Support » Fixing WordPress » Seeking a WordPress Mentor/Guide

  • Fairly new to WordPress though I have read many of the guides and tutorials on this site and a few others. I am working on putting a personal website/blog together for myself and could really use some guidance by the more experienced folks here.

    I have basic xhtml/javascript/css experience though I tend to have a bad hand at design and getting things to fit. I know what I like but making a site that I like is a whole different story.

    The theme for the site is ‘Sloshed in Translation’ it hopefully will be about my adventures living and teaching English in Japan. The target audience for my site will be my friends and family back in the USA as well as any who are interested in Japan, or English Teaching as a Foreign Language. Also friends I make in Japan and possibly even coworkers there might have access to it.

    My vision for the site is many fold. I want it to be able to support audio & video podcasts. It will of course contain the blog as the main feature. Wanting the archives to be easily accessible and browsed since many might want to read my experiences from Day 1 onward. I like the idea of having a feature showing the time, weather, of where I am teaching. Perhaps a fairly updated yen to dollar bit of info listed there.

    Two features that I would like to impliment into it are a library of pictures that I take there. PErhaps with the ability to search through them and have some of them listed under different categories. (A picture might be of a shrine, but also taken on a certain vacation. This searching for either that vacation or ‘shrines’ would bring up the picture along with others related to the search).

    The other features I would like to put into the site is a sort of dictionary/encyclopedia. When ever I use a strange word or phrase (Japanese or otherwise) they could click on it and it would take them to an entry I wrote for it. That way I could flavor my journal with japanese words (such as ‘hanabi’) and they could click on it to get the definition (fireworks) perhaps a literal translation (fireflower) and pictures relating to it.

    Overall I am seeking a person or group of people who might be able to guide me in the creation of this site. Any who are experienced at web design and esspecially any able to solve problems easily dealing with wordpress would be appreciated.

Viewing 9 replies - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • Most of the things you’ve listed are covered in plugins and/or widgets.

    Want to start somewhere? You’ve dumped a lot of issues on the table here and I don’t know where to begin.

    Do you want to start with design first? Get a firm layout in place with graphics that you like? That makes the most sense to me, but you’re not me, so what do you want to do?

    Or do you want to just pick a stock “good enough” template to start and figure out functionality first?

    What needs to be done right now? What have you done so far to make that happen?

    Ganbatte, eigo no sensei. Doku desu ka?

    Widgets and plugins tend to confuse me a bit for wordpress, no matter how many times I read through the tutorials.

    The design first would likely be the best place to begin. A firm layout as you said. Graphic design has to be one of my weak points so that is a big hurdle there. I like the idea of a 3-column page. With a title up top as well as a horizontal navication bar either just below the title bar or worked into it. That would be used to access various main areas of the site such as the blog, an about page, etc.

    The left bar I was considering to use for navigation within the area. Such as archives in the blog area. Also thinking that for archives I would want earlist post listed first while on the ‘main’ blog page I would have most recent listed first. That way they could look at the archives and read top to bottom if going chronoligically and when just visiting the page they could see the most recent post right away.

    The right bar might have a bunch of the tools such as the weather, yen conversion, location, etc.

    Graphical design I want it to be clearly about Japan. Yet also professional but still interesting. Not flat or boring. But I also don’t want any graphics that would completely overshadow the material and the blog itself.

    Still working on learning Japanese. Can understand what you said, but still working on the basics of the language. The writing system first, then grammar, then word meanings & kanji. Lot of fun there. At the moment I am in the US in Michigan. On the ‘Alternate’ list for the ‘JET Programme’. JET standing for Japanese Exchange & Teaching. Basically if called for it I go to Japan as an assistant english teacher for 1-3 years. Had a horrible interview but still made it as an alternate… meaning if someone drops or they need more then I am one of the people they might call up. The consulate in my area says I have a 50/50 chance of getting in since only a couple more need to drop. In any case I intend to apply again if I don’t get in this round, and if I fail then I will take a less prestigeous program or go over on my own steam. In any case would like a website to chronicle the experiences.

    As far as whats done. Mostly just been writing around in a notebook trying to figure out design issues. Got a host service and url for the site and wordpress is configured with basic settings but thats about it.

    It sounds like you should just get used to dealing with the system and use a premade template. If widgets and plugins confuse you and coding isn’t your strength, you don’t sound like someone who should be working on this on a live site. Know what I mean?

    Find a template that will work for now and start writing. It’s your content that’s going to drive the site in the end, anyhow. Start experiementing with diffferent templates and the CSS bit by bit. Here’re a few sites to learn:

    Again, I think focusing on a single thing at a time will yield better results on forums like this. What’s the first challenge to tackle and what have you done so far to address it?

    And I don’t really know Japanese, either. I know that Kana and a few Kanji (about 30-40), but I haven’t studied for about 3 years, though I’ve been to Japan 4 times (twice just this year). I’m familiar with JET; 3 of my good friends went through it.

    One approach to the design angle may be to do some poking around at Find something you like – or close to what you like, grab it and commence tweaking.

    The thing is I want to have my own theme not borrow someone elses. I want the site to have a personalized feel to it that says Japan.

    I have a rough time figuring out how to write a theme so thinking it might be best to find a basic theme and modify it from there. I did a site similar to what I am talking about in my xml class utilizing xhtml and xml along with some javascript but that was without using wordpress.

    Its not so much that I am not a coding person its just been awile since I put any real feeling into any coding that I’ve done (all been in classes lately). Also wordpress is fairly unfamiliar to me as far as actually working with it. I tend to be a it of a tactile learner, I do best working with my hands in it. Thats one reason I am looking to do it myself rather than get someone else to do it, hence why guidance is so appreciated.

    I would argue that you can only be guided if your questions are specific enough. It sounds like you either need to learn some coding, or pay someone to code it for you.

    If neither are real possibilities, for a good starting template, which you can then go CSS-mad on in order to transform it into a Japan-style blog, why not try the Sandbox:

    Add some widgets for the Yen/Dollar conversion, perhaps a flickr/whatever widget for your photos, and so on. Widgets are literally a drag and drop process, so even someone like me can handle those.

    You can also learn a lot from Urban Giraffe’s Theme dissection where he tears apart the default theme.

    I have a “Blank” Theme where you can download the finished product of Urban Giraffe’s work (though it could stand a little updating)

    It’s definitely worth going through if you want to learn about the theme system.

    There are a ton of themes out there with professional standards. My advice echoes HandySolo in that you should scour around a bit, find a theme that suits you, and start tweaking the stylesheet.

    Here’s a bit of advice – I operate a photoblog of China. I teach English as well. Having a website is a bit like photography in that it’s very visual. A basic tenet of photogrphy is simplify your frame. I took that same approach and hence have a very simple website where the content is the single most important aspect of it.

    You want your site to scream Japan? Add some Japanese characters and/or a Japanese motif. Grab a theme you like and add some Japanese characters to it and people will instantly identify it with an Asian theme. Aside from that I’d drop all that extracurricular stuff you want to include i.e. the weather, yen to dollar exchange rate,’ll only distract your viewers and send them somewhere else for visual stimulation.

    All the best,

    The weather, yen exchange rate, etc is not for visual stimulation or just to add ‘things’ the the website. For instance the clock would be for the viewers in the U.S. to know what time it was in Japan where I am. The weather would tell them the weather where I was working currently and give them a bit more immersion into the site knowing what it was like where I was. And finally the yen exchange rate would be there since I would write most every price for things I bought in Japan in yen, and seeing the yen exchange rate they could do the math easily enough to find out how much that is in USD. I intend for these to be very quiet and simple parts of the site that don’t drag the eye away from the content.

Viewing 9 replies - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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