What stage of WordPress are you in?

Oh, WordPress, how much do I love thee….? I feel like I’m on some kind of path towards technical/blogging enlightenment and those who have attained it would roll their eyes at me but here are the steps and stories I have identified so far:

Level 1
I was a little slow to the game, hanging on to Blogger for the longest time, reveling in the smallest update they had that was nowhere near the awesomeness WordPress inhererently is. Like so many, I dipped my toes in the WordPress pool with multiple free sites and profiles on WordPress.com. I still have 2–one “master” profile with public and private blogs (the latter are like e-journals), and one profile that is an “editor” of a subset of the master’s blogs.

Level 2
After scribbling on my little Comp Sci account-hosted webpages and Blogger for nearly six years, I got my own domain name and pressed the button for One-Button WordPress Install at GoDaddy.com and switched. It was pain-free and I haven’t looked back. Just like an @hotmail, @aol, @yahoo address makes the Internet-snob part of me judge about the email-holder’s savvy, so does a Blogger/Xanga/LiveJournal blog. I’m not alone in this feeling. I’ve even installed WordPress without the one-button convenience a few times–it works 2 of three times.

Level 3
I can’t even remember what theme I used before stumbling upon Arthemia theme. I didn’t really want to use it but the Linoluna theme really wasn’t working for me. It’s been a great experience getting into the CSS/PHP code to make those magazine themes work and you’re forced to else you have completely blank “Featured” sections. More recently, I have discovered Atahualpa theme which takes all the custom options and make them into webforms–makes me feel dumber, but empowered, and a good choice if I am not the one who continues to maintain the site. It’s been a recurring theme at work and work II (the restaurant) on how to make a WordPress theme less “bloggy” and commercial. More CSS massaging.

Level 4
A blogger in China I follow announced the availability of a pinyin tooltips WordPress plug-in that really fits my needs so I was all over downloading it and reporting my difficulties. I don’t think I’ve ever beta-tested anything before that. Plugins make WordPress so unbelievably powerful–after the plugins that are or ought to be standard (Akismet, Reveal IDs, WP-PostRatings, WP-PostViews), I am so reliant on Sinosplice Tooltips, Subscribe to Comments, TweetMeme Retweet Button, and WP Post Columns. Really nice to haves are Calendar Archives, Editorial Calendar, and CommentLuv.

Level 5
After a little fiasco about accidentally leaving a test site Google-able and frantic pleas to Google Webmaster Tools to scrub their search results, I installed MAMP on my work Mac. It was a brilliant and breezy process. At XAMPP I was not nearly as successful. XAMPP installed fine but I messed up the WordPress install. Makes me want to turf my Windows laptop to just work with MAMP. Kidding… or not really.

Level 6
Being a WordPress evangelist, writing this blog entry and telling anyone who is thinking about starting a website to consider WordPress. I still haven’t been to a WordCamp but it looks likely I will attend one this year if the timing is right. I won’t take a day off for it… unless I can plead it’s work-related.

Level 7
Making WordPress sites for money, as an independent consultant? It’s not amongst my aspirations but you never know where life can take you….

On this day..