What I've Learned This Summer

9/19/2015 10:41:00 pm

My major project is winding down. I'm a few days from being able to turn it in and I'm currently waiting for my ProWritingAid program to give me a good consistency check on my report to help me catch American spellings I wouldn't see on my own. It's been a long, uphill battle working to build a website with meaningful and helpful content while keeping in mind the whole time that it's not just a website, it's my grade, my future, my degree. No pressure.

I've spent the whole summer writing content, crying when things went wrong, jumping up and down when they finally went right, and learning that when someone asks how my project is going, they probably won't understand what I mean when I tell them the next few steps to making a part of the website happen. It has been a process. I've been in well over my head and on top of the world all at the same time. So, I've compiled a list of things I learned this summer while developing The Self-Publishing Toolbox

Here we go:

1. I learned to set up a local server. Didn't know those things existed before May. Now I can set one up in my sleep (as long as the sleep has Google for when things go [inevitably] wrong!)

2. If you've got a tech problem, someone else in the world has had that problem before too. Google it. I know a lot of people who could learn from this point. Seriously, it was VERY  rare that I asked for an outside opinion on this project because I had Google to answer all of my dumb questions for me. 

3. Sublime Text is the only text editor. Color coding my code saved my life this summer. Praise Sublime Text. 

4. SEO is a lot harder than I thought it was. It's really hard. I'm still working on it. (No, this is NOT an invitation for SEO spammers and "experts" to spam me. I will block you. You are annoying.)

5. People will follow/unfollow you on Twitter CONSTANTLY if they think you're important. That makes me so glad I didn't follow you in the first place, bro. Also, people will Tweet you book promos if they think you're important. I am a person you have never met with a website that does not promote books. Not a good marketing strategy. 

6. Free WordPress themes can be very mediocre. It took me AGES to find one I liked. I should've budgeted for a premium theme. Next time, that's probably what I'll do. 

7. Because free WordPress themes are mediocre, I had to learn way more HTML, CSS, and PHP than I thought I'd ever learn. It's like I can (kinda) read a new language now. I have a basic understanding. I will not be making my own WordPress theme any time soon but I can sure as hell edit mine with a certain level of competence. 

8. Making a website work on a flash drive is very silly but can be done. I have done it. I am also ridiculously good at moving websites from server to server at this point. Need a website moved? I can do that for you.

9. There are more tools for self-publishers than I can actually wrap my little head around. Seriously. I've spent countless hours adding tools to SPT and there are still hundreds, if not thousands, missing from the site. Whew. I've got my work cut out for me.

Anyway, I should stop procrastinating and finish this thing. Here's to the last few days of being a student! Please send chocolate and wine; I'm very tired. 

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