Our primary WordPress site is our portfolio at mimoYmima.com, which is where we show off our web design work. We’ve worked with all kinds of clients, from large corporate work to the small stuff like bands or local businesses. WordPress has made it so we can pull off any design idea we come up with, so we really try to be creative with the design process and let it take us to new places with each project.
Our most successful job to date and the one we’ve done the most work on is ToughMudder.com. We originally created their WordPress site for very little money when they were trying to get interest in their first event. Since WordPress is so ubiquitous they had people who already knew how to use the system and started generating new pages and fleshing out the site very quickly. We later helped them build out the sections by creating custom templates to complement the content they had created. Their business has grown incredibly quickly and the site has been a lot of fun to work on. To give you an idea of how big it’s gotten, they currently have nearly half a million Facebook fans!
We progressed from making flat sites in HTML to creating templated sites in PHP to realizing we needed to offer a CMS for our sites to really give them lives of their own after we were done with the initial design and build. We did some research into the different systems that people were using. At the time there weren’t many options, and WordPress seemed like the best fit for us since it was open source and seemed to be the friendliest and most down-to-earth in many ways. Even though at the time it was more set up to be a blogging system, there were already a lot of plugins available to make it work well as a CMS.
The most valuable thing about WordPress for us is how easy it is to use and teach clients how to use. It’s very easy for a client who has little to no experience with a CMS to use it. We usually have a half hour phone call with our clients to talk them through adding content to their websites after we create them and they almost always seem surprised at how easy it is. Another thing we like is how easy it is to upgrade the system.
When the one-click installer was built into WordPress, that was a real game changer. Before that the process wasn’t that bad if you were a developer, but definitely too risky to let a client handle on their own. The one-click installer almost fixed that, but there was still the sticky issue of backing up all files and the database. We tried making it as easy as possible with the database being backed up by a plugin but most of our clients had no copy of their media uploads, so we still ended up handling the upgrades ourselves. When VaultPress came out, we could finally teach our clients how to upgrade the system without the fear of them not having a good backup copy of everything.
I’d highly recommend VaultPress to anyone using WordPress. Seeing the live feed of what it’s doing behind the scenes is really amazing. It’s like having a team of happy little gnomes working away behind the scenes making backups and searching through your code looking out for security issues.
A tip for developers: check out our Theme Framework which we developed to take advantage of the semantics offered by HTML5 code! — html5.mimoymima.com — we’ve decided to open up our code to the public since our business is basically built on open source software.