Okay, so woo-hoo sounds a little sarcastic; in fact I’m really happy to see this come to its fruition: there are some dark elements to this joy here or there, but they mostly are just the process bumps which anneal the final product into exaclty what we’ve needed for a long time.
We had a fine previous website – looked pretty good, if a bit illegible, but it was definitely “design-ey” in its way.
The thing is, it was both *very* dated in style and type, and also hell to maintain. When we tried as simple a thing as adding new content, following the directions we had in hand, after consulting with the web hosting firm as well, it still didn’t go well. So we had a site which was dated both in design / functionality AND in content – in the world of web marketing, we had two out of three of the most important elements completely wrong.
Moreover, that website, though it had a minimal Content Management System, was not easy to do serious update work on if we needed to, and largely left us in the position of needing the expert web folks to do anything in the medium-to-major categories.
So I proposed (albeit reluctantly) that I develop a *quick* down-and-dirty WordPress-based site for the firm, and that this way we would completely separate style from content (due to WP’s css-based theming system) making stylistic changes easier, that the very site architecture would be one which empowered us to manage the site ourselves actively, and that because WP is so ubiquitous and well defined, if we DID need some expert CSS-whizz to “restyle” our site, we’d be guaranteed this would *not* result in the “we-should-just-redo-the-whole-thing-it’ll-be-faster” reaction one normally gets from smaller web developers trying to rework someone else’s previous build without native files.
Seemed like such an innocent suggestion – I budgeted twice what a similar sized site would have taken me (back in the bad old days when I WAS one of those smaller web developers I was trashing on just earlier) to allow for the extra to-and-fro design discussions I knew we get into, I clearly outlined that I was *not* willing to get into graphic design discussions on the site – that we pick a standard purchased theme (more support that way) and tweak it a bit, and that other than that it was a content massaging exercise – so I budgeted six (6) weeks for it and started rolling.
Here we are, finally going live, two years, four complete back-to-scratch redesigns later, and I’m happy with it ‘cos it works, it’s standards-compliant but looks nicely unique and us, and it can be easily re-themed by some WP expert graphic design whizzes when we re-image (EMRL, anyone?) so I think we hit all the major points we needed… of course, though it’s a massive improvement on the SEO side just out of the box (WordPress generally does well on the SEO front) compared to our older site, it will need continual tweaking and massaging – such is life on the web these days. We’ll need staff to blog, to vlog and to interact, and that will be a learning curve – but in the end, I think it will turn into a communicative strength for us in a broader sense as well.
So…. take a deeeeeeeep breath, everyone. We’re here…. now let’s get to the real work of interacting and generating relevant, value-added content – after all, that’s what we actually do as a firm as well!
Poste Scripte [added 18 November 2011]
Now I know this is a little on the geeky side for most folks, but I’m excited that our WordPress based-site supports the equation and formula typsetting system, so when we write some of the more in-depth articles we have on the boards about thermal conductivity, thermal bridging, and similar topics, we can actually typset the relevant formulæ correctly – in this case a thermal resistance formula:
or more common in our field, the U Factor formula:
Okay, enough maths & WordPress geekery for the moment . . . now it’s time for us to put all this potential