Week 3: All About That Blog

Inspect Element Banner

If Week 2 was a crash course in WordPress then Week 3 was spent at the repair shop fixing my fancy new car (and by car I mean blog).

Getting a WordPress site off the ground is quick and easy, but the work doesn’t stop there. There are settings to change, plug-ins to install, widgets to add, SEO to optimize, themes to customize, forms to add, and security to put in place. And that is only part of the list.

I spent a good portion of the week working on these types of behind the scenes improvements to my blog. That meant I also spent a lot of time learning what to do and how to do it.

That process was aided greatly by a course I found on Udemy by Andrew Williams. The course is titled WordPress for Beginners but don’t let the name fool you. Although the lessons are accessible to new users, they go in depth into everything you need to know to really maximize the set up of your WordPress site. The course helped teach me about the technical and administrative parts of WordPress that aren’t necessarily visible on the front page. I would definitely recommend this class to new or intermediate users looking to learn more about WordPress.

One of the coolest things that I learned last week was how to use the inspect tool to analyze different elements on a web page. You start by either right-clicking on a page and selecting ‘inspect’ or pressing F12. This will open up a section in your browser showing the code for the site. In the top left of that new area, you will see an icon that looks like a cursor over a square. You can find the icon marked with a red arrow in the image below.

Inspect tool example

Clicking this icon will allow you to inspect the different sections of the page. Hovering over a section with your cursor will show the type of HTML element and the size of that element in pixels. It will also highlight the code associated with that element in the inspect window. You can see what this looks like in the image below.

Inspect element details

This type of information can be useful in a variety of ways. One example from a web design perspective would be to find out the width of a <p> element in pixels so that you can insert an image above or below it with the same width.

Another interesting thing I learned was a time management method known as the Pomodoro Technique. It involves using a timer to divide your work into 25 minute intervals, known as pomodoros. I found this system to be very helpful in keeping me on task and more refreshed throughout the day. If you haven’t already read the article I would encourage you to do so and give it a try for yourself.

My entire week wasn’t spent working on my WordPress blog, although it did feel that way at times.

I continued to plug away at my JavaScript lessons here and there, but by the end of the week, I had reluctantly come to the realization that I needed to start the whole course over. I wasn’t retaining what I was learning, in large part because of the time I was spending between each lesson working on other things. At this point, I was about 75% of the way thru the module. I could have easily completed the course but I wouldn’t have actually learned anything. Having invested so many hours in working on the subject it wasn’t an easy decision to start over but I do think it was the smart choice.

The first month of my Codecademy Pro subscription is coming to an end in a few days. Rather than renew my subscription, I think I am going to instead give Code School a try for a month. I watched some of their Bootstrap lessons while working on my Tribute Page project and I preferred their video format to Codecademy’s text-based lessons. I also plan to try out Team Treehouse since our local library offers free memberships. Having strayed from my path a bit while working on this blog, I am eager to refocus learning to code.

See you back next week when the plan is to talk more programming and less blogging. Wish me luck!

Sharing is caring!

Author: Lee

Hi, my name is Lee and I am a 40-something who recently made the decision to become a self-taught programmer. This site was set up to chronicle that journey and my experiences along the way. Feel free to contact me with any comments, questions, or suggestions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 + sixteen =