Replacing WordPress with a free website template

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In my ongoing online re-organization work, one of many projects is to reduce the number of domains and minor websites I manage in order to use more time and energy on a few high-priority websites. Several of my sites are non-public and used only for specific purposes, such as developing and testing free WordPress themes or showcase a custom template, theme or marketing idea for a client. It is useful to have a separate development site for WordPress themes, but impractical to have six such sites because of all the extra maintenance work it takes to keep the sites up to date.

I also have a couple of small and public sites that don’t have any actual purpose. One such site was andreasviklund.se where I made an attempt at writing a Swedish blog some time ago, only to give up on that plan after a few days. Instead, I ended up using the site to promote a couple of Swedish WordPress themes and a free MP3 album with 12 short and instrumental songs that could be used as ringtones on mobile phones.

My .se site had about 50 visitors per day in average over the last 6 months, despite the lack of updates. The themes (which are hosted by the official Swedish WordPress portal WP-Support.se) were downloaded in 1.800 copies in the same period, while the ringtones were downloaded in approximately 7.000 copies. Those are actually surprisingly high numbers. But compared to the stats of this website and the amount of maintenance that every WordPress-based website needs over time, it was a lot of work for a very limited effect.

With the Swedish blog idea abandoned, the Swedish themes hosted successfully by WP-Support and the ringtones soon being included in a big music collection I am planning to release, I could not come up with any good reason to keep the WordPress site online. I decided to take it down and replace it with a single template-based website with contact information and links to my high-priority websites. I decided to go with my andreas07 template.

Setting up the template site

The process was really simple. I used andreas07 in its original form, changed the language to Swedish, removed everything that I wouldn’t need (including the navigation menu) and added my own content. I also changed the default link color from red to blue, and added a photo in the left sidebar. It took me only 10 minutes to create the page from the template. I know it doesn’t look very pretty, but it will definitely do the job for now. I can always improve the design at some later point.

Adjusting the new site to work with the history of the old site took a little bit longer since I wanted to do it in a proper way. Before I deleted the WordPress site, I made sure to copy the generated XML sitemap. I created a custom .htaccess file where I made manual 301 redirects for the URLs in the sitemap to make sure that people who try to reach the deleted pages of the WordPress site are automatically redirected to index.html instead of seeing an error message. I also created a separate “Error 404″ file which I made into the default 404 document in the .htaccess file. And finally I added a rewrite feature that removes the “www.” from the address if a visitor has entered it.

With the template-based site and the .htaccess adjustments ready, I uploaded the new site and tested it live. It worked as intended and validated without any errors, and after saving a last backup copy of the WordPress site I deleted it. The new andreasviklund.se is now live. Feel free to take a look and comment on my first own andreas07-based website!

The re-organization continues tonight with an upgrade of andreasviklund.com and the two Swedish humor blogs Tjuvlyssnat and Tjuvtittat to WordPress v2.7. There is still a lot of work left to do, but I’m on it and it feels very good since it has been needed for quite some time now…

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This article was written by Andreas Viklund

Web designer, writer and the creative engine behind this website. Author of most of the free website templates, along with some of the WordPress themes.

13 comments:

Rian | Thinning Hair WomenMarch 21, 2011 at 16:34Reply

Hi andreas

I just curious about your website, How can you make your website get PR9
could you share some of the tricks?

I believe it would help your reader including me.

Andreas ViklundApril 5, 2011 at 00:54Reply

Hi Rian! I have never had a high PR as a target, and I am not in any way any SEO expert so I don’t have any actual tricks to share. The general advices I can give based on my own philosophy and experience about building websites are pretty much just common sense:

I do my best to keep a good code quality, to make sure that the website works well in all browsers (including on mobile devices and in old and text-based browsers) and that the site is accessible and well-structured. I follow the web standards (previously XHTML 1.0 Strict and CSS2, today HTML5 and CSS3) and the Google guidelines. I don’t have any sponsored text links on the site, and I have never paid for links or any other kind of advertising for this site. I don’t use any SEO plugin and I do not have any strategy for keywords or internal link structure. I have also never used any suspicious tricks to affect the search engines. Instead, I try to create material that is useful to as many website builders as possible – and to my great happiness my website templates (and themes based on them) are used on millions of websites all over the world – many of which are giving me credit for the template designs.

I appreciate the fact that Google considers this site to be worth a high PR, and it is inspiring to know that andreasviklund.com is the first (and as far as I know also the only) website in Scandinavia to get a PR9. But as said, PR has never been a target. My ambition is to help people build better websites and get their voices heard, and getting to do that for a living is truly a blessing.

KristianDecember 15, 2012 at 14:05Reply

Thanks for the explanation. I know that the tips that you mentioned above are basics but believe it or not I’m still not aware with some of them.

Also, I think the last line is the nail there and its refreshing to see and hear that websites that deserve it are getting rewarded by search engines. Keep it up!

Pak JenggotNovember 24, 2011 at 03:35Reply

That’s why I love andreasviklund.com.
Great info for me.

harga laptopDecember 9, 2011 at 04:26Reply

i has checked the andreas07 template ……. wow it’s really great template., it’s clean and simple. two thumbs up and always keep share !!

Regards

AnomericFebruary 2, 2012 at 08:14Reply

yes do the best QUALITY,,,and then you’ll get it..
two thumbs up for you, Andreas Viklund…

home inspirationsFebruary 4, 2012 at 04:22Reply

You are truly dedicated. Make the web not for commercial purposes, but in order to help others.
god job bro ^_^b

I asked your permission to download your wordpress theme :)

Tania LianaFebruary 10, 2012 at 18:21Reply

That’s why I love andreasviklund.com.
Great info for me.
yes do the best QUALITY,,,and then you’ll get it..
two thumbs up for you, Andreas Viklund…

Astrid – productos OnlineApril 4, 2012 at 22:34Reply

Hi friend, would like to know the tricks you use to make your website this way, it’s very nice of you, it’s really great template., it’s clean and simple. two thumbs up and always keep share !!

suneAugust 27, 2012 at 00:02Reply

nice job, definetly something to take a closer look at, and have in mind for projects in the future

Laptop MurahOctober 29, 2012 at 12:02Reply

I think the template looks very nice, Love it so much

Darlene I.September 6, 2013 at 18:06Reply

Hi Andrea

9 of your web page templates were included in Style Master. I had previously created with Front Page. Don’t laugh. Of course they were all clunkers but I went to codecademy.com and was taught the basics of xhtml/css, so now I am a Jr. and truly appreciate what you have offered everyone. My main web site was initially for beginners like myself, who had no formal training and didn’t know where to start on using the marvelous advent of the Internet. Nothing particularly original excepting the content. Between the bumps, false starts and re-starting the website has gradually evolved for budding webmasters too, as well as my own experience was bent that way. This comment is to let you know I intend featuring your templates in that website so others can gain the benefit of your generous gift of website templates. Thank you from all of us.

AndreasSeptember 10, 2013 at 08:23Reply

Thank you for sharing your story! I’m happy to hear that you have found my work useful, that is what it was created for. Feel free to post the link, I’d love to see the site. And for a number of years, I used Front Page as well. I found it to be a great tool at the time (2000-2003), making it easy to build and maintain websites. But when I discovered the world of CSS and the W3 web standards, I realized that it was easier to learn the languages correctly by writing the code by hand. Style Master is still a great tool, although personally I still prefer to work in code mode.

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