How This Website Was Made.

I built the website myself using WordPress. I knew nothing about WordPress before I started and am no expert now, but I hope the following may be of some interest to others who wish to follow the same path. All links on this page open in a new browser tab.

The domain name and hosting package were obtained from 1&1 Internet. I initially started with their Basic Managed WordPress offering, then reverted after a few months to the Basic Standard (non-managed) contract as the Managed system would not allow me to clone the live website to my PC for offline development work. This allows me to control when updates are applied and to test them offline beforehand.

The design of the scrolling home page is based on an excellent video tutorial by an Australian blogger called Hogan Chua which can be found here. It is built using the Ultra theme by Themify which can be downloaded free of charge from the Youtube page just linked to (click on “Show More” in the text box underneath the video to see the link for this). Whilst not the latest version, it is a fully functional copy of a normally paid-for premium theme. Unfortunately, this version of the theme seems not to be compatible with later versions of WordPress (v4.9 and above) and I am currently unable to use this theme to update the site. I am currently considering whether to change to another (preferably free) theme which can be updated to maintain compatibility with WordPress updates.

The signature logo at the top left of the page which is also used as a watermark on images uses a font called Javacom which was downloaded from 1001fonts.com. This is free for personal use.

As usual a few plugins are used to enhance various aspects of the site; these are:

The image Galleries are displayed using the free version of Foo Gallery.

The lightbox in which selected photos from the gallery open in is a separate plugin called ARI Fancy Lightbox. I looked at several of the many lightbox plugins available and in my opinion this was the best. Initially I had a problem getting it to operate with Foo Gallery, but ARI Support was exceptional and within 24 hours came up with a solution. At this point, I was using the free version so I had not even paid for the product. On the strength of this I decided to splash out on the full version which cost all of $9. This is the only paid-for software used on the site.

A quick word about the resolution and file size of the images used on the site. With so many images to display it is important to try to optimise the size of the files. I determined that the size of the viewport used by the lightbox was 1350 pixels wide so all the images are exported from Lightroom at this resolution. I experimented with different amounts of jpeg compression and found that constraining the file size to less than 500k during the Lightroom export had no discernable effect on the displayed image quality. This is about half the file size of a full quality jpeg at that resolution.

In order to deter casual copying of images on the site, I use a simple plugin called BMT – No Right Click, which does exactly what it says and disables the right click menu on images to remove the “Save As” option. I am sure there are other ways a determined person could steal images but this at least removes the easiest and most obvious route.

The Subscribe to new Blog posts feature is done using MailPoet. I am currently using version 2 as the newly released version 3 still had a few problems, though these are currently being addressed by MailPoet Support.

The Social Media sharing links on each blog post are added by a simple plugin called Social Sharing by Danny.

I use a couple of plugins to help the site load faster: Comet Cache and Crazy Lazy.

I backup the site (excluding the core WordPress software) to my free Dropbox account using UpdraftPlus. The setup of this plugin is described in another excellent video from Hogan Chua here.

Search engine optimisation is done with the free version of Yoast, which was configured using information from here.

Tracking of visitor numbers to the website is done using Google Analytics by Monster Insights (free version).

After leaving the Managed WordPress contract, I installed the free version of the Wordfence antivirus and security plugin.

Finally, I use a plugin called Media Library Categories which helps manage the large number of images by assigning images to user defined categories in the WordPress Media Library.