Disclaimer: NONE of the links here are affiliate links. They are just, y’ know, plain links. I’m writing based on my experiences setting up this site, and not promoting or putting down anyone’s services.
There are many awesome things that one can do with the SiteOrigin page builder bundled with the Sydney theme, and NYC Tech Club even did a full-length video on how to set up a business website using Sydney theme and SiteOrigin from scratch (check the link here). But since I already paid $$ for Visual Composer + Ultimate Addons, might as well make full use of it right? So I deactivated SiteOrigin and stuck with VC + UA instead.
In case you are wondering, why don’t I use both? Well I tried, but it seems that if you choose SiteOrigin in the middle of creating a page with VC, it will ask you if you want to import the settings to SiteOrigin. I suppose this means that the user can choose to work with only one page builder at a time. Okie, so VC it is.
I know I should have watched videos and read up on documentation before doing anything, but like a kid getting her hands on with a new toy, I couldn’t be bothered to read the instructions before trying out. But one thing I did was to import the demo content of the theme, so that I can refer to how true professionals created their templates. Even if they are built with SiteOrigin, ha ha.
To do so, I went to Plugins and installed the Sydney Toolbox, which is only meant to work with this theme. Awesome, now I got the sample pages to refer to.
Then I planned out my site, branching out sub-menus and their content. This way, I roughly know how many pages and sub-pages I will need to have and the content each page should have.
Next up is the creation of the template. How do I want my site to look like? This is where I got stumped. I had a rough idea of what it should be but when faced with a blank page, my brain kind of froze as well. Sooooo many options in VC and UA, what elements should I use, how should i style them? Where should I put my writing, my pictures? What do I want for the sliders, or do I not want them at all? And widgets? What are widgets? Urgh I must have lost a fair bit of hair trying to figure those things out.
After a whole bunch of trial and error, I wasn’t going anywhere. My landing page was a blank.
Then I thought, why not just do up some text? These are going to be the content since this page is not going to be a showcase of glossy, retina-friendly pictures. It is hard to even find a high-definition picture of Brigitte from 20 years ago anyway. After I put in the content, I can style the page a little bit to look like what I want it to be.
So I decided to have some links to other pages based on the site plan that I have written earlier. That shall be the main page. Then I started some text on the sub-pages, like About this Site, Disclaimer, About Brigitte, Her Movies etc without going into detail. Ahhhh, I see my site being fleshed out now, even though the content is empty.
Next I decided to style my main page…hold it. I decided I want to have my readers come to a video landing page, because this is what it is about – a movie database. So I decided to do a mash-up of Brigitte Lin’s representative work, put them into a clip and set it into the background. But I didn’t have a video editor that allowed me to edit frame by frame (no, Windows Movie Maker doesn’t cut it, neither does YouTube). So after trying out a few free-to-try editors, I decided to go with Wondershare Filmora. The price matches my expectations and the user interface is friendly enough for a beginner. I tried Lightworks but it’s a bit too complicated for me. @_@
So I edited a clip and put it up to YouTube, then added the link to my main page, set it as full width, put an overlay and voila~ it’s done (it’s a 7-minute video that took me 3 days to properly edit, you can watch it here, no background music). My front page doesn’t display well on a mobile screen but…I would rather people viewed it on a tablet or a laptop/ desktop instead.
Now, Landing page >> Main Page.
The Main Page shall not be wordy, I decided. It should provide links to the other parts of this site. So creating the Main Page did not take up too much time.
One more thing to do though, is to set the blog page and the main page apart. This can be achieved by going to the Settings option >> Reading and then selecting Front Page Displays : A Static Page. Then you can tell WordPress which is going to be your front page and which is going to be your blog page, otherwise by default your blog page will be displayed.
Main page…done. Next up I get to create the content for my individual pages! And when it’s all done, my site will finally be ready. Now let me reach for a cup of coffee and summarize my lazybum steps:
- Imported the demo content of the theme for reference. For some, it will be an .xml file to upload; for Sydney theme, they have a plugin to install.
- Plan out the structure of my site.
- Create pages with headers and a bit of content to say what is going to be put where.
- Purchased a video editor, compiled a clip and put to YouTube.
- Set the clip as a full-screen video on my Front Page.
- Created a Front Page and Blog Page, and set my Front Page to a static page. There I indicated which is my front page and which is my blog page.
Seems good for now. Next up, using Visual Composer to actually create content. Ta ta for now.