One Day…At SoFabCon…I Learned How to Code My Way Out of a Wet Paper Bag

Taking Over the World with WordPress and HTML
by Jay Thornton and Chris Whittle
Disclosure: I have not been compensated for this post. I am writing this to share my experiences from SoFabCon 2013 in hopes that someone might learn something and so that I don’t forget a thing! As always, all opinions are my own so if I get anything wrong, it’s all my fault!
It was once said, in a public forum, lovingly of course, by some bunny that I couldn’t HTML my way out of a wet paper bag. This might or might not be true. OK, so it’s totally true. “Code” to me is like Algrebra. 

A + B = AB. You know, those things I work out every morning in hopes that they will once be as cut as they were pre 4 c-section 8+ pound babies ago? A + B cannot equal 5, or 6, or infinity. Numbers are numbers, letters are letters, words are words. 

I write. It’s really all I know how to do. I might not be good at it, but this is what I do and there is no place in my world for “code”. I write words. Not 

or 

. None of that belongs in my world. Or does it?

Apparently it does. Apparently I should learn it. Apparently expressing that it’s all Greek to me is not acceptable in the blogging world. And so, when I heard that Jay and Whittle, the original monkeys, were going to teach a session on this elusive beast, this HTML monster, I knew I had to sit in. I mean, they said I could take over the world. Now that DOES fit into my world just fine.

So, yea, that’s me. Sitting front and center with the half pink hair. I’m a good student like that (besides that put me in optimal heckling position and that’s pretty important in my world too). I was ready to learn. Mind clear, pen and paper in hand, let’s get this thing started!

Jay Thornton, VP of Technology for Collective Bias opened with the “basics”. He explained that HTML, or the building blocks, controlled things on my blog like the headers, footers, and sidebars. And CSS (don’t ask me what that stands for, I have no clue) makes it all look right with position, color, font, and size. You know, the pretty stuff.

Common CSS changes include:

  • Background colors and images
  • Fonts – Use Google Webfonts for 5000+ free fonts
  • Content area widths (I can’t express enough how important this is to the appearance of your blog. 1″ thick blog post widths are not pretty people!).
  • Plug ins and widget styling
  • Use Global CSS by Joddit (Confession: I have “so confused” next to my notes on this part!) to make changes. We’ll have to ask for clarification on this part later.

As they often do, this was a tag team effort between the dynamic duo. Chris Whittle, Director of Technology at Collective Bias, stepped up to the plate next. Don’t let him fool you, he is rarely serious although he does know his “stuff”. 

Key Points:

  • Chrome Webmaster Tools: 
    • Use to inspect an element and make a change. Hey, I can do that! 
    • The cool part of this is, you can change stuff, but unless you hit save, it won’t stick. Meaning, I can experiment all I want without messing up everything I’ve worked so hard to achieve. 
  • Keep WordPress up to date for security. Remember: Plugins are your weak points.
There was much more said that I don’t understand. Heck, I don’t understand half of what I wrote above but I’m willing to work on it. Hopefully I got my notes right. I’m sure Whittle will correct me if not. 

They opened it up for questions and answers at this point. Guess who the first one to open their mouth was? Yup…ME! You see, I’m on Blogger. I told Whittle this not so long ago on a Google chat about other business and he admitted to losing a little bit of respect for me (he was kidding…kind of). I know that Blogger isn’t as stable and I know I need to make the switch to WordPress. Remember at the beginning? They said I could take over the world! I’m on this! So how do I go about that?
  • Don’t be scared (my biggest hurdle!)
  • Back up your current site. 
  • Export, import, then move your domain.
  • PAY FOR HOSTING! They recommend:
So, am I ready to take over the world with WordPress and HTML? No, but I’m not nearly as afraid of it as I was before. I learned that I can make changes that won’t stick unless I hit the save button. I actually know what some of the acronyms and codes mean now. Things that start with < and end with > don’t frighten me nearly as much. And I’m ready to take the WordPress plunge now that I kind of/sort of know how to do it. I at least know where to start and that’s further along than I was when I hit the ground in Arkansas!

I probably could have used a 10 hour one-on-one course from these two but this was a great one-hour session and I’m glad I sat in. I’m pretty sure I’m dangerous enough now to code my way out of a wet paper bag anyway!
About Christy

Christy Gossett, managing editor of SoFabFood and creator of the healthy living blog, Insanity Is Not An Option, is a WAHM of 6 kids ranging in age from 27 to 8. She enjoys sharing her heart-healthy, low sodium recipes to help others with dietary restrictions enjoy a flavorful life while maintaining a healthy diet.

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Comments

  1. Who would say something so mean about your ninja like coding skills???

  2. I never thought that HTML could be so interesting. I think I would have learned a thing or two from this class.

  3. clgossett says:

    It was interesting and these 2 are quite amusing so it made it less painful for me.

  4. clgossett says:

    Hmmmm…I wonder.

  5. Shari Lynne says:

    Well I just wrote a big long comment and Disqus erased it when I signed in with my FB 🙁 Boo Hoo..well the jist of it was ..Great Job and I don’t know much HTML either LOL

  6. clgossett says:

    “Don’t know much” is actually being kind when it comes to my coding abilities.