I have been running ActiveThought.net for a couple of months now and thought I would take a few moments to share how I built the site.
While I wanted my site to be primarily about cross-platform development with LiveCode and maybe a few other topics from time to time, the site is built with PHP / WordPress. I am, amongst other things, a WordPress developer by day it was the easiest and quickest way to build the site. Modifying everything to my needs was a relatively painless task and it has also allowed me to concentrate on some new features that are still in the pipeline.
Instead of building a theme from the ground up, I went with Gumbo by ThematoSoup. It’s a simple but great theme that is easy to work with and modify. It is light weight, responsive and performs well. Design wise it was close to what I wanted and customizing it was a breeze.
The biggest advantage of going with an off the shelf is the time-saving. And time saved can be better used elsewhere.
I also carefully selected a variety of plugins to extend WordPress. Here are the main ones.
WordPress SEO – Stats are important and an often overlooked part of any website. WordPress SEO makes most on site SEO a much simpler task. I also added Delightful Downloads and Simple URLs for managing any downloads and external links. They also provide some useful stats. Analytics 360 shows a quick snap shot of the site stats and newsletter subscriptions through MailChimp.
I am using a couple of custom post types and Advanced Custom Fields takes the pain out of adding the necessary custom fields. Gravity Forms is used for forms and I have used Redirection for handling a couple of URL redirects I needed. WooThemes Widget Areas plugin is used for custom
I am also experimenting with Cloud Flare to add a layer of protection and its CDN.