April 10, 2017

Failure & Perseverance

Last week I attempted to make inroads on a new website. After much research, I decided to go with WordPress, specifically for its built-in search engine optimization, design compatibility across viewing devices, and ecommerce plugin. The ecommerce plugin is basically an online shop, cart, and payment portal ready to go out of the box. It's supposed to be simple. Supposed to… you see where this is heading?

WordPress is used by millions of people for simple blogs to super complex big business sites. It's flexible and easy to use. That's it's appeal. It's easy because the coding is done for you while it allows customization through an intuitive admin panel and/or customizing the code itself. The flexibility comes in with the bazillion WordPress themes available, both free and fee based. A theme is essentially a design template. The theme dictates the site organization, functionality to some extent, and its visual appearance. 

That said, I have been troubleshooting - blindly - from the get go. No fault of WordPress, mind you. The first hurdle was with my web host. After several hours of frustration, I found a work around. Only to be further frustrated and at wit's end because the theme I chose, and purchased for $50, creates "the white screen of death." As in every time I try to upload the theme or view it or use it, the screen goes completely blank and I lose access to the WordPress admin dashboard. Apparently this is not uncommon when making additions to WordPress, I didn't coin "white screen of death," after all.

There's much more to my process (don't get me started on the plugin fiascoes), but it all boils down to a day and a half of extreme frustration and banging my head against the wall while glued to the computer screen. With each fix, half a dozen new problems cropped up. My body aches, my eyes are scratchy, I feel like I've been pummeled body and soul. And, worst of all, I feel like a big freakin' idiot.

WordPress is supposed to be so easy that a toad (no offense to toads) could build a website simply by hopping across the keyboard. And I've got absolutely nowhere - wait, no, I've managed to BREAK IT. Not so good for the psyche.

This is what I'm doing about it. Stopped searching for answers. Stopped blaming myself for not understanding poorly written, incomplete instructions. Turned the computer off. Did laundry. Sewed more patches on my threadbare shorts. Took a trip to visit a friend for a few days (which is where I am now).

After this break, I will give it one more try. Uninstall everything from my web host and start fresh. Walk through it one more time. If it still doesn't work, I'll either hire help or dump the theme and try a different one. Or design it myself without WordPress. It's not that big a deal. Certainly not worth unleashing the self-judgement voice of doubt to condemn me. I am (trying really hard to be) deaf to that voice.

The photo above is a job site I walked past on the way to meet my tax accountants. The house at the end of a row had been demolished and a new foundation was being built. Along with the graffiti heart, a fitting metaphor, no?

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