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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 38 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Using Wordpress for a company website  (Read 1904 times)
Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 2775


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« on: August 07, 2008, 03:05:04 PM »

I had to make a new, English-language website for my company, as we're trying to sell some games to the English-speaking world now. The conditions were hardly ideal, as I'm busy with the approaching Gencon, too, so I only had a couple of days for this. I'm the sort of stupid who decides to learn new things under that sort of deadlines, though: I downloaded and installed Wordpress, the PHP/SQL blogging software, intending to use it to serve my webpage. I've been blogging at Wordpress.com for a year now, which inspired me to try to set up my own Wordpress installation.

To make matters worse, I decided to write my own theme: installing Wordpress is a rather trivial task per se, but forcing it to look like something else than a blog requires some programming. I probably could have found an acceptable ready-made theme, but I prefer learning by doing. Thus, my own theme.

Apparently I'm considerably better hand at php than I thought, however, as I didn't hopelessly screw up my website-building. The site is at http://www.arkenstonepublishing.net/, and as can be seen, I pretty much tore down the default theme and built a simple replacement. The site is simple, but I don't have the time or inclination to make anything more complex at this point. The only annoyment is that this doesn't look very good on Internet Explorer; perhaps I'll look into that after Gencon, or some such.

The best part of this is that now that I've mastered the structure of Wordpress, it's trivial for me to build more content into the site. I'll be writing some articles on my zombie game for the site after Gencon, at which point I'll just need a few clicks of the mouse to add the pages. And if I need to overhaul the system any more, well, I've already figured out how Wordpress generates the content from the data tables. At least at this point it seems there's not much I can't do with this if I get a mind to try.

Conclusion: Wordpress is remarkably easy to use, considering how relatively powerful it is as a content management system. I'd have expected it to be considerably more annoying.

The most difficult part of setting up this website had nothing to do with Wordpress, in fact: to enable internet payments, I needed to learn about Paypal, which I've never used myself. They have this annoying account validation procedure that is not feasible for me now that I'm going to leave for Gencon on Monday - and not having validated the account means that there is all sorts of arbitrary, undocumented limitations on how I can receive money. Apparently it's to prevent money loundering or something. So that's why I don't have an actual shopping cart system set up already, those things are clearly so dangerous that only validated accounts are allowed to run them.

A point: If there is somebody around who isn't mired in Gencon preparations, feel free to check out my site and point out the worst current flaws. I'm not looking to start a large-scale renovation at this point, though, but if you spot something drastic and easily fixable, do mention it, and I'll fix it before our flight leaves on Monday. For example, if somebody can tell me just by looking at it what I should do to make the site look a bit better in IE, I guess that'd be good.
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Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.
greyorm
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Posts: 2293

My name is Raven.


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« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2008, 10:56:56 PM »

I can take a look, if you can tell me what specifically is broken between the way it "should" display and the way it is displaying in IE. Thus far I'm not noticing anything too far out of sorts (only the positioning of the IPR banner-link).

Note that most display problems are caused by the "special" way IE interprets various CSS tags, particularly the way it handles margins and padding, which is usually not the way God (ie: the World Wide Web Consortium and its standards compliance documentation) intended, so you might wish to look into that first.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Steve Segedy
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Posts: 101


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« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2008, 05:54:18 AM »

I like it, Eero.  I made heavy use of Wordpress for the Bully Pulpit Games site, but I didn't do nearly as good a job of disguising the theme (and making it look un-blog-like) as you did.   I did build a fairly elaborate online storefront with PHP which was initially tied to Paypal, but all of that logic has been replaced by a link to IPR now.  In any case, I'd be happy to help troubleshoot your code if you like.
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Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 2775


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« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2008, 06:59:47 AM »

Raven: the difference is pretty obvious if you also look at the site in Firefox. Perhaps the most striking point of difference is that IE didn't seem to render the border elements ("border: thick grey ridge;" for the most part) at all, so all my boxes were borderless. The fonts were also somewhat weird, but that might just be the basic IE settings that differ from Firefox. I haven't been using IE for years in my everyday surfing, and I'm enough of a bastard to not really care to IE-optimize most websites, so I don't have a clue about which things I could troubleshoot and which are just how things look normally in IE.

Anyway, if the site seems basicly readable to other people as well, then it'll probably hold for Gencon. We'll have plenty of time to fiddle with it later in the fall. And now I'm also pretty proficient in messing around with Wordpress themes, if anybody needs a hand at that...
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Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.
greyorm
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Posts: 2293

My name is Raven.


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« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2008, 09:11:29 AM »

Raven: the difference is pretty obvious if you also look at the site in Firefox.

I did, which is why I asked as I only noticed the one difference. Looking again today, and with your pointer about the borders, I do see it doesn't render them. I wouldn't say the failure to render the borders is a "pretty obvious" one, as I missed it on my quick comparison last night. It won't break your site, and the sections are clearly defined without the borders. Still, I can poke around your CSS and see why the borders aren't coming up in IE, and a couple other minor things I noticed. (But, yeah, I share your disgust and non-concern with optimizing for the shit-tasticness that is IE.)
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
iago
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Posts: 863


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« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2008, 09:54:52 AM »

Just as an additional datapoint, Evil Hat's website is entirely Wordpress: http://www.evilhat.com/

The alterations I made to it are pretty minimal.
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Kerin
Member

Posts: 4


« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2008, 08:39:50 PM »

Personally, my site runs on CMS Made Simple (http://www.cmsmadesimple.org/) after having several shouting-matches with my awful Fantastico'd wordpress.  I've managed to get it looking quite lovely - you'll forgive me for not linking to it yet, as I'm quite a ways from being ready to advertise, but if anyone's really curious PM me and I will demonstrate.
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