HTML versus WordPress

I recently did a promo build of a website that I built a few years ago.  The original is a simple HTML site, updated from a very old vectored graphics type design.  The original site had little or no text and wasn’t searchable; thus the business was essentially non-existent on Google or other search engines.  Since their business now stands at or close to the top of most regional searches, that build was successful… as far as HTML can go.  That still leaves it as a static, HTML site; time consuming to build, difficult to maintain and essentially serving as nothing more than an electronic business card on the Web.

The promo build is based off the original design, designed in and powered by WordPress with a highly customized version of the venerable Twenty Ten theme.  Instead of a simple graphic for a menu background, the sidebar menu is a repeated image of an actual photo that matches their “railroad” theme.  Instead of graphic images for some of their marketing slogans, custom widgets allow those to be changed at a moment’s notice.  (They are also fully searchable with the SEO plugin built in to the design.)rr_top

The dynamic nature of WordPress means things like photo albums and slideshows (2nd footer widget area) are easy to keep updated with special events and new images.

Last, but certainly not least… this new promo version means anyone with a couple of hours of training can handle future updates and revisions.  (So yes, maybe it puts me out of future update work… but you be the judge of which is the best value!)  I’ll have to keep you posted on what transpires.  (Click images for links to the sites.)rr_bottom


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Recent Nonprofit Website

featured imageA recent website build, for a Presbyterian Church task force in the triangle region of North Carolina.  I based their design off of the venerable WordPress Twenty Ten theme with a front page content slider, random refreshing header images and a background image from Leonardo Da Vinci’s work. Click the screenshot above to visit the site.

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WordPress Test Drive

I’ve built a functioning WordPress website within my website.  It’s fully functional and also details practically everything you need to know about having using WordPress as your content management system.

Click the image below to explore how WordPress can power your website in ways you’ve never imagined!

My fully functional WordPress website that walks you through every step of using this powerful CMS.

My fully functional WordPress website that walks you through every step of using this powerful CMS.

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Why WordPress? Part 2

I did a tutorial with a new client the other night.  He learned all he needs to know to maintain their site while we sat in the bar of a Holiday Inn in Barboursville, West Virginia.  (That’s point number one.  This is not difficult!  A codicil to point 1 – a poorly maintained website is worse than no website at all.)

The really cool part is what no one else sees.  With WordPress as your Content Management system (CMS) you don’t need expensive software like THIS to keep your website fresh.  You need an Internet browser – that’s it.  Firefox, Safari, M.I.E., you’re ready.  (Maybe throw in a free FTP software if you really need it… but forget spending hundreds of dollars on software that you then have to learn how to use.

For example, look at the image above.  Notice that there are SIX window tabs open.  They are open because you’ll need them at one point or another to create any document for your website.  To be fair, the program shown here is a good one.  It’s powerful and versatile.  It also has a really steep learning curve.  (My manual has 836 pages and perhaps a hundred or so bookmarks shoved in it.)  If creating and maintaining your website is this intimidating are you really going to use it as a communication tool?  REALLY?  I didn’t think so.  (Neither would I!)

Now look at the WordPress “write post” tab above.  One click off of the DASHBOARD and you’re ready to go.  Look at the visual or click it over to HTML code – add pics, video, audio… one click each.  (And do you see the resemblance to another program almost every computer user has some experience with?)

That’s it.  An hour or two learning the Dashboard and anywhere you have an Internet connection, you have the ability to keep your website fresh, clean, inviting… useful.

Oh, there are dozens more reasons why I’m truly a “believer” when it comes to WP.  But these will get you started!

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WordPress Themes – The Sky’s the Limit!

Whether it’s a simple blog or a complex magazine, you want your website to look the way you want it – not the way someone tells you that you want it.  Lots of “designers” have “plans” where you choose a template and then your site ends up looking like so many others.

With WordPress it’s different.  There are literally THOUSANDS of themes out there waiting for you to find the right one.  Many are free – some are so reasonably priced you wonder how developers pay their electric bill!

Say you find a theme – the layout looks great; but you’re not thrilled with the color scheme?  Not a problem – I’ll help you take your own custom color scheme and adapt it to what you want.  You end up with truly a one-of-a-kind website that reflects your tastes the way you want it to.

Click the images below for a gallery of just a few themes.  As you look them over, remember they are the beginning point – much like paint chips at the home improvement store.  Look for what “can be” – not just what is there.  Once you can “see it?”  I’ll help you build it!

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Why WordPress for Web Site Design?

WordPress began as a blogging platform in 2003.  But since then it’s become one of the most popular Content Management Systems (CMS) around.  Why?  Because it works.  It looks sharp.  It gives you flexibility.  And it doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg to keep a website up to date with an annual contract with a coder who is going to charge you whether they spend any time maintaining your website or not.  (Many of the “boutique” design firms have annual contracts that specify a minimum number of hours per month charge regardless of how much – or little – actual maintenance they do.)

My hourly rate is very reasonable and my philosophy is to setup up a website that you can manage yourself.  I’ve yet to have anyone complain about saving them money while giving them a sharp looking site that’s easy to keep updated!

Need a new website?  Or need the old one spruced up?  Email me and let me know.  I’m betting there’s enough code already “floating around” the web to help you out!

Click the image below to see the product for one of my previous clients.  You will notice right away that their current site looks different from the image.  That’s because I helped them get to the point where they do all their own updates and modifications now.  They call me every now and then for a bit of help; otherwise their website maintenance doesn’t cost them anything.  That’s the WordPress idea – I’ll get you started and you can take it from there!

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WordPress Web Design

icon_bigHaving a good looking, functional website has never been easier!

WordPress is well known as a “blogging” software platform.  Yet it’s much more than just a blog tool.  Churches, universities, professional organizations, and non-profits are all using WordPress as the one platform for their web presence.

That’s because you don’t need expensive and complicated software to manage it.  You need an Internet connection.  That’s it.  Word press does the rest for you.

I’ve built over a dozen sites for people or groups using WordPress.  Hundreds of customizable themes give you exactly the look you want, tailored to your needs.  And you won’t need to learn Front Page or Dreamweaver to keep your site looking great.

What you get from me is more than just a design.   My services are intended to design a site for you, work with you to get it running, then teach you everything YOU need to keep it that way!  (No ongoing “work” that’s designed to get more work from you.)

A simple WordPress site can be up and running in a few hours.  The most complicated imaginable are ready in less than 20 – 25 work hours, and you’re done!  At that point, you don’t call me unless you need me.

So… you could pay a “designer / I.T. person” a hundred dollars an hour for as long as you can afford it; or you can pay me $75.00 per hour and have a site you can use on your own.  That’s value… It’s WordPress… And it’s The Handy Rev.

Some of the more recent WordPress websites I’ve designed:

United Christian Fellowship

Christ Presbyterian Church

Blog RPS

The Demijon Blog

The Charlotte District of the United Methodist Church

Fairytale Farms Equestrian Center

And, of course, I designed this site, The Handy Rev.

WordPress Design FAQ:

$75.oo / hour. (Most sites require 4 – 18 hours, including 2 – 3 hours tutorial time.)

You need:  A domain name, Internet Access (Broadband ISP recommended), a hosting account (there are many options for hosting) and an idea of what you want your website to look like.  I can help you with all of these as well; it’s not hard.

You pick the overall look and color scheme of your website; then I work with you to customize standard themes to look EXACTLY the way you want it to look.

Not sure about WordPress?  Read HERE what another Rev (who owns his own software company) has to say about it.

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