WordPress: Redesigning my Portfolio Website

On the 22nd of Feb 2021 I attended the Online Portfolio Workshop hosted by my lecturers at Napier. We were shown how WordPress works in general and we’re given tips on navigation and organising out content for the purposes of submitting out assignments through an online portfolio.

I had limited experience with WordPress over 7 years ago, and found it geared too much towards developers for my taste. I have used a variety of online tools, such as Wix or online builders provided by the hosting sites themselves. My website before taking on this revamp for my submissions looked like the below.

Homepage before

I used one.com’s built in website builder to create a very basic personal website.

After completing the online workshop, I created a free WordPress login to get familiar with the tools. I learnt that there are benefits to having a paid account, such as plugins, which add more options for designing your site. As I was already paying for my site with one.com, I upgraded to a WordPress hosting model and was ready to translate what I had learnt.

It took me a few tries to get a theme that worked for me and has enough customization options for flexibility but didn’t have any additional fees. I combed online forums for the best plain templates and themes as that would give the greatest chance of customization options. I settled on the Astra theme.

I also installed the Elementor plugin, which allows for drag and drop editing of pages. I continued to use the standard WordPress builder for my journal posts as the WordPress app allows you to create standard posts. Meaning I can write on the go, and then edit on my computer later, and back and forth between the two interfaces. This is ideal for documenting my process, and elementor gives me more flexibility to design project pages. The best of both worlds.

I decided on a journal approach not just because of the ability to document on the go (as noted), but I was also designing this website to work for both a standard portfolio and for my coursework submission. As part of our coursework, documenting process is a requirement – but the pretty pictures are what most people show on their websites. This format allows visitors to read as much about the process as they wish while keeping the project pages a showcase peice.

I designed and built every part of this WordPress site with tools I learnt in the tutorial and by searching in forums for answers to questions I had. I even found some code and a plugin to assist me in changing the ‘next post’ links to restrict navigation to posts in the same category. So Fancy! Overall I am happy how the site looks and navigates. I have built it in a way that it can continue to serve me far past the purposes of my module submission.