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I’m a little late in getting this posted but, a couple months ago I was asked to convert the html version of The Sportsman’s Daily over to a WordPress templated site. The site was already using WordPress for it’s blog, but the client’s wanted to re-design the blog to resemble the main site, thereby carrying over the design and enabling them to maintain and update the content themselves.

My first thought was, “What about all the work I already did on the site?” I had spent months creating the original design and another six months maintaining it for the client. Then I realized that converting the site again would give me another challenge to overcome and more skills to add to my arsenal.

Objective #1 was to take the ‘static’ html design and adapt it to the ‘dynamic’ design employed in WordPress websites. Luckily WordPress has extensive documentation as well as a very active community forum. Sure, there were some hits and misses along the way, but in short time I was able to figure out what needed to be done. Some of the bigger hurdles was figuring out how to edit some of the php code to do what I wanted to do. Why a hurdle?? Because at that point I knew nothing about php. I’m still not a php guru but after completing this project I felt pretty good about getting around the basic php code.

tsd_v2_ssSome of the major goals in the design was to take the header and the two navigation bars and bring them into the template. This actually proved easier than I thought. I just had to find the correct php pages and place the html code into the appropriate places. Of course I had to edit some of the original WordPress template html and css code to make sure that everything worked correctly. Integrating my css into the template css proved tricky, but I eventually got it going.

Objective #2 was to redesign the left content column. The static site had employed a area inside a iframe to display the four most recent stories. This was a real PITA to maintain, since it actually rotated five individual pages inside the iframe. Since the client’s would not have the photo editing tools to resize pictures, or the ability to edit outside of wordpress, an alternative was needed. The basic WordPress template already lists posts in chronological order, but the client wanted to have a section above the posts to display a the most recent story in the “Breaking Sports” category. They also wanted a section below that to highlight some feature posts. I tried using some pre-existing templates, like the Magazine template, but wasn’t getting the results we wanted. We finally compromized by not including the features.

tsd_ad_ssSince the redesigned site went live, The Sportsman’s Daily’s numbers have started to rise again. I was then asked to create a “After Dark” template. This proved to be a lot easier as it only needed the header edited and some of the side panel.

Mission accomplished! The client’s are happy that they are now able to update the site themselves. In the process I got the opportunity to learn some PHP and how to create a WordPress template. Of course, now that I’ve learned a little PHP I find myself wanting to learn more. Ah, technology! “Learn or Become Obsolete” has become my mantra.