A few friends have nagged me to start a blog (like everyone else), plus I’ve been wanting to screw around with WordPress (supposedly the most popular blogging platform) out of curiosity, so I decided to give it a shot.
I am so not impressed. I am NOT saying I can in a short period of time write a better blogging platform etc, but out of the box, nothing REALLY works. I will also freely admit that if I used wordpress.org or blogger or yet another other out of the box platform things would probably have been a bit simpler, but I wanted to play.
Out of the box, everything kind of works, with a million options hidden under a myriad of menus, you have (and marketed to!) to install a bazillion plugins (which don’t all work), plugins are mostly “freemium”, plugins show you ads to upgrade all the time, even tho the base plugin is buggy as hell already.
Themes Rant: WordPress installed a bunch of themes by default (bloat!), plus you can always find more themes all over the internet. Most of these themes work, sort of, they are barely configurable with really weird options, and most of them want to upsell you to their fancier theme with even more options. At least they give you the option to write custom CSS, so you can make things “work”. Until someone decides to upgrade the theme and break everything.
Gallery Plugin Rant: There are a few games in town, FooGallery, Envira, NextGen. Personally I installed NextGen and it was barely usable (to me). Envira is a rip off, it’s fast, but they want at least $20 a year for a gallery?! The base level you can barely configure anything. FooGallery: Sigh. It works, the layouts aren’t as nice as Envira, and the sort of included lightbox (FooBox) is sort of a joke and slow as hell. This is where I ended up having to learn how to write a mu-plugin to make FooGallery + dFactory lightbox fast and not buggy enough to use. Ugh. I feel like I should get into the WordPress plugin business to make some money on the side.
Mail Rant: OK, this is my own fault / feature creep. I like having email subscribe for blogs. The MailChimp + WP integration was a pain in the ass. Making “list sign up” work was easier than expected. Configuring what your actual email would look like? HUGE PAIN. CSS oddities making the email look like shit? Check. Lack of ability to control the layout? Check. My MailChimp emails being labeled as spam?! Check. I have now learned about SPF and DKIM records as a solution, hopefully this fixed it. Nothing is easy.
Happy Things: The Google Analytics integration was really easy. To end on a happy note, at least I think this is mostly working now. Now comes the hard part, actually writing content.