How We Built Graphics Unleashed Blog Site In Less Than a Week

April 7, 2015

In yesterday’s post, Graphics Unleashed Blog Is Moved, I told you about the new site we build for the blog. Today I want to focus on the steps involved in the move. Should you need to build a new Web site or update an existing site, you can use these steps as a blueprint for your own plan.

The first step is getting an appropriate domain name. As the blog was named Graphics Unleashed, we were very lucky that the domain name was available. As a side note, the name without the hyphen is taken so it wasn’t a possibility. We use GoDaddy for domain registration for ourselves and our clients. Searching and purchasing the new name took maybe five minutes.

Every Web site needs to be hosted on a server somewhere. We already have server space at GoDaddy for WordPress sites so this decision didn’t require any thought. All I had to do is click a button and the new (empty) site was ready for me in another five minutes. For those who aren’t aware, WordPress is a content management system. It was originally designed for blogs, but now can do much more.

When designing a WordPress Web site, choosing a theme that fits the site is a huge decision. A handful of themes are included at no cost, but typically it is best to look at some of the more full-featured commercial themes available. In most cases, we find the theme we desire at Themeforest and a good theme usually costs $40-$70. After looking at a number of the available themes, we decided on Sahifa and made the purchase.

Once the theme was installed, we spent some time going through the many options in Sahifa and configuring the look of the site. A full day was spent on the first round of configuration. We also installed a few WordPress plug-ins to add some additional features. Once we were fairly happy with the look of the site, it was time to fill it with content.

The old version of the blog was built on the Blogger platform. WordPress has an import feature that will pull all content from the Blogger site. Moving the nearly 3000 posts along with comments, categories and more took another five minutes of my time. It took another fifteen minutes or so for the computer to complete the import process.

After the import was complete, some more configuration on the theme was done. Until we had some content, it was difficult to do some of the site design work. Now there were plenty of pages to use for testing so we knew exactly how it looked.

The last step is the most time consuming. Blogger and WordPress handle some things differently. In order to make posts look great, we needed to upload a “featured image” that sits at the top of each post. Categories on posts were transferred, but tags were blank. There is an automated way to convert them but I look at this as an opportunity to get the tags just right and so I’m adding them manually. If posts have links to previous posts, I have to update those links so they point to the new site instead of the old site.

Given that there are nearly 3000 posts, it will take a long time to make the changes to all of them. Our main goal was to update the last few months of posts before the rollout. Older posts will get updated in the future, but it isn’t a high priority right now.

Once the site was ready, links on other sites needed to be updated to point to the new site. A message was also added on the old blog site telling visitors about the move. Lastly, the source feed for Feedblitz was updated from the old site to the new site. It is the FeedBlitz feed that powers the daily and weekly newsletters as well as syndicated versions of the blog in other locations.

It definitely helped that we’ve built quite a few sites for others so the process was well defined. I can’t promise that we can build you a site as quickly as this one, but we’ll do our best to get it created as quickly as possible for the lowest cost possible.

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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III built his first Web site in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013. He has used the Divi theme exclusively since 2015. Earlier in his career he was the author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences.

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