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My WordPress Origin Story

As part of WordPress’ 20th anniversary, I’ve been reflecting on how I got “into” WordPress.

It all started with Joomla! Of course. ????

Rewind to late 2007 / early 2008, and my fledgling web design business had scored a deal with a local magazine publisher to create three websites to complement their printed mags.

I was skilling up in two promising CMS’, Joomla 1.5 and Sliverstripe.

I decided to go all-in with Joomla 1.5 and spend a few weeks creating three sites to accompany each magazine, complete with advertising banners, offers, reader submissions and everything you would expect from a glossy magazine translated to the online world.

It was a hard slog.

If you’ve ever used an early version of Joomla, let’s say the user interface was challenging.

For example, to set a site’s meta title, you update an input field in the first item of the primary navigation element.  

Of course! So obvious!

I completed the three sites and now had to train the editorial staff how to create blog posts and update and maintain the sites.

Monkey Nooooo

It went about as well as you’d expect.

It took me weeks to train the staff how to use Joomla. It took more training time than it did to create the sites in the first place.

During the editorial staff training, a friend of a friend put their personal trainer boyfriend in contact with me. He needed a website and had all the photos and graphics ready, but the Joomla web dev he’d hired did a runner mid-project.

I didn’t want to repeat any harrowing Joomla training, so a quick Google showed that WordPress was gathering favourable reviews.

I agreed to the project and created the website quickly – it was a basic info site with a blog area. I published the site live, gave the client an admin login and told him I’d write up some training documentation in the next week after I’d finished the in-person editorial staff training.

When I returned to the personal trainer the following week, he was already creating blog posts, adding a few new pages and updating some menu links.

I took the Joomla Developer Documentation booklet I had printed from my desk and threw it in the bin.

Hello WordPress.

From that day, I ditched Joomla and Silverstripe (also painfully complex to administer back in 2008) and focused 100% on WordPress.

I haven’t looked back since.

What’s your WordPress origin story?

Let me know in the comments below, send me an email or share on the socials.

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