At the end of February, David Bradley invited me back to speak his class at Central Piedmont Community College about WordPress. This was the second year in a row that I’ve spoken for his class.
This time David specifically asked me to talk a little bit about page layouts and WordPress. It’s kind of an open ended talk in general, but I really enjoy these, as the students are typically new to WordPress and sometimes writing and publishing on the web all together.
Their questions always help me look at things with that fresh perspective that sometimes rekindles my own ‘knowledge’ about WordPress, how the web works, and how someone might use it to good advantage.
So a few days before the talk, I dove into the concept of how to work with page layouts in WordPress. I’ve covered Magazine themes, and css options and many other approaches quite a bit recently. I wanted to focus on what a person that was new to WordPress might be able to use. I imagined a person somewhat unfamiliar with html and css. I suspected that they probably would not want to spend much if any money on a premium theme with lots of bells and whistles. So I tended to focus on what could be done with plugins and with relatively free or cheap desktop tools.
This brought up initially my old friend Windows Live Writer and it’s offspring Microsoft Word Blog Posts. The easiest way to adjust layouts within a page or post is to utilize Windows Live Writer or go into Microsoft Word (2003-2013 not sure about 365) to create a Blog Post. Once there it is very easy to add tables, add or manipulate images and more then click the Publish button and send the entire work (with valid code I might add) straight to your WordPress site.
I also covered a number of plugins and this is where I found some interesting new techniques that I wasn’t even aware of. The layout of content using JQuery plugins in WordPress has become pretty amazing. There are many techniques being coded all over in html and a few are making their way into the WordPress Plugin repository making it super simple to make amazing (and sometimes responsive) layouts far beyond the capability of CSS.
I’d highly encourage checking some of the plugins out. I’ve capture their links in the presentation slides below. If you care to listen to the talk (an informal talk with lots of questions and answers) it is available below in MP3 form. Next year, I’ll make a point of capturing things in video.