Posts Tagged ‘web site programming’

What’s the Best Choice for Your Website? WordPress vs Custom Website Design

Monday, March 31st, 2014
WordPress site for real estate development firm in the San Francisco Bay Area.

WordPress site for real estate development firm in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Most of the sites we design for clients are done completely from scratch, using the client’s branding blueprint as a starting point for ideas, and often using our proprietary content management system, ELF or Drupal to run the back end for clients. But sometimes clients are on a tight budget and the better option is for us to create a quick site using WordPress for content management by tweaking an existing theme with the client’s photos and color palette.

While the sky’s the limit with what we can do with a completely custom, hand coded site, there are certain limits to tweaking WordPress themes that may be cause for concern if what you really want is complete control over every detail of the site’s layout.

Here are some things to consider when making the decision about which choice is right for your website.


Update WordPress Routinely to Keep Your Website Secure

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Your company’s awesome new website has been launched and you have a brand new WordPress blog—perhaps your entire site is using WordPress as a Content Management System (CMS). Terrific! Your web maintenance routine consists of posting to your blog regularly, which is great for increasing your Search Engine Optimization and establishing your business as an expert leader in your field. Well done! So, in terms of the technical management of that site, you’re all set, right? Not so fast!

Keeping your WordPress installation up-to-date can save future headaches

If your website uses WordPress, it’s important to keep your blogging software up-to-date. You’ll notice when you log into your admin panel to edit or add new posts that WordPress frequently offers updates to its blogging platform, correcting security vulnerabilities as they arise, improving performance, and adding new features.

The WordPress website for Go Saratoga CA focuses on attracting visitors.

In particular, you’ll want to take advantage of the security updates to make your site less vulnerable to hacking. Investing in a routine WordPress maintenance plan can save your business time and money by keeping your site secure. This is our top reason for recommending yearly updates for most blogs, and monthly updates for power-bloggers and larger sites.

The steps to update WordPress

Typically, updating your installation to the latest version will go smoothly, but if your site is highly customized with many Plugins (adding functionality to your site) and complex Themes (executing your site’s design), there’s more of a chance of hiccups during the process.

These can range from a Plugin no longer working, which can happen more frequently with older, no longer supported Plugins, to an entire blog ceasing to function. It sounds scary, but following the protocol outlined in WordPress’ Codex, can prevent this sort of collateral damage to a site.

1. Check minimum requirements

The Douglah Design WordPress blog offers customers design and remodeling tips.

First, check to make sure your server meets the minimum requirements for WordPress, by having the latest versions of PHP and MySQL, for example. Sometimes this isn’t the case, and we recommend holding off on updates to WordPress until the hosting company is up-to-date.

2. Back up the site

Next, make a full back up of your files and database, with all of your Posts and Pages. Always, always, back up your site before performing updates so it can be restored if something goes awry during the process.

3. Update and Disable Plugins

Keeping those Plugins updated makes it less likely they will cause problems with newer versions of WordPress. It’s good practice to evaluate from time to time which installed Plugins are no longer supported by their developers, to identify candidates for replacement with more modern, compatible Plugins.

The Avogadro Group's WordPress blog, run by staff, keeps the site fresh for regular visitors.

WordPress recommends temporarily disabling all Plugins before running the update though sometimes this isn’t really feasible if it turns off essential components of a site. We make recommendations for clients on a case-by-case basis.

4. Run the Update

Finally, run the WordPress version update. When we’re confident the update ran successfully, we’ll double-check that a client’s site is working well, and if necessary we’ll re-enable Plugins. If there’s any custom code, this is the time to make sure it’s still running well.

If this process feels overwhelming, not to worry: we are happy to help keep your WordPress site running smoothly and securely. Don’t let your blog be at risk by not sticking to a maintenance plan for application updates.

by Deirdre Spencer, Senior Designer The Placemaking Group

Using Imagination to “Get Famous”

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Our client Catherine Athans, Ph.D. is an author and life coach who often works with entrepreneurs and C-level executives. Very successful with a devoted following, Dr. Athans’ goal was to become better known for her unique expertise and attract more clients.

We worked with Dr. Athans to devise a strategy to get recognition for her, including a steady stream of TV interviews and stories. What made her different? Her strong belief in the power of imagination.

Read the Case Study


Tips and strategies to use to cut through the clutter and get noticed.

1. Know your goal. For Dr. Athans it was to increase awareness of her consulting practice and become an expert as a way to attract clients.

2. Take time to discover what makes you different. With Dr. Athans we interviewed her several times to learn what differentiated her from the crowded field of consultants and life coaches.

3. Get media training. Whether a veteran with the media or new to interviews, an investment in training by experts on how to work with the media and get your message across will pay off.

4. Use video. Having a video is essential to secure speaking placements and media interviews. Also videos help your search engine optimization.

Check out Catherine’s video submission for the “Oprah Search for the Next TV Star Contest.”

To discuss adding PR to your marketing program, just email us >>

Further reading about media relations on our site:
Contacting Reporters

Know Your Audience

Make Press Releases Work for You

Planning your web site? Here are the 5 P’s of the web site process.

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

Are you thinking about a new web site for your company? Do you think that the first thing you have to do is find a “Geek” to program your site?

That’s something I want you to reconsider. When we talk to a client about a new web site, we don’t go right to the programming ideas. Because first you have to know what your marketing goals are, who you want to view your web site and what do you want them to learn or do when they get there. Those are the important things before deciding what programming language you’re using.

I asked Barbara Irias, our web/SEO expert at Placemaking Group what is the proper order of things to consider and do when you are developing a web site. She sent me this list…  “The 5 P’s of the web site process!” (more…)