December 18, 2016
by Lori Shecter

10 things you should know about WordPress Website Development

WordPress, WordPress, WordPress…why do YOU get all the attention? (If you never watched The Brady Bunch, please ignore that last sentence.) It doesn’t matter if you are a Fortune 500 (The NY POST, love ’em or hate ’em, is designed in WordPress) or a small business owner, WordPress is the most used technology for content managed websites. According to CODE IN WP, 50% to 60% of the world’s websites are WordPress.

If you found this article, you are probably trying to evaluate which Content Management System to use. We Are Immediate develops in 6 different content management systems including WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Umbraco, Craft and Magento for E-commerce. We also develop custom coded projects when a content management system won’t do the trick. So here’s how we make our decision on what type of code to use.

1:  Functionality:  which code will be most beneficial for the project

This is the most important factor in our decision-making process. Yes, it is true that WordPress has plug-ins but those plug-ins can be the very source of future issues.

2:  Time and Budget constraints

Some codes are easier to work in than others, thus making a website delivered more quickly or on a lower budget.

3: Client’s User Experience

Our client’s input is important to us. If our client is happy with their current user experience and their current code will accept any new functionality, we often will stay with the same codebase.

OK, now to the meat of this article…the 10 things you should know

  1. Cost of WordPress: There is a rumor goin’ round town that WordPress is cheap. By cheap, I mean under $1500. Here are the facts: WordPress can be free. Yes, you read right. You can have a Free WordPress template by going HERE, creating a WordPress account, and paying WordPress for hosting. That might work perfectly for you if you have a blog or are just starting out. But you don’t have any support and frankly, even I can’t figure out some of these admin panels– and if I can’t do it, you gotta believe it’s hard. I would recommend other services (yes, I do) if you have little or no budget. WIX or Squarespace are my top two because the support is pretty good. But know that there are limitations of these services which include design and function.
  2. Cost of WordPress II: It’s that important. You can also purchase pretty nice WordPress themes in places like Theme Forest and have them installed by a developer for anywhere from $500 to $3500. Please use a US based team and get a contract with a complete understanding as to what that website is going to do for you, training hours, warranty, etc.
  3. WordPress Design: Do you think having a WordPress website means that you will look like everyone else? That is true if you buy a WordPress theme. But if uniqueness is important to you, please don’t go that route. Having a customized design is what will make your message stand out from the crowd, whether you are a non-profit, Fortune 500, or somewhere in between, your website should be unique. Not a template. For some kick apps examples take a look at a few of our WordPress designs: CLICK HERE
  4. What WordPress Can Do: WordPress web development is very flexible and with 1000’s of WordPress plugins, you almost can do everything from membership to e-commerce, to registration, data visualization, the list goes on and on. But when you have customized needs, it is going to take longer to bend someone else’s code (which is exactly what WordPress plug-ins are) that to create new code designed specifically for your needs.
  5. What WordPress can’t do: WordPress can do a lot (see what WordPress can do) but in order to tell you what it can’t do, we need to understand the details of your project. For example, we recently completed a customized registration system — similar to EventBrite. Could we have developed it in WordPress? Yes. We could have. But we would have been pulling out our hair because of the 100’s of customized needs that our client has would not be handled well by WordPress.
  6. WordPress Admin Panels: WordPress page types come in two forms: Pages and Posts. And I am not going to get into the details here BUT you really need to have a GREAT WordPress developer to help you with easy to manage navigation elements and page templates types that do not get jumbled when you add images and pictures. WordPress is not exactly a What You See is What You Get (wysiwyg) panel. (By the way, that is what we LOVE about Craft CMS, but it is more of an enterprise platform–i.e. $45K+ in cost)
  7. WordPress Plugins: The good, the bad, the ugly. What exactly is a PLUGIN? It is someone else’s code, that you purchase or download. That’s right. Someone else’s. That means perhaps 1000’s of other people have that code on their website. That also means that the bad guys – (yes they can be Russian or Nigerian or even from the Bronx) but never-the-less they are as*holes and screw up your code and wreck havoc on your website. Which means that you or your web developer have to be on constant watch for updates. And updates can take minutes or hours, depending on whether or not your styles are affected by the code changes. So, that’s the bad and the ugly. The good: a fairly quick and affordable way to get your website to function however you want. Within reason.
  8. WordPress Page Templates: You don’t have to suffer with really badly designed and developed page templates. Your web development team can and should make your templates easy to use and easy to content manage. Even though I am the CEO of We Are Immediate, I am rabid about making sure that our clients can easily use and update their WordPress websites. Our team has collectively worked long and hard to continue to improve the page structures and administrations of all of our clients’ page types.
  9. Timing: How long does it take to get a WordPress website? This really depends on your functionality needs are and whether or not you have a customized website. I can tell you that for our team to install a WordPress template it’s less than a day. It’s the design and customization of that template that takes much longer as well as adding content. That being said, in the years that we’ve been in business, we’ve only used a template once and vowed never again. And so we haven’t. Our customized WordPress timing usually takes between 3-5 months, again, depending on design and functionality needs.
  10. And finally: Do we recommend WordPress? Yes, we do. We love WordPress. For the right projects and the right functionality, WordPress is a winner. But not without its weaknesses.

Please read more about our WORDPRESS development process

September 14, 2016
by Lori Shecter

Pros and Cons of Using a WordPress as Your CMS

WordPressWe Are Immediate designs and develops in many content management systems, but the two most popular are WordPress and Drupal.  A less known CMS is Umbraco and is a Microsoft versus PHP based code.  And of course, for complex projects, we develop custom code.

But remember this, our clients often ask us about custom versus “open source” code.  Both terms are a misnomer and the reason for that is two-fold.  First, unless you purchase a template for WordPress or Drupal, there is going to be custom coding on your application.  This allows for more flexibility and function.  The reverse is that while all developers say they “custom code” CMS’s there is framework that is used – and that framework is either purchased or open source, so that no matter what content management system you use, you should be able to find another developer, should your developer win Lotto and retire to Southern Italy (my secret dream) or, worst case, you don’t like your development team.  In addition, your developer should provide you with a “run book” so that you can change to another development team.

The Pros

Back to using WordPress as your content management system.  After managing 100’s of CMS’s of all types,  here’s what I personally love about WordPress:

  1. Easy WordPress Development: My development team finds it easy to use. More or less.  The less part is when our client wants some super customized function that would be better served with a custom CMS solution
  2. Plug-ins: It has loads of plug-ins that make complex functions easier to develop, thus cutting down on time and, money
  3. Timing: We can easily help a client with a rush WordPress project and have gotten websites up and running, with fully loaded content in under a month.  That is not an easy thing to do, but it is why they call us IMMEDIATE!
  4. Community: There is a large community of WordPress developers, so our clients feel secure in case I win Lotto, close down the shop and move to Hawaii.
  5. Hosting: Hosting for a PHP site is easier to find and less expensive than Microsoft technologies.
  6. Functions: There are so many things you can do with WordPress such as create forums, a social media site, multi-site functionality, E-Commerce, link to CRM systems, Email Systems such as Mail Chimp and Constant Contact, Quick Books, and well, so many more that it is impossible to list everything here.
  7. Search Engine Optimization: For the most part, the SEO tools work pretty well in WordPress developed sites, but remember the secret to SEO is writing and creating backlinks too.  Simply setting it and forgetting it will not give you good SEO.
  8. Big Companies Use It: WordPress is not for small businesses anymore.  Companies such as Time Inc., Sony Music, Xerox, The New York Times, and even AMC currently use WordPress as their content management system.
  9. Control: Of course, the entire reason to have a content management system is so you can update it yourself.  That is exactly what WordPress allows you to do.  Fluently and frequently.
  10. Flexible: I really think this is important to state again. Because of all the WordPress developers out there, creating lots of plug-ins, a WordPress website can be almost anything you want it to be.

And now, the Cons

So it looks like WordPress is your dream CMS, right? But some of the things you love about WordPress can also be the things you don’t love so much.

  1. Plug-ins: Plug-ins are what we love to hate and hate to love.  They can be great,  but remember your development team is not developing them.  We are essentially embedding code of another developer.  So if that code breaks—we need to fix it, without the necessary runbook to make bug fixing faster.  In addition, the plug-ins might need to be updated if the developer has found vulnerabilities in their code.  Updates to any software can impact the design of your website, so each new code release must be planned and tested.
  2. WordPress Updates: WordPress updates their releases frequently, and similar to Plug-ins, these updates can impact the design of your website. Again, this takes time as well as effort and does cost money.
  3. Cost:  WordPress websites can be inexpensive if you purchase a template.  But having a custom developed website like the ones that We Are Immediate creates are not inexpensive, and they do take several months to get live.  The benefit of having a custom designed and developed WordPress website is that your website is unique to your business and doesn’t have the template feel of every WordPress website out there.
  4. Ease of Use: WordPress admin panels can be more difficult to use than a custom coded admin panel.  However, We Are Immediate makes every effort to create customized admin that helps non-technical people easily content manage their site.
  5. Performance: WordPress, because of the plug-ins can run slower.  The alternative is to have your team develop custom solutions for your WordPress website. The pro to that is your own code.  The con to that is more time and money.
  6. Spam: WordPress forms and comments can be vulnerable to spam so your development team must ensure a strong security host and captcha coding.
  7. HTML Editor/TEXT Editor: Some things are super complex to make easy to admin so if you want to save money, you need to learn some HTML.  Just a little.  But even that little bit can hurt a lot.

In the end, nothing is perfect and everything comes with its ups and downs.  Just have your eyes open when choosing a content management system and a development company.  For more information on how to hire a web development team, read our article here!

 

 

February 29, 2016
by Lori Shecter

Chosing best content management system

Content Management System WordPressThere are over 200 open source content management systems in the world (not including subscription based websites).  The We Are Immediate development team is expert at content management systems. Whether  WordPress, Drupal, Umbraco or a custom developed application, we are able to help our clients find the perfect solution based on their technical and design requirements.

We develop in three open source content management systems which include:  WordPress, Drupal and Umbraco.  For e-commerce, we use Magento, Woo-Commerce (an extension to WordPress) and Merchello (an extension to Umbraco).

But (and it’s a very big but) how should a company make a decision about which content management system to use?  It’s a little bit like religion or politics. If you speak to a Drupal developer, they will insist that Drupal be the CMS of choice.  The same is true with WordPress. I love Umbraco.  Um whaaaaat?  You probably never heard of Umbraco because it’s much more widely used in Europe than the US.  Why do I choose it? Because has a way more intuitive admin panel than either Drupal or WordPress , doesn’t have as many security issues needing software updates and most of the code is custom – once again limiting the amount of updates required.  But that’s my opinion, a mere layman when it comes to content management systems and technology.

After speaking with not only my team but also researching what others have to say about content management systems, below are the findings I uncovered.. This short list (in rank order) are my findings:

Easy for Admin:  All three of these systems can be taught, it is just the level of time, energy and effort it takes to learn them.

  • Umbraco
  • WordPress
  • Drupal

Ease of use for developers :

  • WordPress
  • Umbraco
  • Drupal

Enterprise Solutions:

Tie: Drupal and Umbraco

E-commerce plugins:  – that means you can turn your based website into a seamless e-commerce website .   All three have great solutions:

  • WordPress- Woo-Commerce
  • Umbraco – Merchello and Teacommerce (not to be confused with the Tea Party)
  • Drupal – Drupal commerce

My personal opinion is if you need an e-commerce store, go with Magento or Nop commerce- they ONLY do e-commerce, but that is another article all together!

Security– i.e. which CMS has the least amount of vulnerability when it comes to hackers destroying your site?  However, hacking can and should be prevented at the server level.

  • Umbraco
  • Drupal
  • WordPress

Finding a developer: WordPress by far is the most widely used CMS around the world, with Drupal second, Umbraco a far third.  However that doesn’t mean that you can’t find great developers in all three CMS’s.

Expense: This varies widely from developer to developer, which country you work with, whether or not you work with an independent contractor or a team.  We Are Immediate doesn’t   differentiate our fees based on the content management system you use.  Our fees are based on design elements and functionality of your website.

Questions?  Call me personally.  I am happy to help! 212-929-9980