Frequently Asked Questions
Interested in GG2WD, but need some answers first? Below are some of the Qs we get on a regular basis – but if you don’t see your answer here, please feel free to email us with whatever’s on your mind! We’re happy to talk to you about your specific website or blog situation (or lack thereof!) and to help you figure out if you’re the right fit for the course.
What exactly do you mean when you say this is a “course”?
Great question! The Girl’s Guide to Web Design (GG2WD for short) takes the form of a private website with 8 video “chapters” tucked away inside it. When you purchase the course, you’ll get your own username and password that will let you log into the site and access the videos and worksheets that make up each chapter. You can buy the course anytime, and you can work through the material at your own pace. There is no live component to the course, so it’s simple as can be to fit your learning into your schedule and lifestyle.
Are there any additional “supplies” I’ll need to plan on buying?
To take full advantage of the course, you’ll need:
- A domain (I teach you how to get this set up): cost – FREE when you sign up with my recommended web host
- A web hosting account (I teach you how to set this up, too): cost – $4.95-$6.95 a month, depending on which package you choose
- The Thesis framework for WordPress (cost: $87)
You won’t need to buy any fancy software (such as Photoshop); instead, I teach you how to do graphic design for free using a great online image editing program called Pixlr.
The only other thing you might end up buying is some images for use on your site, if you choose to buy them instead of making them or sourcing them from the various free sites I refer you to.
I see that The Girl’s Guide to Web Design focuses on designing and coding sites based on the Thesis theme for WordPress. What’s so great about Thesis? What if I want to use something else?
So glad you asked! The short answer is that unlike virtually every other platform or theme for building sites and blogs, Thesis won’t put a damper on your creativity. Yep – there are literally NO limitations to what you can do with a site or blog’s design, layout, and look and feel when you use Thesis. Can you imagine how it would feel to dream up a cool idea for a blog or site (something you’re really chomping at the bit about) and not have to worry about whether it will be impossible to do on the site or blog you’re designing? How about how it would feel to know that Thesis is set up in a such a way that it WANTS you to go hog-wild and turn it into your own personal masterpiece? That’s what it’s like to work with Thesis – and that’s why I use it for every single site and blog I design for my clients at my web design fimr, Better Than Chocolate Web Design.
In a nutshell, Thesis offers you:
- Ultimate flexibility to take ideas out of your head and make them a reality on the computer screen.
- Built-in search engine optimization features that make it super easy for you to get your sites and blogs ranking well in Google in no time.
- Frequent theme updates, which means a) heightened security for the blogs and sites you build and b) awesome new features released every few months to help you make your sites look, function, and attract visitors/customers even better.
- A super active community support forum where you can tap into the collective genius of the massive Thesis community and their dedicated support reps (although of course, you’re more than welcome to use our private Facebook support group to get help from the Girl’s Guide student support gurus!).
Once you try Thesis, you’ll be singing its praises from the rooftops. I’m serious!
I heard that Thesis has recently come out with a new version of their framework – AKA Thesis 2.0. Which one should I be learning in order to get the most bang for my buck and get a site I truly love?
Thesis 1.8.5 and Thesis 2.0 are two very different animals, and I personally believe that for beginners, learning on Thesis 1.8.5 is 100% the way to go.
Thesis 2.0 is very cool indeed, but it’s tough to wrap your head around unless you already have experience with HTML and CSS. Luckily, 1.8.5 is the perfect starting point for getting truly empowered on the web – and that’s exactly what I teach you to use in The Girl’s Guide to Web Design.
That being said, I’ve also created 10 hours of how-to content on using Thesis 2.0 for you, which is included for free in the course.
You get access to both themes (1.8.5 and 2.0) when you purchase your Thesis license, so you can always create your first site on Thesis 1.8.5, and then delve into 2.0 for a future site, if you’re feeling adventurous.
DIYThemes (the company that makes Thesis) is going to be supporting (and even continuing to develop) 1.8.5 for a long time to come, so the bottom line, in my opinion, is that you’re wise to learn to create sites based on Thesis 1.8.5 with the help of GG2WD, and then wait ’til you feel a little more comfortable with HTML and CSS until you give 2.0 a whirl.
I already have a site, and I can’t afford to take it offline for a few weeks while I’m working on my new, Thesis-based site. How do I build a new site while keeping the old one accessible, so that I can take my time creating an amazing new design?
I know this can be a tough one to wrap your head around, but I’ll walk you through the process in the course. The basic idea is that you will install WordPress into a hidden location so that you can go nuts creating and coding your new site or blog – unbeknownst to anyone but you! Meanwhile, your original site will keep humming along, and when you’re ready to “flip the switch” to show your new site to the world, you can do so in about ten minutes.
I tell you exactly how to do all this in “Chapter 0″ of the course – which you can get for free right now! To grab your copy of Chapter 0, sign up to the Girl’s Guide to Web Design email list here. Within a couple of minutes, you’ll get an email asking you to confirm your subscription, and as soon as you click the link in that email, you’ll instantly get instructions on how to download Chapter 0.
Can men join the course?
Sure! Our marketing may be geared towards women, but the content of the course is entirely unisex. We’ve had quite a few gents join us since we launched in 2011.
How will we be using WordPress to each make a totally different-looking blog or site? Wouldn’t we need to choose a theme that lots of other people are using?
VERY good question. When most people start up a WordPress blog or site, they start by choosing a “theme”. There are thousands of WordPress themes available, but if you consider yourself to be a design-y kind of person, you’re unlikely to find one that you truly love *everything* about. Plus, other people would have your theme. Definitely NOT unique.
So instead of going that route, this course teaches you to start with a WordPress framework – namely, Thesis. Thesis is like a blank canvas for your blog or site, which you can dress up however you like. To give you an idea of how flexible it is (unlike a traditional WordPress “theme”), all the sites and blogs I’ve designed have been made using Thesis (you can check them out over on my portfolio page).
As you can see, they all look totally different. That’s because Thesis was created to facilitate you letting your imagination go wild. Pretty fun, huh?
Plus, I truly believe that Thesis is the very best foundation for WordPress websites. It’s got rock-solid code and amazing SEO features – so you won’t have to struggle with getting a high-ranking site.
Can I use this course to design and customize a site that is not a self-hosted WordPress site?
You’ll be able to use parts of the course (like the graphics, HTML, and CSS training), but a large chunk of it won’t apply to you. So I wouldn’t recommend taking this course unless you’re prepared to switch to WordPress and Thesis. See the answers to the questions above this one to find out why that’s such a good idea for you.
Can I use this course to learn how to tweak a WordPress theme or customize a WordPress framework other than Thesis?
Yes and no. Many of our students have used the CSS knowledge they learn in the course to customize themes other than Thesis (if, for example, they have a client who insists on using a different theme for her site). But the course really does focus on Thesis, so if you want to learn how to create a site using a different WordPress framework, there will be a lot of material in the course that doesn’t apply to you.
Does this course teach me how to make an ecommerce site or online shop?
Not specifically. But it will teach you the skills you need to customize the look of any website – including the look of an e-commerce plugin, should you choose to install one on your WordPress site. By the time you graduate, you’ll also understand how to add PayPal buttons to your site, so you can certainly sell products and services that way, too.
Does this course teach me PHP?
No, it doesn’t. It will teach you HTML and CSS, however – and that’s really all you need to get a gorgeous site. There will be the odd glimpse at a bit of PHP code, but nothing you can’t handle.
How can this course apply to people who want to design a blog AND people who want to design a site?
For the purposes of this course, there is no difference. Self-hosted WordPress (and the Thesis framework) are the perfect solution for a web presence, whether you want a “blog” or a “website”. There is almost zero difference between the two. The course will teach you how to set up things in a bloggy way if you want a blog, or in a site-y way if you want a “site”. And with WordPress and Thesis, you can even switch back and forth between the two at will!
Do I need to already have a web hosting account and have WordPress installed to take this course?
Nope! We’ll cover that in Chapter 0 of the course. Chapter 0 will walk you through getting set up with a great web host, installing WordPress in just a few clicks, and learning your way around the WordPress system.
Do I need to already know my way around WordPress to take this course?
The focus of this course is on the design and customization of your WordPress site or blog, so it’s not technically a “learn to use WordPress” course. But total WordPress newbies are more than welcome to enroll in the course. You’ll find that you learn your way around WordPress extremely fast with the way I teach things.
Do I need to have and know how to use Photoshop, Illustrator or another image editing/creation program?
No, you don’t. I’ll show you how to use some free, web-based tools to create graphics for the sites and blogs you’re designing. You’ll be amazed at what you can do with these free programs, but if you want to take things to the next level, you’ll likely want to purchase Photoshop someday.
Will I be able to use the free graphic design tools that you recommend to create a full-blown logo for my blog or site?
You’ll definitely be able to create something cute (combining text and other graphics you source from the web), but not necessarily a logo that requires you to draw complex shapes and stuff like that. For that, you would need to know how to use Illustrator.
Will I need to pay for my own Thesis license?
Yes. DIYThemes (the makers of Thesis) offer a few different license options. When you buy the personal license (the one that costs $87), you are buying the right to use Thesis on one of your own sites. Many WordPress themes are free, but premium themes like Thesis are not – because you can do so much with them and because they have support and frequent updates.
The reason I have you buy your own personal license (as opposed to buying it through me) is that it gives you access to the Thesis support forum, which is immeasurably useful when you are trying to figure out how to do something with Thesis.
What if I already own a Thesis license?
If you already own a copy of Thesis (AKA a Thesis license), then you don’t need to buy another one for use with the course – as long as you abide by the DIYThemes regulations for the type of license you purchased.
I’m a graphic designer. Will this course be useful to me?
Absolutely! In fact, this is the perfect course for you if you’re a graphic designer who designs for the web, but doesn’t know how to take the graphics and code them in so that they form a fully functional website. There will be one chapter that’s unnecessary for you, but you can just skip it and spend that week working on amazing graphics in Illustrator, Photoshop, or whatever you prefer to use.
But I’m a total beginner! How do I know if I’m “technical” enough to take this course?
GG2WD is for women of ALL levels of experience. Hundreds of students who have taken this course have known NOTHING about WordPress, or web design, or HTML, or CSS when they embarked on this adventure with us. Everything is taught assuming that you know nothing – and my goal is to make learning this stuff as non-intimidating and fun as possible.
With that said, though, you do need to have a certain level of comfort with computers and the web in general.
What do I mean by this? Well, we’ve put together a little test that will help you figure it out. It should take you about 5 minutes to complete, and when you’re done, you’ll know with 100% certainty whether you’re “techy” enough to master the skills I teach in The Girl’s Guide to Web Design.
Your test starts below!
1) Create a folder on your computer’s desktop and name the folder “Girl’s Guide Test”.
2) Copy the following paragraph by highlighting it with your mouse and htting CTRL+C on your keyboard:
Cupcake ipsum dolor sit amet pie cake sesame snaps. Sugar plum sugar plum macaroon pudding toffee. Gingerbread liquorice marzipan tootsie roll jelly jelly beans wypas jelly-o pie. Applicake ice cream chocolate cake sugar plum donut. Soufflé sugar plum pudding marzipan macaroon. Tart chocolate pastry gummies. Chocolate jelly toffee soufflé bonbon. Lemon drops caramels sesame snaps candy wafer faworki. Toffee dessert pastry.
3) Now open up NotePad (if you’re on a PC) or TextEdit (if you’re on a Mac) on your computer. These are basic text editor programs that come installed on every PC an Mac, so you should definitely have it on your computer.
4) Paste the paragraph you just copied in to your NotePad or TextEdit document and save the file inside your “Girl’s Guide Test” folder on your desktop, giving the file the name “Paragraph”.
5) Download/save this graphic to your “Girl’s Guide Test” folder on your desktop:
6) Go into your “Girl’s Guide Test” folder and zip/compress the two files inside it (the “Paragraph” text file and the graphic) into a zip file. Name this zip file “ZippedUp”. Save the zip file in some other folder/location on your computer.
7) Go into your usual email program and compose an email to yourself. Attach the zip file you just created to the email, and send the email.
Now, for your test results:
If you felt comfortable completing those steps, then your computer knowledge is.definitely good enough to join us in The Girl’s Guide to Web Design! Click here to sign up and join us now!
If you had a bit of trouble completing the steps, and/or if you had to Google things like “how to zip a file on a Mac”, your computer skills are probably good enough to join us in The Girl’s Guide to Web Design! The key will be that you be honest with yourself that you may have to look up other how-tos as you move through the course. If you’re fine with that, then we salute your chutzpah, and we would love to have you on board! Click here to sign up and join us now!
If you found those steps to be a real struggle, you may want to work on beefing up your general computer skills before you dive in to learning web design with us. We don’t want anyone to take the course and end up feeling frustrated, so we feel it’s important to be honest with you about this!