This blog entry is about the issues I dealt with getting this blog together.
I originally planned to use the domain name “lifespaths.ca” but the first web hosting company I selected wanted me to send them my photo because I was flagged for “fraud”. Since my photo was going to prove essentially nothing, I became suspicious that my photo might be put into a database of people’s images. Our pictures provide data to artificial intelligence engines for identifying people. One of these is the Clearview AI company. An article about Clearview AI says Canadians can learn if their picture is in the Clearview AI database but can’t get it removed. (do a search for “Canada Clearview AI” for more information) Until this sort of thing is properly regulated, I want no part of it.
To avoid sending my picture, I switched to the domain crookedpaths.ca using a different web hosting company (Web Hosting Canada). I quickly realized this domain name is much more fun because I can create subdomains like lifes.crookedpaths.ca or my.crookedpaths.ca. And as the coronavirus has made clear, life never proceeds in the straight path as we imagine it will anyways.
WordPress is the most common platform to make blogs with, mainly because it is reasonably easy to use. There are lots of tutorials available on how to install and use it which was motivating for me. With WordPress, you pick a theme for your blog which will provide the overall layout and look for your blog. You can also install plugins that expand what your blog can do, for example sell goods or have a gallery of photos. Some of the themes and plugins cost money, but many are free.
Web hosting sites have varying degrees of flexibility for trying out different WordPress themes or other platforms. With my provider, I can create new subdomains and put WordPress on one, and for example, the Joomla platform on another. I think I can only run one WordPress site at a time because WordPress uses an SQL database and my package only allows only one SQL database to be run at a time.
There are many WordPress themes out there and one can search for reviews on themes designed for specific purposes. Many themes are designed for on-line stores or other uses, so when doing searches for reviews of themes, it is worth being specific about the type of website you want to use. I searched specifically for blogging reviews to find themes that might work for me.
The first theme I tried had a great layout, but I didn’t like the colours it used. I found a beautiful set of matching colours using www.w3schools.com, and was very disappointed when I wasn’t able to replace all the colours in the theme with my chosen colours. Since this looked awful, I kept searching.
My next and so far final choice is the “Radiate” theme. I chose it because I liked its layout and it has a built-in gallery to display photos. Unfortunately, it isn’t laying out my blog posts as I expected and the gallery isn’t as I expected either (I’m suspicious the examples I was looking at were of the upgrade that you pay money for). But it is good enough and I want to get a working blog, not spend my life searching for the perfect solution.
My last challenge (up until now, anyways) is that to test my WordPress theme, I used the site name “wblog.crookedpaths.ca/wblog”. This would have been fine, except I made the mistake of putting in content once I liked what I had. So I then needed to move the blog to crookedpaths.ca, or start the website from scratch again. I got some instructions to make the move, followed them, but the move failed. I never did figure out how to make the move, thankfully my service provider made the switch for me.