Develop your TTG WordPress site locally first
It’s always easiest when you can develop a WordPress site locally so you can work out the design, assign and populate widgets, create menus, and squash bugs before anyone else can see it. To do this, you need to be running a virtual server on your computer. This is pretty easy to do using MAMP (Mac) WAMP (Windows), or XAMPP (Mac, Windows, Linux). But you’ll also need to set up databases and install WordPress. Here are tutorials for installing a database and WordPress using WAMP and using MAMP.
A nice all in one solution is Desktop Server by ServerPress. Desktop Server will install a virtual server based on XAMPP, install WordPress, and set up your database, all with just a couple of clicks. If you develop a lot of sites, or if you want to create variations of your site, you can even create a “blueprint” that will install WordPress with the plug-ins, themes, etc. that you normally use.
There are two flavors of Desktop Server, Desktop Server Limited, which is free, and Desktop Server Premium, which is $99. The Premium version has lots of added features, but the one I really like is Direct Deployment. With Direct Deployment I can develop a site, and then with a few clicks, deploy that site, all ready to go live, to the server.
That’s exactly what I recently did when I developed my Workshops site. The Workshops area of my website is now a separate WordPress based website. Previously, my workshops were listed on my website in a sub-folder named “workshops.” The Workshops folder was actually a TTG Autoindex that contained Galleries and Stage pages. These galleries and Stage pages were the individual workshop pages. I also had separate Stage pages for information, sign ups, policies, etc. So lots of pages.
I wanted my new Workshops site to be a TTG Theme for WordPress based site in a sub-domain with the url workshops.barbeephoto.com (which I can later also target with a domain name if I wish to). But my current workshops offerings were already in the workshops/ folder and I didn’t want to delete or even move all that until the new site was ready. So I developed the new site locally using Desktop Server.
It was so much easier and faster working this way. When I made design tweaks I simply exported the theme from Lightroom to the wp-content/themes/ folder on my pc where Desktop Server has installed the site. This saved a lot of time from having to wait for the theme to upload to the server. I even set up phplugins for this development stage. (Before I deployed the site though, I needed to change the server path to phplugins in the Site Info area of Theme for WordPress and then export the theme again.)
Once I had the site ready to go I renamed my workshops/ folder to workshops_old/ and changed the navigation link in my main site. This was easy to do because I manage my navigation with phplugins. I did all this so that I’d still have all my old workshop pages accessible while the new site was being deployed.
Now I just needed to create the workshops sub-domain, which is easy to do from my host’s CPanel. Once that was done I installed WordPress into the newly created /workshops/ folder.
To directly deploy the site from Desktop Server on my PC to my web server, I needed to install a plug-in created by ServerPress that facilitates the transfer. Once installed and activated I just needed to go back to Desktop Server and go through the easy steps to deploy the website. Desktop Server then uploaded all the files and when I went to workshops.barbeephoto.com my TTG WordPress site was ready to go and ready for me to add more workshop listings.