2012 in review, the year of WordPress enlightenment.

I’m sitting here this New year’s day thinking how fast this year flew by, and how everything started so long ago… so for my first post of 2013, I decided to write a little about what went on this past year.

All site owners have their niche, for me, it’s Christmas. I’m a full time Christmas Webmaster. I built my first Christmas website back in 1999, and eventually it grew into a network of over 20 sites that keep me busy year round. (And all of this is the the result of a bored housewife, left alone with the internet, but that’s for another post… )

A couple of years ago I converted a few of my bigger static sites over to WordPress, simply to lighten my work load. But it wasn’t until this past year that I completely fell in love with all things WordPress.
I can sum up why in one word: versatility. Or should that be two words? Infinite versatility.
Not only has it made maintaining my own network of sites 1000% easier, working with WordPress has added a new level of productivity, which results in happier clients. And honestly, the geek girl in me loves playing around with it 😉

It’s fair to say that 2012 was the year of WordPress enlightenment for me.

My personal accomplishments:

IMAG0332I converted this site to WordPress and have somewhat embraced the concept of blogging – it’s a long story… a long, boring one, as I’ve been told.
I designed, wrote and released my first WordPress plugin!
I released a second plugin!
I completed an entire WordPress theme from scratch* (*see also: failures)

While these things were just for fun, it was a big deal to me and has been an invaluable learning experience. You really can do ANYTHING you set your mind to… if you can focus.

Other worthy mentions…

I broke the 12,000 post mark at my Christmas forums… that’s a whole lotta Talking Christmas, let me tell ya! =D

I was interviewed for an article about Christmas events for USA Today!

My failures, and what I learned from them.

I learned some things the hard way this year…

~ My Christmas theme project got completed but I failed to submit it in time for theme review. It seems to take about 3 days per theme, and there were like 32 ahead of me by the time I decided to submit it in late November. So, what I learned was this:
If you pour your heart and soul into a seasonal theme project, don’t procrastinate! Finish it and submit it for theme review WELL in advance. By this, I mean give yourself a couple of months to fix things and re-submit, in the event that you don’t get approved!

~ Reaching out to bloggers can sometimes be unpleasant – I was insulted by a self proclaimed “a list” blogger for being boring, and trying to reach out to someone “above my level”… and a host of other rantings. ;( What really sucked was that it was the first time I had ever written a blogger to say hello! I was just saying “I can relate” and asked for NOTHING. So it stung to say the least. (Since then, I’ve met some awesome nice bloggers who made me forget all about the one not so nice one!)
What I learned: some people just want to talk, and could care less to listen. If you reach out and are sincere, don’t let the negative meanies get you down. Develop yourself a thick skin!

~ I had to fire a client, and it was just awful. But the thing is, I had a feeling from our very first conversation that this guy might be difficult.
So, what I learned is this: Since taking on a new web site project requires working closely with your clients, if there are obvious communication problems from day one (or more like a serious clash in personalities), it probably isn’t going to work out. Trust your gut instinct and be selective in taking on new clients, it’s ok to say no. Save your sanity.

IMAG0321What else? Other things I figured out…

Coffee is pretty much my best friend.

I love Twitter. I follow all my favorite sites, plugin and theme developers, and everyday sift through mountains of useful links… it’s addicting.

I don’t like facebook. At all.

I realized that when in doubt, don’t freak out.

Think simple. Check for the latest version release, and update!

Most importantly, I realized that you don’t have to be a great writer, just write about what you love.

What I plan to change in 2013

Since my weekday mornings are spent answering emails, filling and shipping orders (depending on the season), making and drinking coffee, followed by tweeting, reading tutorials or browsing my favorite sites, or even sometimes working on a personal project to get myself ‘in the mood’ and other goofing off in general, I seem to get more dev work for clients done in the evenings and weekends than I ever do on weekdays.

This year, I hope to find a way to stay more focused, so that maybe I can have more time to myself.

Staying organized and keeping on top of my paperwork is another area that needs work… baby steps.

Another thing I need to do less of is watch netflix.

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