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Hello WordPress builders,

I am Roberta Leone from northern Italy. Today I would love to share with you my story about how I came to know and love the WordPress platform. But first, let’s get to know about each other.

Over the last 30 years, I have been devoting most of my time as a graphic designer for the publishing industry. Ever since I started working on the first Apple computer, I’ve witnessed the growth and maturation of the early digital publishing in Italy and got the chance to cooperate with the most important publishers here, in both traditional and digital books.

This blog post by Roberta Leone is a part of our WordPress Customer Spotlight section, where DesignWall users come and share their beautiful projects as well as their valuable development experience.

I’ve also developed various skills toward writing and art directing during my working life. A few years ago, I started my own publishing house focusing on art books for kids. I’ve always looked at web technologies with some interest as I knew that they would be beneficial for promoting digital books in many ways.

It was when someone asked me to renew the site Il mondo di Pavia not long ago, that I started to take more serious in web development and WordPress.

From PHP & MySQL to WordPress

Il mondo di Pavia which means “the world of Pavia” is a news portal site covering every sport news in Pavia – a city of northern Italy. Before I took over the site management, Il mondo di Pavia was running on a customized web platform, built with PHP and MySQL. The old site had many limits such as the missing of publishing dates, search fields, tags, related posts and the filtering of sports data, which was quite important as the site focused mostly on local sports.

Since I was nominated for the renovation of Il mondo di Pavia, I started looking around to come up with some solutions that would make the site easier to work with. Finally, I opted for WordPress as it is the easiest way to aggregate a lot of different content on a website and believed this could be perfect for my project.

DW Focus theme – Il mondo di Pavia project by Roberta Leone
DW Focus theme – Il mondo di Pavia project by Roberta Leone

Settling on an ultimate WordPress theme

Deciding on using WordPress was only a part of the solution as I had to settle on the right WordPress theme for the news site. After a few weeks of scanning through various themes on the Internet, I happened to discover DW Focus WordPress theme.

Its demo was pretty much perfect for my needs with a clean and modern design, and seemed easy to manage. I took some more testing in the local environment and decided that this responsive WordPress news theme from DesignWall team was the best solution for my online newspaper after all.

The site implementation began

Before publishing anything on the live site, I worked in a local environment with MAMP to check for any problem or limitation. To complete the website, I tested many other plugins to manage the advertising, calendar, weather forecast and stuff.

Also, since Il mondo di Pavia was all about local sports news, I needed a competent plugin for collecting and publishing lots of sport data including team names, results, scores and so on. That was why I tried out many WordPress plugins to find out the best one for our needs, and eventually decided to use League Manager. This plugin proved to be perfect and if I could start this project all again from scratch, I wish I hadn’t spent weeks on testing different sport data plugins and focused immediately on League Manager.

At first, there were some problems with the search results as the rules for Italian volley (especially in the youth leagues) were a bit different from the international rules. However, after several weeks of trying to rewrite some PHP and JavaScript codes, our team succeeded in making the sports data display correctly according to our needs.

Where I got help from

DW Focus theme – Il mondo di Pavia project by Roberta Leone
DW Focus theme – Il mondo di Pavia project by Roberta Leone

My limit was that I never wanted to deal with coding as I don’t know much about programming and anything too technical. Therefore, I asked some help from my friend Furio and another programmer for the coding. DesignWall’s timing support also brought great help to many of our problems and contributed to making Il mondo di Pavia a highly appreciated magazine it is as today.

In fact, I could never publish this project in time if DesignWall support team didn’t assist me during the different phases of work. For example, when I needed to change the logo width and height of the site, Dominic’s attentive support helped me put the logo in the header on three columns and include some items in the sidebar widget as well. I also had some displaying problems on iOS devices and other minor issues but DesignWall’s guide has been so precious that I could sort them out quickly. To me, great support like this should be of the same importance as the good quality of the theme itself.

If you are going to make a news portal site or a WordPress site of any kind, I suggest you focus first on defining a clear web structure in mind before going on picking the right theme and suitable plugins for it. As a graphic designer, writer and reader, I would always like to keep things simple: the site needs to be fast and clean. Since some templates and plugins tend to offer so many functions that can drive you out of focus, you should always stay cautious and stick to your final goal.

Go ahead and drop me a line to Roberta Leone if you want to chat about WordPress or anything related. I would love to have an online hangout with any builder out there.

Enjoy the story from Roberta Leone? Want to share your own story? If you have a beautiful project and want to share your story with us, simply submit your WordPress site and we will get back to you for more discussion on delivering an interesting showcase like this. Feel free to submit multiple times should you have more than one website.

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Jin is Nanny at DesignWall, a leading WordPress development company which builds responsive WordPress themes and best WordPress plugins. She makes sure everyone is happy, every question is answered, every release is bug-free. She also blogs about our products and shares her WordPress knowledge with our readers. Jin is also a travel lover.