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Category: News from the web

WordPress Gutenberg

WordPress has evolved over the years, from a humble blogging platform, to a full fledged CMS. The complexity of the web sites has also grown and the content editing capabilities had to grow with it.

WordPress always has had custom fields built in for years, but the interface was so unfriendly to regular users, that using it was impossible. The process for creating a custom user interface by developers was always so time consuming and cumbersome, that few wanted to pay for the development.

Over time, editor plugins became more and more popular. Elementor, Beaver, Divi and many others all expanded the functionality of the basic WYSIWYG editor that WordPress used to ship with.

Plugins in WordPress usually provide functionality that the core CMS lacks, often, if a plugin becomes extremely popular, WordPress developers will assimilate the functionality and make the plugin redundant.

WordPress Gutenberg an excellent example of this pattern, let’s have a look at what it is and why we should care.

What is Gutenberg?

Gutenberg, currently, is a page builder plugin, like Elementor or Beaver with one major difference: it is open source, built and maintained by Automatic staff and a long list of contributors.

It replaces the classic “WYSIWYG” editor and tries to bring us closer to WYSIWYG actually meaning something, unlike the classic editor. Gutenberg is not perfect yet, but currently it is a stepping stone, between the classic editor and the ultimate goal of being able to assemble an entire page (starting from the header ending with the footer, if you should choose to add it).

What does Gutenberg mean for editors?

More flexibility, without the need of cumbersome and buggy third-party plugins or expensive custom development.

Columns and rows, buttons, tables and other elements, laid out in any order are now just a few simple clicks away.

What does Gutenberg mean for developers?

Less fragmentation, better APIs and better solutions we can offer our clients. Before Gutenberg, each of us had to decide, what approach we will take if we want to provide page building functionality to our clients.


Elementor may be too confusing or too powerful and unnecessary for some clients with basic websites, at ByTheScruff, we extensively use Advanced Custom Fields. This lets us quickly and easily provide a very simple, yet powerful enough interface for editing any part of the custom websites we build. Our clients don’t get overwhelmed with unnecessary controls and don’t have the ability to accidentally ruin the flow of their custom web site or make it appear off brand.

Always pick the right tool for the job

There is a huge variety of websites using WordPress out there. Not all of them need Gutenberg or any other page builder, not all of them need Advanced Custom Fields, task number one for an experienced developer is to analyse the needs of a client and figure out the optimal solution for them. We do this daily at By the Scruff, so if you’re in the market for a custom WordPress website, whether you want to use Gutenberg or not, get in touch!

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Online banner advertising turns 20

It has been nearly 20 years since the first banner ad appeared on the youthful internet in 1994, and this is what it looked like:

A simple 476×56 gif from the American telecoms giant AT&T
Today the effectiveness of this message may be questionable and considered ‘click-baiting’, however at the time it was considerably effective with an enviable 40% click rate according to the creator of the ad Joe McCambley.

20 years later, spending on advertising online has surpassed television for the first time according to the IAB, and it is only set to increase. As the internet has evolved so has the effectiveness of how online advertising engages with its audience. The savvy and not-so-savvy user may question what are reputable advertisement is based upon the quality of the creative and the copy. They are more aware of ‘click-baiting’, spam and are less likely to engage with advertising that is irrelevant or not updated. The online advertiser also needs to be aware of the different mediums the creative is being viewed on; desktop, mobile or tablet and how they interact with the creative.

Our solution Bannermate permits this. We create a bespoke creative ad banner (or set of banners) made to the specification of the client. It can be interactive or static, and allows elements such as text or images to be updated remotely and dynamically by the advertiser; furthermore it includes real time stats on impressions and clicks. The option is also available to create an animated Flash version and upload an alternative version for devices that do not run flash.

The creative solutions are unlimited as we take on the creative brief and can create a bespoke banner ad to the dimensions you specify. Once the banner is up and running you can update text and images or whatever elements you have chosen to be editable in your brief. Below are some examples of our clients’ banners:




If you’d like to see how your banner campaigns can get the kind of results you demand, drop us a line. We’d love to explain how we work, and we can send you a free quotation and answer any of your questions.

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Can you manage your own website

Over the years the internet has gone through some dramatic changes. Much development has gone into making the web open for all and not just trained designers and developers. Its the obvious progression and has allowed millions of website to flourish and business owners the ability to take control of their own online channels. No longer do you need to know HTML or become a expert Photoshop user. Everyone can take great photos, write good copy and build their own website with systems like WordPress or Squarespace.

Where does that leave companies like ours? Can we survive by doing what we were doing 6 or even 2 years ago? In our opinion no, and we have to move with the times and support our clients by offering them the best solution that will allow them to get the most out of their online channel. That might be through advising them on which CMS to use, or creating a robust and flexible email template.

A while back we used to do a lot of work with email design and production. We would design and code the emails for marketing teams. Things have changed now and more often than not these teams now manage their own campaigns and work from predefined templates that we create for them. You still need a good design and well constructed HTML emails that have been tested but we are not needed to actually add in copy or links, or an image.

We consider ourselves as WordPress experts and we use this system because it has fantastic tools and is so easy to use. Its also very well supported by the web design and development community.

BUT, websites do not write their own copy or blog by themselves. They do not automatically engage with customers and write comments on other sites or update themselves. All this must be handled properly and managed with a clear set of objectives that are achievable and realistic. We can design and build a website that looks fantastic but we can’t make old copy look new or magic up new visits if nothing has changed on a website.

Fortunately our customers are pretty good at doing this and have really embraced the features that come with our websites.

Pippa Jameson Interiors wordpress website

Let’s take one example Pippa Jameson Interiors.

This critically acclaimed WordPress blog has developed over the past 5 years into a trusted source for interiors trends in the UK and abroad. The website attracts on average 15,000 unique visitors a month. What’s her secret? Bloody hard work and great content regularly updated. It didn’t come easily at the start but over the years the site and Pippa have won numerous prizes.

The trick is to continue to evolve with your audience. Don’t be scared to try something new. Work on your tone of voice, practise writing, take photos and video. Connect with your customers and ask them to contribute and tell you what they are doing.

With the success of websites like this and continued development of systems like WordPress we hope to be able to continue offering our services and support to help setup many other SME’s or individuals with great ideas with their own websites for years to come.

If you would like to discuss your website and see how we can help then get in touch. Contact Stuart Edwards at

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