Day 1: #WP20 From Blogs to Blocks

Prompt 1/20 Blog: What is your WordPress origin story? Share what you’ve already got on your profile, go into more detail, or share a new story. And if you’ve never fully filled out your profile or setup your dot-org account, now’s the time! Post your response on a WordPress website and link to it in the comments.
Entity wapuu pictured with, taken in (2022), during sample development.
CCO licensed photo by Wapuu from the WordPress Photo Directory

I explicitly created my new WordPress Community profile on 27 May 2018. Besides being able to move away from a deadname as a username, I was able to celebrate the birthday of the piece of software that has brought so much to my personal and professional life. Now I just need to get a core contributor badge again like my old one had 😅

For WordPress’ 20th anniversary I want to participate in the #WP20 From Blogs to Blocks challenge and remind myself of why I got into WordPress in the first place, and why I continue to use it.

I started learning web development in my rather forward-thinking high school, which offered a class in HTML. While CSS existed, it was very basic, and we were instead still adding styles as attributes or using presentational HTML as opposed to semantic HTML that we use today. I definitely lucked out on being able to get such an early start. While I didn’t go a traditional computer science route in college, I took several programming courses and continued to make websites for myself and friends for fun, before taking on some site projects for paying clients.

Throughout all of this, I was blogging, a lot! I didn’t think about keeping my writing on my own site, but was active on LiveJournal, and maintained some active communities there as well as just putting down thoughts in a place where others could comment on them. While I’ve regressed to not blogging on my own sites as much again, I still use writing to center myself, share what I’m learning, and clarify my thinking.

In 2008 the union of my love of writing and building websites came together when I started looking for a CMS, and was introduced to this fairly stable project that had been around for five years at that point, WordPress. I made a lot of mistakes getting started! I clearly remember using my header.php file to hand-code menus, since I didn’t realize that there existed a menu editor in the WordPress dashboard.

At this point there was a separation of pages and posts, but Custom Post Types was not yet a thing, and so while useful, WordPress wasn’t seen as a potential solution to every type of website.

My first WordPress site was a personal website where I would review NES games, with the intent to cover every game that I was able to get into my personal physical collection. I topped out at a few dozen reviews and about 120 cartridges before that ended, but my usage of WordPress did not.

Fifteen years on and I’m still using WordPress in a personal and professional capacity. I’m sure that I’ll cover more time, but for now I’ll say that it’s good to get back to the WordPress Community, and I look forward to seeing some old and new friends at WordCamp US in August!