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A dozen years with WordPress

2022 March 7
by Matt

I presume that Modern Ideas was my first use of WordPress. It was more than a dozen years ago so it’s a little hazy.

Lately I have been thinking how much has changed.

Back in 2009, I installed WordPress to add a blog to my studio web site. The main site was still html and css files which I made using a text editor; I integrated WordPress using the rss feed and a snippet of code I found on the internet. WordPress was I think still mostly known as blogging software, and relatively new at all events; several months into Modern Ideas I upgraded WordPress to version 3. WordPress is now on version 5.9.1.

Things have really changed, repeatedly.

Perhaps the promo web site for my first book, Brilliant Deduction, was my second foray into WordPress and the first time I used it to build a whole web site. At that point, WordPress themes still seemed more like site designs, and I felt faintly clever for editing whatever theme I used into a substantially different look.

Over the years which followed, I found that becoming less and less possible for me as theme structures became more and more complicated. I made a child theme for my personal site. The promo sites for my second and third books are custom page templates of the main site.

My use of WordPress has really expanded a lot in the past five years or so, along with my practice and I suppose life itself in some ways. It seems almost like I start a new WordPress site every few months, and it’s certainly the only way I build web sites now.

WordPress itself has gone from a blogging platform to a web site platform to an ecosystem, really. Themes are no longer site designs, so much as site design software; multiple sites with the same theme can all look quite different just as a result of settings available with the theme, even without getting into child themes or custom css.

When I started using WordPress, I think I probably downloaded a .zip package from and placed the files on my web host using FTP. Now, installing WordPress is a built-in feature of even ho-hum web hosts, while a number provide specifically WordPress-optimized hosting service.

I have taken over administration of one client’s very complex WordPress site, and rehoused it at Dreamhost which may be the premier WordPress host.

Lately I’m working on improving performance of multiple sites which I have at a more ordinary host, and an amazing number of options exist just within the free category. Which is nice, but it’s fascinating that we have reached this point. WordPress has gotten big enough, in multiple ways, that its default performance can be kind of shit, but all kinds of patches for this exist. Being 43 years old, myself, and reliant on an assortment of interventions to sustain my own function and keep pains and creaking in check, this pattern of maturing feels familiar. “Systems are living forms… They, too, are born and die.”

Anywho, considering that a meaningful fraction of my income is now earned working with this platform, it has been quite a journey from blogging software still on version 2.

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