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JennaKoslowski
JennaKoslowski

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Why I used WordPress for my portfolio

September was a month for sure. There wasn't anything particularly off about it but being furloughed for this long is messing with my head a lot as well as going through the job hunt process and everything going on with Covid-19 and the election and stressing if I'll even get called back. So I decided to distract myself by redoing my portfolio, something I've been meaning to do since I first created it.

I had done one around this time last year and was never fully happy with it. If you want to see it it's still live here.

I used WordPress because:

  1. I bought the URL for my book blog but decided to focus my time and effort on other things so I switched the URL for that back to the free .wordpress version.
  2. Easy updates. I don't want to have to spend a ton of time working though the code to add a page, post, photos or projects. It's not that I'm lazy, I just want to spend that time on other things.
  3. I missed WordPress. Not going to lie. I've used WordPress at my past couple jobs and haven't had an excuse to create one in a while so it was fun to mess around with it more.
  4. I want to create WordPress sites for others and I didn't have anything that fully showed what I was capable of so this is it.

And the final result is here. I'm planning to update the copy after Halloween and I still have to do SEO on all the pages but for the most part it's done!

Have you used WordPress before? What makes you decide whether to hard code or use WordPress?

Discussion (13)

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tomavelev profile image
Toma

WP is fine. All big US marketers are powered by it - Grant Cardone, Garyvee, Tai Lopez. I've read that WP devs will get included the rest auth API (application passwords) in The core so - with time it will evolve to be good out of the box - for app developers - not only for marketers or simple website builders.

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jennakoslowski profile image
JennaKoslowski Author

That'd be so cool! I'm glad they're expanding what they do.

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contradicthelaw profile image
Minh Nguyen (he/him)

If all you need is a demo to showcase something as a prototype, hard coding something in HTML, CSS and JS is pretty much all we need to reach for.

But the moment the requirement is known that someone non-technical needs to add or update content, a CMS such as WordPress enters the picture. That's generally the thing we measure if we need a CMS or not.

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jennakoslowski profile image
JennaKoslowski Author

That's why we used it at my last job so much. We also had to teach them how to make the changes so that they didn't completely destroy the site when they went in.

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iam_timsmith profile image
Tim Smith

This is a nice site! I started my web development career with wordpress and still use it on various projects. I noticed the load times could be smaller. Are you using any caching plugins or image optimization plugins?

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jennakoslowski profile image
JennaKoslowski Author

Thank you! And I'm not. I did minimize the size of images when I put them in. I have JetPack that does some speed optimization but apparently not enough.

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iam_timsmith profile image
Tim Smith

Yeah, it's a shame that stuff isn't offered out-of-the-box. I've used these plugins in the past to handle caching and image optimization: WP Fastest Cache, Smush. Hopefully those can help improve your site. In addition, I don't know what your theme is like or if you built it, but if it's something you built you could include some PostCSS processing to remove unused styles/javascript which would also help to reduce bundle sizes...

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andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden

I started off with WordPress many years ago when I first learned to create websites. I was following Chris Coyier and his tutorials I think he was also the first person I followed on Twitter. These days I prefer using Javascript frameworks like React because single page applications have become so popular and sought after. I also just like writing javascript and I think that hard coding makes you a better programmer in my opinion.

It's far too easy to just use a WordPress theme that somebody else made but you don't even know how it works. And if you want to get serious with WordPress then you have to know PHP which is not an area of interest for me which is why I moved away from WordPress.

Nonetheless many companies and recruiters keep looking for developers who know WordPress so the demand remains for those interested in that type of framework.

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jennakoslowski profile image
JennaKoslowski Author

There definitely are times I use React vs WordPress, it was just that WordPress worked better for this particular instance. My portfolio is definitely something I tend to redo quite a bit and my last one was using Vue and I'll probably use a framework next time, I just hated the design so much I wanted to redo it but I didn't want to take a long time to do so.

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vicropht profile image
Vicropht

I used Jekyll to make my website, there are also themes and boilerplates for it as an alternative. Worked pretty well too :)

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jennakoslowski profile image
JennaKoslowski Author

I need to try Jekyll still! I've heard nothing but good things about it.

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badpractice profile image
Bad Practice

I've become more accustomed to using React and Symfony as a means to build everything around me, that includes our upcoming company and personal sites.

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jennakoslowski profile image
JennaKoslowski Author

I haven't tried Symfony yet, I'm just relearning React now. I haven't used it for almost two years now 😬