Our approach and philosophy for designing and developing websites in WordPress

- Platforms
A laptop with WordPress CMS pulled up on the screen sitting on a desk next to a phone and a window with buildings below

WordPress is an incredible CMS. If you're using it or are considering a migration to WordPress, there are some fundamental ideologies that you may want to consider when choosing a vendor. 

WordPress's greatest strength is its greatest weakness; it's an open-source tool. Many novices and DIY web designers can easily create a website and put it online. Boom, you have a website. Unfortunately, without some finesse, your business's website might look like just another "WordPress website."

To help ensure that your business is unique and stands out in your market, we asked web developers, Steve Kaufman and Robert Geiger, to give a quick behind-the-scenes tour of how we approach designing websites in WordPress.

Gutenberg; Posts, Patterns and Widgets

Page Builders deliver very complex builds in very simple ways.

Since the rise of SquareSpace and other visual page builder plugins, professional content management platforms had to shift how they allowed users to manage content on page. But building a website is incredibly complex. Just because you can create your own site using a page builder doesn't mean it has the functionality and scale your business needs to succeed. 

For WordPress, the page builder is called Gutenberg. And Gutenberg is pretty awesome. It can allow experienced web designers to build their own themes. Which is exactly what we did. We built our own theme in order to expedite web development for clients by building a framework that we know is easy to manipulate and edit, saving time and resources for our partners. This theme includes custom blocks and patterns that allow our designers to swiftly create complex designs using nested layouts. We deliver elevated designs to your market that are outside of the structural norm of most WordPress themes. Meaning it's going to feel much more refined.

"That's where we come in, as developers we bring to life the intricacies of the visual designs, then we build those in to patterns so the client's content editor, marketing manager, or whomever, can make edits without having to know what goes into the coding of the site itself." - Steve

Design and development are two very different entities. When designing in WordPress, or any other platform for that matter, there is a global terminology, terminology based on the platform, and then design versus development. Blocks and widgets are kind of the same thing. Patterns are patterns. And design patterns are also components, but in development, patterns are also blocks. It's nuanced. 

In web development, a hero image, overlay text, and a call to action button all packaged together is a pattern. So in our theme, we build our own so we aren't replicating out-of-the-box patterns that WordPress themes provide. Instead, we're able to quickly craft new patterns based on our clients needs, services, products, and industries. Our ability to teach our clients some of these nuances allows them to make edits and understand the structure of their website in a way that better communicates to their users. 

 "If it's anything more than a list of pages, it's a custom block. Advanced custom features are used all the time, and users don't realize their complexities." - Robert 

Some plugins are so highly ranked and well-crafted that it would be a disservice not to use them.

Plugins; plugins as far as the eye can see.

You can't talk about WordPress without talking about plugins. 

Less is more. Some plugins are truly worth their weight in pixel gold. When you're thinking about plugins, you want to really focus on your need. Some plugins help create custom layouts and some of the flexibility within blocks, patterns, and fields. Others help streamline the website by caching pages and minifying HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, which creates a faster website. Standard plugins, like form builders or search engine optimization plugins, are so highly ranked and well-crafted that it would be a disservice not to use them. Other plugin considerations do rely on your product or service. 

For example, ecommerce websites built in WordPress tend to have additional plugins that focus on shipping or check-out integrations when connecting with Shopify or other commerce and logistical third parties. 

 "We try to avoid plugins that affect the front-end of the website because it limits control and often adds multiple JavaScript and CSS files to every page, which can hurt performance and cause conflicts in the long run. If custom JS and CSS are needed, we like to write it ourselves." - Steve

Plug-ins also need to be purchased and licensed. One of our most common philosophies is that the client owns their assets. From your website hosting information, through your platform and plugin licenses, licensing must be purchased by your team. It is important that you retain ownership. We hope to be your partner for the long haul, but things change. You should always have full transparency and make necessary business decisions without being tied down or locked into one vendor — even to us

The Advantages of WP Engine

We're a proud WP Engine Partner. 

WP Engine is a premier WordPress hosting platform, and we are an agency partner. This means our developers spend less time on server configuration and more time focused on what really matters. WP Engine monitors caching, maintains plugins and development standards, and sites are very easy to set up. Server communication lets you know if anything is out of date and helps create a more responsible communication cycle between the technical needs of your website and the communication tools within. 

WP Engine also handles environment-specific queries automatically. It helps development greatly. If you're migrating from a web development production server, custom fields and URL paths are automatically updated, allowing you to move quickly and efficiently from development through go-live.

WP Engine is also more agile for:

  • Cloning pages, posts, and patterns
  • Managing menus 
  • Editing page content 
  • Hosting multiple websites

WordPress grows and changes all the time. Our philosophy is to create an opportunity for growth within a safe space. Our clients can showcase the best of their products and services while allowing their team to manage a good portion of their website on demand. 

Let us help you navigate your options and craft a customized experience that can grow and scale with you and your business. Learn more about WordPress or drop us a line to get a free consultation today.

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