Having been a Drupal developer since D6, and having worked with various other content management systems, I decided that the time was right to learn WordPress. The OU Create project offers me a way to do that, so why not?
Since WordPress has a reputation for making web site management easy, I have decided to make this site without writing one line of custom code. As a further challenge, I wanted to do everything I could to make the site accessible and responsive.
To begin, I used WordPress’ theme browser to select a ready-made theme. With "Accessibility Ready" selected in the feature filter, I narrowed down the possibilities to just a handful. I decided on Nanospace by Labinator because it is simple, it appeals to my taste for minimialist design, it’s accessible, and it is responsive. Setting up the various parts of the theme took a little getting used to, but on the whole it was a pretty easy process.
Update, March 2022: I have changed the theme to WordPress’ "Twenty Twenty-Two" because it uses the new editor and I wanted to try it. It’s a pretty nice, minimalist theme. The editing interface is not exactly intuitive, but it is a beta version, after all.
I also wanted to be able to compose my content in Markdown. My search for Markdown editors returned a lot of results, but I finally selected WP Githuber MD because it’s so simple to install and use. Now I can format my text without lifting my fingers from the keyboard, and I can see a preview of the rendered Markdown as I type. I can also include
code snippets, which I plan to do a lot in my posts about technology.
Every blog needs links to social media, so I installed Easy Social Icons, since it is, well, easy to use. The icons in the footer are managed by that plugin.
Finally, since I’m a security nut, I wanted to see what I could do to protect my site with a free plugin. I settled on Wordfence because it has so many robust features right out of the box. If I had a commerce site, I would spring for the premium version.
Et voilà! After about a day of tinkering, I have a functional website that didn’t require any custom code.