When it comes to CMS’s I was strictly “old school” for years. I had it in my head that if you didn’t “roll your own” you were somehow cheating the client by charging for code you didn’t actually write. Maybe there was a bit of ego involved too.  And, there’s the fact the web was a completely different thing. Back then, the Internet was more or less a static world where we “hand-coders” would scoff at Dreamweaver (I still do), and pretty much anything that made doing web easy. After all, the Internet was new frontier where nerds ruled and the technical barriers were plentiful. The problem was that nerds generally turn up their noses at anything they haven’t come up with themselves, or that wasn’t handed down by some supreme nerd that has earned dominance by taking lesser nerds to some cyber-version of the coding woodshed. So, business workflows, marketing objectives and other economically valid reasons for a website’s existence rarely factored into the design and development process. The site owner, basically would get what the programmer knew how to build–or wanted to build.

Enter WordPress… (and others…)

WordPress grew in popularity as a blogging engine. Being incredibly easy for non-technical people to learn and use, WordPress quickly earned its place as a standard bearer for what a blog engine should be. But, being a blog platform, site owners would (and still do) find themselves in need of features not natively included in the WordPress code base. For that, thousands of individual developers have been creating solutions, in the form of plugins, for years. A plugin is essentially an additional program that runs inside WordPress to make it do things like e-commerce, membership management, or whatever fits the needs of the site owner.

WordPress Themes

Plugins provide custom functionality. Themes provide the look. There are a couple thousand themes available on the WordPress site alone. Some are great, most are okay, and others, well, suck. The best WordPress themes are those that meet the requirements of the website without causing problems with the underlying code base, or lead to issues with other plugins or future updates. At our Reno web design company, we prefer to build themes from scratch although sometimes it isn’t necessary or practical especially from a budgeting standpoint. When we work with third party themes, we always develop derivative themes, which in WordPress terms are called “child themes.”  Child themes insilate our code and modifications to the design from being overwritten by future updates.

Custom WordPress Themes

Custom WordPress themes are themes we build entirely from the ground up. Building custom WordPress themes is very involved, requiring many hours of planning, design and development.  An example of a custom WordPress theme we developed recently is Esteem Medical Spa & Salon. Esteem Medical Spa & Salon is a perfect example of why WordPress is so popular, and why we’ve grown to take WordPress development so seriously. As a Medical Spa, Esteem has a staff of very talented people who perform non-surgical treatment with exceptional results. Like most organizations, they should be focusing on their specialty service and not sifting through the technical nuances of website content management. When they came to us, they had a website with slow load times and poorly optimized pages for search. After proving our internet marketing capabilities they were more than happy to let us create a much better website experience.

Custom WordPress Development

The bottom line is WordPress is a very powerful content management tool when it comes to Reno web design. On the other hand, most WordPress websites are easy to spot since they tend to follow a similar structure. As mentioned earlier, custom WordPress development is complex; however, it is a solid choice of CMS for just about any business.