CMS & WordPress
I'm hoping there is someone out there who can tell me the simplest way to get up and running with web design. My goal is to do customized WordPress sites for small business owners who want the ability to update and make their own changes.
First of all, please understand that I am a graphic designer, NOT a programmer. I have taken a few classes and have a basic understanding of html and css and I have created a few simple websites using Dreamweaver.
I would like to start using WordPress in the hopes that it will allow me to be more productive more quickly.
So here's the big question . . . do I continue to use Dreamweaver? I have invested some time in learning it and have just upgraded to DW6. Lynda.com has tutorials on how to incorporate them, but I'm wondering if that's the best path to take?
Can I work solely in WP? Is that a better plan? I need to know where to focus my energy. feeling kind of overwhelmed and paralyzed, but would like to move forward : (
Wordpress will not be the simplest way.
There is a learning curve to Wordpress. Not to using it so much as using Wordpress is easy, but you are going to have to know some PHP to translate web designs into the Wordpress template system. Certainly, you are going to have to know about Wordpress, too, such as the [Wordpress template hierarchy, basics about [URL="http://codex.wordpress.org/Templates"]creating templates](http://codex.wordpress.org/Template_Hierarchy), and quite a bit more. This isn't going to be an investment of a few hours. It will be much more.
Can't answer that one.
I doubt you will make a career working solely in Wordpress. Another thing I would like to add is that when clients are looking to use Wordpress, they are often looking to do other things than just have a static site and make some minor changes. They want to use plugins like e-commerce, galleries, widgets, and stuff like that. And you are going to find some people who want some work done that is going to require some real programming beyond finding and installing existing plugins.
You have got quite a bit of learning to do.
Thanks for your comments. Sounds like I should stick with design and hire a programmer.
The simplest and fastest way to make your design up and running is by using some website builder application as you can found in my signature. Here you have a chance to utilize your DW6 skills as you have to copy and paste HTML into Website Builder.
So as a graphic designer, you sometime got client request to make a dynamic website, and you want to use WordPress here. Right choice.
Its easy to learn something from Lynda site resources like html or css but it is not going be very easy learning curve for WordPress though. First you need to have a basic skill in Linux/php, mysql, ajax, css and html. Tweaking WordPress template is not enough to accomplish your design needs, you have to have a knowledge to tweak PHP code also. So if quality is not an issue in beginning, you can try experimenting with one site and then others, but if quality is an issue, you need some professional help.
Hope this help !
As said above, this is too much to bite off as a designer, unless you are going to invest some time into being a coder. However, some successful routes I've seen non-coding graphic designers include:
- using "off the shelf" themes that suit the client's needs (which you can tweak yourself without too much pain)
- using WordPress by utilizing something like http://www.pagelines.com/ which allows for drag and drop customization of WordPress.
- using other CMS services like http://www.squarespace.com/, Weebly, Yola and so on.
With those last ones, you can have a developer account and create multiple sites for clients without having to touch code, I believe. They have a lot of add-ons for all kinds of things like shopping carts as well.
I don't like these services that do the coding for you—but still, they are a viable means for many people in your situation.
As for using Dreamweaver with WP, that's perfectly fine. You can work with files through DW and then upload them no probs ... but as said, it means working with a lot of code—which isn't viable unless you invest significant time in that side of things.
Typically, whether you're talking about freelancers or agencies, etc. ... you see people break up in to teams.
Most designers who work with the web will "have a guy" who does the programming. Or vice-versa where the developer might have a few designers in their rolodex that they like to work with. And typically, you'll see little communities forming because certain designers will have one or two programmers that they like working with because they've formed a relationship and are comfortable working with one another.
Once in a great, great while you might find someone who can do both. But generally speaking, it's a real tough thing to keep up, because the programming side of things requires such a huge investment of your time, just to stay on top of what's new, because it's constantly changing and evolving. So much time, that you might not have enough left over to hone your design skills. And the opposite is also true.
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