WordPress is designed to be simple and easy to work with. Most of our clients don’t require any training and have no problems editing the site themselves. Maintenance however is a different beast.
Clicking the upgrade button isn’t hard and 90% of the time, everything will be fine, however it’s still a pretty big risk to take on a live, client facing site as due to the fact that most WordPress websites use 3rd party plugins, unless you’re 100% sure that the new version won’t break anything on the site, you really don’t know what to expect with the upgrade.
You risk functionality issues, downtime and data loss so regardless of who developed your web site, if it’s important to you, you should definitely consider a maintenance contract with a professional development agency such as By the Scruff.
Our approach to upgrading is a little more involved, we upgrade all the plugins we run on live sites on a dev server beforehand to make sure that we are aware of all potential compatibility issues. Then before upgrading we prepare the site and fix all the compatibility issues before they even happen, clone the site with the fixes to our dev area, upgrade the site, make sure that there are no issues and then do the same thing on the live site.
So you’re a business in the market for a new website. You already know that having the best open source content management system would enable your business to edit the content of your website, maintain it and be able to get good quality support. Which CMS should you choose and how do you go about doing so?
You’re not a developer, so the technical aspects really shouldn’t concern you, what should concern you is the ease of use, reliability and cost of maintenance. These three are the most important factors and millions of companies have already made this choice. When it comes WordPress powers over 17.4% of all websites in the world. The second most popular CMS is Joomla at 2.7% and Drupal at 2.3%. (Stats taken from W3Techs and are correct as of 28th Feb 2013.)
What these stats mean for your business is the fact that you will have the largest developer resource available at the most competitive prices and you will always be able to easily find some help with WordPress either as tips, videos or live support within a few minutes of googling.
Here at By the Scruff, we focus on WordPress web development and use it in 99% of the websites that we build, this website is also built and managed through WordPress. Find out more about our WordPress design service
We can build basic WordPress web sites in very short amounts of time, blogs, content pages, these things used to be long and complicated, but with WordPress, it all just works out of the box and theming these features is a breeze for any reasonably seasoned web developer. But what about advanced WordPress websites? What about custom listings and custom information bits? What if you have a product showcase and want to display repeatable information bits? Custom fields come to the rescue, however the standard custom fiels functionality is not very user friendly and can quickly become very confusing when you’re trying to manage any reasonable amount of content.
This is where the Advanced Custom Fields plugin comes in super handy, it enables us as the web developers to create a very user friendly backend interface for our users to manage the content and provides us with a very simple API to retrieve the content in the themes we build. This approach is a lot faster than the standard “build your own backend UI” and as a result has a very positive impact on the cost of the project.
Here at By the Scruff, we’ve been building advanced WordPress websites using ACF for almost 2 years and have had only positive feedback about it from our clients.
Here are some screenshots showcasing how we use the Advanced Custom fields plugin:
The Internet is packed with hundreds of thousands of cheap website services, most of them come as parts of cheap hosting plans, some are stand alone services. Pretty much anyone can build themselves a simple website.
While the website may perform the basic stuff you want it to, it will not be the best it can be, for many reasons.
Things like SEO optimisation, considerations for the best user experience, call to action button theory and a multitude of other crucial things that web design and development companies (like us) are likely to simply not be there, if you do the website yourself or if you hire a cheap bedroom coder. The things I just mentioned come with years of experience and are absolutely critical to building a successful website.
The cost argument might come up if you are just starting your business and want to reduce your spending, however you have to consider that a website that doesn’t sell you in the right light or makes you look cheap will not help you attract new business and win over clients.
If you don’t have a web presence, you don’t exist. If your web presence is not positive, you will be ignored. Playing a game of roulette is fun in a casino, but doing so with your business may not be the best idea.
The web has evolved from the old days when most web sites were built to a max width of 800px to a state where the number of resolutions that must be considered by a designer is too large to count.
Some don’t understand this idea or don’t care about it enough and build exclusively for the desktop environments and the larger screens. iPads and iPhones have built up a market share too large to be ignored.
There are various ways and various approaches to building cross-platform web applications. One site and one html can be supplied to mobile and dektop environments, but may look completely different when looked at in the different browsers.
In this series I will review different websites and approaches to making your website work on different devices.
Here’s a video recording of the website adapting to resolution changes:
A good while ago, I posted a little review of BrowserLab, a tool I believed was irreplaceable to any template coder. I was wrong.
BrowserStack is the most refined in-browser testing software that I’ve seen on the market. It’s free to try for an hour and the paid subscription is not gonna break any budgets, but the value it brings is absolutely irreplaceable.
You are able to test your website in all the browsers that you wish, using a virtual environment. Here’s an example of me doing exactly that.
Quality control is a top priority here at ByTheScruff and we appreciate great tools that enable us to test our web sites more efficiently. If you think your testing suite is better or have some project that you would like us to help you with, please get in touch with us.
WordPress has always been one of the top platforms for bloggers, due to its simplicity and extendability, however the last 2 years have shown us that blogging is just the tip of the iceberg and jumping down the WordPress rabbit hole can lead to some outstanding websites.
The ability to add hierarchical pages as well as a very user friendly menu manager turned the development focus from a purely blogging platform into something much more flexible.
However a good CMS needs more. A good CMS absolutely must enable the user to create various content bits that can be used in various areas around the website, custom fields have been in WordPress for a very long time now, but they were never user friendly. They were never easy to use for casual bloggers or the people who only update their websites once a month.
Developing custom interfaces to wrap these custom fields was a long and tedious task, so in the interest of saving costs companies would usually resort to using half baked plugins, which tried to do just that. The choice was pretty limited and the plugins never quite did everything you need. There was always a but. Until now.
ByTheScruff recently started deploying a plugin that we have had our eyes on for quite a while now and it has yet to give us one good reason not to use it in production. The plugin is “Advanced Custom Fields“, it provides a beautifully designed interface that makes creating really simple and good looking custom field panels an absolute breeze. There is support for every imaginable field type and it even allows the creation of data streams via its “Repeater” field functionality.
Below are 2 screenshots for a text quote carousel that we are using on one of the sites that we have built using Advanced Custom Fields, the image on the left is how we create the actual field set and the one on the right is how our clients will edit and update them, it doesn’t get easier than this:
So if you are interested in setting up or overhauling a website for your business, a well-developed WordPress site might be just what you need. Give us a shout on 0207 033 4269 or drop us a line on email@example.com and we’ll be glad to help you.