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My Website Is Old Enough To Vote - Kris Howard

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My Website Is Old Enough To Vote - Kris Howard

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The Web is an industry that thrives on the new... but what about building sites that last?

In 1996, I used my newly acquired HTML skills to build a fan site for my favourite author.

Twenty years later, the site - roalddahlfans.com - is still alive and kicking.

I'll trace the development of the site over the years, which mirrors both my own career journey as a developer and the trajectory of the web as a whole.

I'll also talk about the challenges I faced during my recent 6-month project to convert the whole site - nearly 1500 pages - to WordPress, dragging it into the 21st century at last.

The Web is an industry that thrives on the new... but what about building sites that last?

In 1996, I used my newly acquired HTML skills to build a fan site for my favourite author.

Twenty years later, the site - roalddahlfans.com - is still alive and kicking.

I'll trace the development of the site over the years, which mirrors both my own career journey as a developer and the trajectory of the web as a whole.

I'll also talk about the challenges I faced during my recent 6-month project to convert the whole site - nearly 1500 pages - to WordPress, dragging it into the 21st century at last.

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My Website Is Old Enough To Vote - Kris Howard

  1. 1. My Website Can Vote The Challenges of Maintaining a 20-year-old Website
  2. 2. 20 frickin’ years
  3. 3. December 1996
  4. 4. December 1996
  5. 5. 6 months
  6. 6. 2 years
  7. 7. 3 years
  8. 8. 3 years
  9. 9. 3 years
  10. 10. 3 years
  11. 11. 4 years
  12. 12. 4.5 years
  13. 13. Meanwhile…
  14. 14. 5 years
  15. 15. 5 years
  16. 16. 5 years
  17. 17. Fast forward 14 years…
  18. 18. 19 years
  19. 19. So what to do?
  20. 20. Pros • Security - better than what I had • PHP-based • Responsive themes • Plugins! • Better admin UX - including ACL & versioning • Less friction to update
  21. 21. Cons • Security - WordPress is a big target • Learning curve • Migration effort • Ego - would using WordPress make me look like a n00b?
  22. 22. Concerns • How to organise the site? How much of the cross-referencing to automate? “This has to be a solved problem, right?” • 20 years of inbound links and PageRank to preserve • Hard-coded HTML styles in the DB to clean up
  23. 23. The Plan • Set up site on new host • Create basic site structure • Read up on security • VaultPress & Wordfence • Auto-updates • Set up child theme and create nav menu • Start migrating content
  24. 24. Migration • Start with simplest pages and sections first • Write functions where needed • Required some plugins: • Advanced Custom Fields • Add Categories to Pages • WP Gallery Custom Links…
  25. 25. More Plugins • Breadcrumbs -> Breadcrumb NavXT plugin • Calendar -> My Calendar plugin • Trivia Quizzes -> Riddle (+ plugin) • Polls -> WP-Polls plugin • Search -> Relevanssi plugin • Timeline -> ???
  26. 26. Final Steps • Migrate all old news/blog posts • Set up Adsense and Analytics • Update the theme • Set up .htaccess redirects • Change DNS to point to the new site!
  27. 27. Some numbers… • ~4500 page views/day • 28% US; 25% UK; 6% AU • 60% desktop;
 27% mobile; 13% tablet • 84% via search;
 11% direct; 4% referral;
 < 1% social • Most popular content: short stories; trivia quizzes; teacher materials
  28. 28. What’s Next • Set up SSL • Mop up broken links • Add new content • Update design once illustrations are finished • Keep an eye on stats & revenue
  29. 29. Thanks! @web_goddess Kris Howard @RoaldDahlFans http://www.roalddahlfans.com

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