Nick Samuel

Welcome to my new website

Hello World etc.

I’m not a prolific blogger so don’t expect loads of posts in the future, however I had to write at least one to coincide with putting my new website live.

This blog post will give a quick overview of my site, the setup, how i built it etc.

Enjoy!

Overview

Domain

I actually only registered this domain back in around 2012 or 2013, and in hindsight I was very fortunate to get it at all.

There’s this Australian property bloke who owns all the nicholassamuel.com I think and then there’s this reasonably successfully composer Nick Samuel who also has his own site (and IMDB profile).

I always knew I’d build a site with it someday but I never really found that intrinsic motivation.

Until now when I fancied proving to myself I could build a site.

EDIT: I double checked and realised I actually have .co.uk as well. Fortunate there!

Background

Even with my limited Web Development experience I am now slightly beyond purchasing a premium theme and configuring it.

Don’t get me wrong there’s nothing wrong if you do this, and it’s truly amazing how accessible WordPress has made building websites.

It’s just for me, I’d personally feel like a bit of phoney as a “Technical SEO” if I couldn’t code a basic site and if the end product made over 150 requests and loaded in 10 seconds…

Design

So the original plan was actually to purchase some raw HTML from Themeforest, and instead dice that up into a WordPress theme.

This would then allow me to oversee the quality control aspects and ensure it’s as lean as possible.

However, the HTML I purchased had over 10,000 lines of CSS and relied on a lot of jQuery and classic Bootstrap elements.

Nick's original themeforest plan

So using the files as a starting point I said “fuck it”, recreated the main sidebar navigation and then designed every other element as I went using CSS.

I always wanted a dark theme, and green has always been my colour so the main accent was an obvious choice.

The rest is basically a homage to text editors such as Sublime.

Build

I know my way around WordPress having been involved in quite a few sites before, and it didn’t take long to add several template files after starting with the mandatory style.css and index.php.

So I built what I like to call a “desktop first” version of the site and then enlisted the help of my brother, Will, to turn the site into a fully responsive theme (shout out to Flexbox!).

Originally I was super proud as the site was pretty much 90% me, 10% Will but by the time he helped correct a lot of my mistakes and make it mobile friendly, the end product is probably much closer to 75% me and 25% Will.

Still, I’m proud of what I’ve built in about a week, and with his help, I’ve definitely learnt a ton more than I would have done by myself.

Hosting

Digital Ocean + CloudFlare <3

Plugins

Not that exciting but pretty much my tried and tested setup:

  1. Advanced Custom Fields Pro
  2. Classic Editor
  3. Gravity Forms
  4. SendGrid
  5. WP Fastest Cache
  6. Yoast
  7. Query Monitor (Enabled as and when needed!)