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Learning how to create websites to using WordPress (Part 1)

Roger Jorns

Where to Start…

My journey of learning how to create websites to then using WordPress started around 2017.

Or maybe it was 2008.

Regardless, all I know is, I was super eager to learn about web development and design. If I’m honest, I didn’t really know the difference between those two and what they were. All I knew was that I long had the desire to create websites.

I just had no idea where to begin.

I had to start somewhere. Over the next few posts, I am going to share with you my journey of how I learned to build websites, and how I ended up using WordPress. Hopefully, as you follow along my journey you will be able to relate to parts of it yourself, maybe, even be encouraged.

This is my journey of learning how to create websites, to using WordPress.

Starting at the Beginning

Back in 2008, when I initially had this itch to start figuring out how to create websites, there wasn’t this wealth of online courses concerning ‘How to be a web developer in -XX- days!’. In fact, in 2008 HTML5 was first introduced as an idea. I had just graduated college with a degree in a completely different field and needed to find a job.

HTML code on black background
It all looks greek to me (and I actually studied greek!)

Back then, I had no idea what to do or where to go to look for information on how to create websites. All I knew was what one of my family members did concerning code and that was not necessarily what I was looking for. So, I put that on the back burner.

Initially, in 2016, I had a super brief stint trying out some free courses through TeamTreehouse. And it was cool! I tried some simple stuff with a code editor and barely, and I mean barely, scratched the surface. After a few lessons, I hit a roadblock and couldn’t get one page to load. After multiple attempts of trying different things, I couldn’t figure out what was going wrong, so I gave up.


That was a disappointing day. Because I had given up. Looking back I regret giving up so easily (on a side note: it definitely spoke to a much larger problem I had of not trying new things, and then giving up so easily, which I have definitely over the past few years tried to correct). 

I again decided roughly another year or so later that I was going to learn about WordPress and how to design and develop websites. I again went looking for some tutorials on how to learn about WordPress. Found what I had considered a good tutorial on Team Treehouse, and started there. 

Imagine my surprise when I found out there are two different WordPresses! After fumbling my way through a few courses, I realized that I needed some background information on web development in general. I felt like I was just jumping into this the deep end of this huge pool called website building blind. So, I needed a hand in figuring out what I needed to do.

 Part of my journey of learning how to create websites to using WordPress was finding out there were 2 WordPress, landing page on laptop screen.
Now there are two of them!

At that point, I made the decision to take a detour with WordPress. I decided to go back and learn more about web development “proper”. Through Team Treehouse, I took a course path set out for me, that was going to teach me some HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. I thoroughly enjoyed learning the basics of web development and was making some good headway, when, through some furthering searching I found out about Udemy.

One thing I liked about Udemy is that there is a wealth of knowledge there. I mean pretty much anything you can think of you can find it and learn about it there. It is a great place and I highly recommend you check out Udemy.

Some thoughts on the beginning

One thing that I felt with my personal experience with Team Treehouse courses that I took was that I was mainly doing some copying and pasting. Now, I learned some great stuff but I felt there was more and it was not enough. Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot through Team Treehouse, but I felt that as good as it was, I needed to something a little more.

When I found this particular course on Udemy, what was great is that it went back through the things I had already previously learned, while also giving me more context and it allowed me more practice. I enjoyed the HTML and CSS and really felt that I had a good grasp of it. 

It was when I encountered JavaScript that I questioned my life. 

Just kidding.

Not really. Well, ok, I did struggle with JavaScript a bit (and if I am honest I still do), but I carried on.

Learning how to create websites

I entered the world of Flexbox (it was pretty new at that point) as well as margin and padding etc…It was pretty cool! Going through the course I eventually started making some websites for fun. Nothing serious, but I remember reading that good practice was to find a website and try to copy it. So I did. Those tasks were some of the best tasks that I had done and really learned a lot. It helped me learn a lot about positioning and responsive sites.

Website framework on laptop screen
Website template

When I first started learning how to create websites before using WordPress, I made sites for desktop which I then scaled for mobile. However, after making a few sites, I changed it up and started by making the sites mobile-first. Which, in my opinion, is the way to go. It was by building these websites that I learned a lot about positioning, sizing as well as Flexbox and color, including some Grid.

Some Thoughts on my journey

One of the things I remembered learning about was Bootstrap. Now say what you will about Bootstrap, but it is easy to see a few things:

1) Bootstrap has made a huge influence in web development and allowed ease of use in creating websites. It allowed developers to quickly create a frontend.

2) Bootstrap has received a bad reputation. Bootstrap is pretty easy to use, but it tends to make developers pump out cookie-cutter websites that are pretty similar to one another.

Regardless of how one feels about Bootstrap, when used correctly it can be a great tool for both seasoned and new web developers. My personal feelings, having used Bootstrap, was that I never ended up actually using Bootstrap completely in a finished project. I usually started a project by linking to Bootstrap, used a few components here or there, styled the navbar and said components, which would involve overwriting some other CSS, that would then clash with another line of CSS, by which time, I would end up starting over and building the site from scratch.

Having said that, I personally don’t use Bootstrap because I usually would end building a website from scratch. While I think Bootstrap is great when used correctly, I just prefer building from the ground up so I don’t waste time rewriting code.

Aerial view of windy road that describes my journey of learning how to create websites to using WordPress

The End (for Now)

The first leg of my journey of learning how to create websites and then using WordPress was quite an interesting one. I learned a lot of different things. I also got distracted at times because there are so many different things to learn in web development. Looking at a Web Development roadmap can make one feel quite overwhelmed, I know I was! But as we will see in the next post, I started to hunker down and become a lot more focused on what I desired to do and how that came around full circle to WordPress but in a whole new light.