The Art Treasures Gallery website was originally set-up in 1998.
The first iteration of art-treasures-gallery.com was hand coded!
The second iteration of art-treasures-gallery.com went live in 2000 using NetObjects Fusion 4, a template driven website design tool. In November 2004, the Art Treasures Gallery website was featured on the NetObjects 8 Gallery of sites under the category: Business Websites (scroll to the bottom of the page).
As NetObjects was updated so the Art Treasures Gallery website was also updated using: NetObjects Fusion 5, NetObjects Fusion MX, NetObjects Fusion 7 and 7.5, NetObjects Fusion 8, NetObjects Fusion 9, NetObjects Fusion 10, NetObjects Fusion 11, NetObjects Fusion XII and NetObjects Fusion 2013.
The third iteration of art-treasures-gallery.com was launched in early 2015 using the self-hosted version of WordPress.
WordPress is a free and open-source content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL for creating and managing website content available for download from wordpress dot org. According to W3Techs, if one looks at the top 10 million websites as listed by Alexa, then as of January 2018: 48.2% of the websites use NO CMS. WordPress is used by 31.0% of Alexa Top 10m websites, which gives it a of 59.9% (31.0%/51.8%) share of the CMS market!
One of the reasons for the popularity of WordPress is that for such a complex product it is easy to use, its pretty intuitive and you don’t need specialist software installed on your computer. All you need is an internet connection.
This third iteration of the Art Treasures Gallery website has been built using the Weaver Xtreme WordPress theme combined with the Xtreme Plus plugin. In addition as our China home market has grown, a multi-lingual approach has been taken using the WordPress Polylang plugin which adds multilingual content management support for English and Chinese (Putonghua / Mandarin / Simplified Chinese).
WordPress dot com is banned in China, along with others like Google, Facebook, Twitter etc.
To get the Art Treasures Gallery website to be seen within China some of the WordPress plugins and tools that share services with wordpress dot com need to be removed. Here is a quick run-down:
Jetpack is a wonderful suite of integrated tools from WordPress – however as many of the services are shared with WordPress dot com they need to be deactivated so your site can be viewed in China. This is what we have deactivated:
- Photon now called: Serve images from our servers: Serves your images from the WordPress dot com cloud – preventing Chinese viewers from seeing the pictures on your website.
- Tiled Galleries then Carousel now called: Display images and galleries in a gorgeous, full-screen browsing experience: for JetPacks Tiled photos to operate you need to subscribe to Photon, and given this is hosted from the WordPress dot com cloud you won’t be able to use it either.
- Lazy load images: Depends on WordPress dot com Photon too, so again you won’t be able to use that either.
- Jetpack Comments: Replaces your comment form by a custom form hosted at WordPress dot com. Don’t activate this module if you want readers to be able to leave comments in China.
- Jetpack Subscriptions: While the Subscription widget might work, subscribers are required to click a confirmation link leading to a WordPress dot com page.
- Gravatar Hovercards: Shows a pop-up business card of your users’ Gravatar profiles when comments are left.
Given that most of the Jetpack functionality has been turned off, once you have gone though this process you may consider turning off Jetpack completely – which is what we have now done! If you do turn off Jetpack, here are two useful articles from 2018: best alternatives to the WordPress Jetpack plugin and Jetpack alternatives.
The Jetpack tools we missed most were:
- Tiled Galleries / Carousel which we have replace with a stand-alone version, TP Tiled Galleries which we have combined with FooBox.
- Related post. At the moment we have not replaced Related post as we are using the catalogue links at the bottom of the post as a proxy for Related posts.
- Contact Forms – ContactForm7 was our favoured contact form plugin. We swapped to Fast Secure Contact Form when the ContactForm7 CAPTCHA changed from Really Simple CAPTCHA to Google reCAPTCHA with version 4.3. Sometimes in China any server associated with Google is blocked so we opted for an alternative CAPTCHA that was not blocked by swapping to: Fast Secure Contact Form! Unfortunately in 2018 Fast Secure Contact Form stopped being supported so we have now swapped to WPForms Lite.
- Fonts – the de-facto fonts used by many websites is Google Fonts which Google has open sourced and made available to all. The only downside is that they reference the Google Font Library. Although Google fonts are not banned, calls to the Google Font Library are / or may be throttled back. Within Weaver Xtreme (our theme), there is a built in function that turns off all calls to the Google font library which meant this was a very easy fix and very forward thinking of the theme designer Bruce Wampler.
- Streaming video – YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia and many others are blocked in China so you’ll need to use one of the China hosted service like YouKu or iQiyi. The downside is that the Chinese video hosting services are aggressive in their front end ads. As a result we have opted to self host our videos using the out of the box WordPress video player.
In April 2021 – we have updated the look and feel of Art Treasures Gallery launching the fourth iteration of art-treasures-gallery.com using the WordPress Astra Pro theme from Brainstorm Force. Astra Pro is a fast, lightweight, and highly customizable WordPress theme. We hope you like the subtle changes we have made.
The Art Treasures Gallery website is hosted by SiteGround, who are head-quartered in Sofia, Bulgaria. SiteGround are a leading WordPress hosting company, with absolutely amazing customer service and support. Art Treasures Gallery is hosted on their Asian servers.