’m feeling very good about (for the first time in awhile). Here’s where it’s at:
There’s still a huge amount to do on virtually every page that isn’t the homepage, but that comes next. For now, the focus is getting articles written – that’s what this whole thing is all about, right?
Until next time,