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Lesson 1 – Part 2 – Set Up Local File Structure

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Welcome back to Part 2 of Lesson 1 of the Customize Thesis Like a Pro tutorial series. In the second part of this tutorial we are going to create a local file structure that mirrors our website’s file structure.

Importance of Having a Local Copy of your Customization File Structure

Now, why is this important? In my opinion, this is actually one of the most important things you can do for yourself in this process. I have seen this hang folks up time and time again. So if you think that you’re going to just skip over this section and get back to it later, please do yourself a favor and stop and do it now. Do it before you make any customization of the Thesis theme on your own because believe me, if you don’t have a system for managing your website files, once you get into customization the files are going to get confused and you will think you’re editing one file when you’re actually editing another.

There are lots of different files and folders that you will be editing and if you have more than one website, it compounds the problem. It can make it very difficult for you to keep them all straight. And not only are there lots of files and folders, and not only do they all have very similar names, but you’re also looking at them through entirely different glasses. Sometimes you are looking at them through the lens of Windows Explorer and sometimes you’re going to look at them through the lens of FileZilla. And sometimes, you’re going to be looking at them through lens of a text editor. And in each of those cases, even through you think you are editing the same file or looking at the same file, you can very easily be looking at different files at the same time.

There have been several times when people have called me on the phone or we’ve had an online meeting and they said, “You know, I’ve made this edit to this file and it just doesn’t seem to be working. I’ve done everything you said to do in the videos and it doesn’t seem to be having an effect on the website.” And when I get a question like that, I know right off the bat that the problem is that they edited one file but uploaded another. And invariably this happens when you don’t create a local file structure to keep your files organized in advance.

Create Local File Structure – Consolidate All Local Copies of WordPress and Thesis Theme Files

Step 1 in this tutorial is to consolidate all instances of WordPress and Thesis theme files. Now if you’re anything like a number of my members, you may have varieties of copies of WordPress sitting around. You may have downloaded your website once or twice, you may have various versions of Thesis on your computer, and you don’t necessarily know where all of those are. Well, my advice is to consolidate all instances of WordPress and Thesis files.

And so what I would do is create a folder called “toss in your My Documents Library and then I would search for every instance of a WordPress folder and I would move it into the “toss” folder. And then I’d look for every instance of the Thesis folder and I would move it there too. And make sure you have every single instance of Thesis and WordPress moved into this one directory called “toss”. And the reason I am calling it “toss” is because at some point in this process, once we’re fully organized and comfortable that we haven’t lost anything, we’re going to throw that stuff away. But if you just let it sit where it’s been sitting, what can happen is you’ll still continue to mistake it for the file that you’re actually working on. Don’t necessarily delete them now, go ahead and hang on to them but move all of their instances into a place where you can remember to delete it easily in the future.

Create Local File Structure – Central Location for All Websites

Step number 2 is to create a central folder that all of your new websites will be located in. I’m working in Windows 7 so I’m going to show you an example of that. You can put this anywhere you want. I’m going to recommend that you put it under your Documents Library but it doesn’t have to go under documents. It can go literally anywhere you want but it should go someplace where you always know where it is, can always find it, and you don’t have to ask yourself, “Now where on earth did I store that silly file?”

In my case, we’re going to put this folder under Documents. I’m going to create a new folder and I’m going to call it “websites”. Now every single website I have is going to go inside of this folder. And the first website that’s going to go in this folder is the one we’re working on right now. And so I’m going to create a brand new directory. For those of you who are not familiar with this method, I just right click in the middle of the field and select “New” and “Folder” and inside this folder, I’m going to call this “byobtutorial.com”.

Create Local File Structure – The Mirror File Structure

And so now everything associated with byobtutorial.com is going to go in here then I’m going to open up that directory and I am going to create what will be the corresponding folder to my website root directory which I will call “WordPress.” So I’m going to make a new folder again and we’ll call it “WordPress”. Now, inside of that WordPress directory, if we’re making an exact mirror copy, you would have wp-includes, wp-admin, and wp-content. Since you never edit includes or admin, I don’t bother making a local copy of it. I will however do wp-content so “New folder”, and wp-content, all lowercase.

The reason why you’re doing this this way is because from now on, you want this local copy folder to be synchronized with the folder on your website that has the same name as this. So we need to use exactly the same names as is on your website. We’ll open up this one and we’ll make a new folder and we’ll call one “plugins”. And a new folder, we’ll call it ‘’themes’’ and so now, you have inside of your Documents Library, you have an exact mirror at the moment of part of your website.

And so it looks just like this, it’s “websites”. Here’s your main website organization then here’s your website root which is “WordPress” and then inside that “WordPress” is your wp-content. Inside your wp-content, you have “plugins’’ and “themes”. It’s exactly the same as you have over here where we’re inside of our root. And we have wp-content and inside of wp-content, we have plugins and themes.

Other Recommended Folders for Your File Structure

In addition to this, there are a couple of other folders that I recommend that you put together. And so I’m just going to do those for you now as well. Go back to your site directory and next to the root, I would just create another folder and I would call that “Backups”. And in this directory, when you backup your site, you can place copies of your backups for that site here. And then I would create one more called “Graphics” and this is where I would put all the raw graphics and logos that you’re working on – anything like that before it gets added to your site. And then finally, I would do the same thing with “Text”. If you write your blog post in Word and then post them to your site, you can store those things here.

Now essentially everything about your website is contained inside this one directory, in my case, byobtutorial.com. And then you have WordPress which acts as the mirror for your website. And that wraps up Part 2 of this Thesis Theme Tutorial, Create a Local File Structure that Mirrors Your Remote Site.

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