Gravity Station • High End Web Design, Responsive Web Design, WordPress Themes http://gravitystation.com Professional Web Design, Responsive Web Design, WordPress Themes Sat, 13 Aug 2016 20:58:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 What Does It Mean To Convert A Website To WordPress? http://gravitystation.com/what-does-it-mean-to-convert-a-website-to-wordpress/ Thu, 15 Oct 2015 08:35:19 +0000 http://gravitystation.com/?p=498 So you have a 3 or 4 year old HTML website that you want to be able to manage, and perhaps start blogging. Since WordPress is so easy to work with, and used by even some of the largest corporations, it’s a no-brainer. WordPress seems the obvious choice.

So what needs to be considered?

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So you have a 3 or 4 year old HTML website that you want to be able to manage, and perhaps start blogging. Since WordPress is so easy to work with, and used by even some of the largest corporations, it’s a no-brainer. WordPress seems the obvious choice.

So what needs to be considered?

Website Review

First, a complete review of the site design, coding, and functionality are necessary to determine what needs to be done to migrate your content into a WordPress environment.

Coding

Since the coding is a few years old, this is a perfect time to go over it and see if there’s anything you need to change or want to improve upon. The HTML code you have will be broken up into “chunks” so to speak… separate files that make up the layout of your homepage, subpages, blog section, etc. and any custom pages that are significantly different, will be separate template files as well.

Are there any special areas, such as Call To Action areas on the homepage, or a portfolio for instance? If so, then those areas would be coded a little differently, so they can be managed easily in the admin, such as Custom Fields, or Custom Shortcodes might be needed (so you don’t have to learn HTML to manage your site.)

Functionality

Since WordPress offers so many plugins, it might be appropriate to replace your existing code for some of the functionality in your current site, such as Contact Forms, for instance.  Another option is to improve areas with new features and content, such as replacing an old static image with a slideshow or a full width video… maybe add a MailChimp subscription form to start gathering emails to keep in touch with customers.  If that’s the case, then installing a few Plugins would be useful.

Installation

Installing WordPress is easy but I do frown on the automatic installers that are available in your hosting control panel for several reasons. One of the most important, is that it keeps the “wp_” database table prefix which is not secure, among other things. Best to leave the installation process to a designer that will install it manually.

Migrating Content

Now that the coding is finished, it’s time to add your content. If your site is large, this can be a daunting task, but a lot of copy/paste will have to happen at some point.

There are a few instances where content can be imported using a Plugin, but these options are limited to only a handful of other platforms that can be imported this way.

WordPress Import Button

WordPress Importer Plugins

If your site is not one of those platforms, and it’s way too gigantic to start typing (hundreds of pages, for instance) you would probably want to hire a programmer to code an importer for you, or convert your old database for import… if you don’t have a database, we’re back to copy/pasting again…

New Hosting Provider?

If your old host isn’t cutting it anymore, this is a perfect opportunity to improve your site’s performance, security, and reliability by moving to a better host. To do that, you’ll need to make sure you have your Domain Registar login credentials handy because you’ll need to point your DNS (domain name servers) to the new hosting account.

Resources For More Information

WordPress Requirements

WordPress Features

Recommended Hosting Providers

Media Temple

Liquid Web

WPengine

Blue Host (if you’re on a tight budget, they are “ok”)

For The Techy-Types

Smashing Magazine Article

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Custom WordPress Themes vs. Third-Party WordPress Themes http://gravitystation.com/custom-wordpress-themes-vs-third-party-wordpress-themes/ Fri, 23 Jan 2015 16:02:21 +0000 http://gravitystation.com/?p=133 Everyone who's dabbled with building their own WordPress website has seen the vast repository of free WP themes available, or the commercial themes that are out there. Likewise, we've all seen the multitude of design firms that tout "custom" and really end up manipulating a third-party theme for their clients (shhhh... not pointing any fingers here.)

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We’re sour on third-party WordPress themes for a good reason

Everyone who’s dabbled with building their own WordPress website has seen the vast repository of free WP themes available, or the commercial themes that are out there. Likewise, we’ve all seen the multitude of design firms that tout “custom” and really end up manipulating a third-party theme for their clients (shhhh… not pointing any fingers here.)

Why not just use a pre-built theme and call it a “custom” WordPress website?

A true Custom WP theme is built from the ground up, not only for the purposes of customization, but for security reasons as well. Not all third party themes are risky, but there are quite a few out there that have been compromised time and time again, allowing hackers to access your site, take it down, deface it, use your email to send spam, overload your bandwidth, the list goes on. I won’t mention any names here out of courtesy to those developers, but if you search for theme vulnerabilities you’ll see a long list of culprits. I myself have cleaned up several hacked websites (many of which used themes that were purchased and listed on security feeds to warn developers). The cost to clean up a hacked website is more costly than doing it right the first time around.

If you value your reputation, your business, your customers, and your money, a custom website is the way to go.

Has Your Website Been Hacked?

Many vulnerabilities are traced back to themes (and plugins, but that’s another article for another day). There are many resources to check for the latest vulnerabilities, such as Intelligent Exploit or the Wordfence blog, but that doesn’t mean every theme and plugin is listed there before hundreds of sites are compromised.

According to an article by PC World about the Slider Revolution exploit sold by Code Canyon:

“Many developers use third-party components and libraries in their own software projects and fail to keep up with their security updates. This can lead to situations where a vulnerability is identified and fixed in a software package, but lingers on for months or years in other applications.”

That’s only one of the reasons themes can become compromised over time. Another reason may be the custom components built in to the the theme administration panels, where coding becomes outdated and neglected, leaving a backdoor open for hackers. It’s best to Keep It Simple, Sally… all that extra code to create “ease of use” admin panels that comes packed in themes that boast huge amounts of custom components for you, may not be such a great idea after all…

Ready To Replace That Old Third-Party Theme?

We are too! Contact us for a Free Consultation and find out how we can help your site look and function better, while securing your site too!

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Why Use WordPress? http://gravitystation.com/why-use-wordpress/ Fri, 23 Jan 2015 15:59:50 +0000 http://gravitystation.com/?p=131 Why is WordPress such a popular platform, and what are the pros and cons of using WordPress as a content management system and blog platform?

WordPress is by far, the most popular software used today as a Content Management System and Blog Platform, dominating the web with the largest growing community of programmers contributing free and commercial Plugins to expand it's functionality.

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Why is WordPress such a popular platform, and what are the pros and cons of using WordPress as a content management system and blog platform?

WordPress is by far, the most popular software used today as a Content Management System and Blog Platform, dominating the web with the largest growing community of programmers contributing free and commercial Plugins to expand it’s functionality.

Besides being cross-platform compatible, WordPress is constantly being improved and managed by it’s original developers and it’s admin interface is one of the most intuitive and easy-to-use that I’ve seen. The most recent release on December 18, 2014, version 4.1, boasts a record high of 283 core contributors – so lots and lots of programmers all contributing to building an Open Source platform that is constantly being managed.

Oh, and you can publish posts using iOS and Android apps!

What About WordPress Security?

As for vulnerabilities, that’s not uncommon – all software is vulnerable, whether it’s a government site, bank site, or your home computer.  After years of working with WordPress, I’ve found that they tend to address issues fairly quickly though (much faster than the gov. healthcare platform was… ahem).

However, it never hurts to be safe, so to make sure WordPress sites are secure, we do recommend our WordPress Security Package and on-going Monthly WordPress Security Maintenance Package.’

Who Uses WordPress?

According to various surveys, research, and news articles, approximately 74 million websites are built using WordPress as of 2015, and that number continuously increases as time goes on. Some of the most popular websites in the public eye are built using WordPress, many of which are brands we are all familiar with, including: Mercedes Benz, Smithsonian Institute, Time, Vogue, New York Post, The New Yorker, and hundreds more.

Is WordPress The Perfect Solution For Everyone? Not necessarily.

While WP is a great CMS and/or blogging platform, not everyone plans to update their website with new content (not a good idea, of course, but it’s an unfortunate truth.) While fresh content is always the best and easiest way to keep your website in search engine results, some people just don’t have the time to write new content, or even log in and perform necessary updates. For most, it’s a perfect solution, but for those that are too busy to manage their own site, we offer Website Maintenance Packages for content and design updates so your site doesn’t become so stagnant that it drops out of search engine results (whether you use WP or not).

For those that don’t want to use WP for whatever reason, we are happy to develop professional, custom HTML5 Responsive Websites without a WP base, but we don’t recommend self-management unless you are a developer.

What Can You Do With WordPress?

Right out-of-the-box, you can use WordPress to start blogging, control your Menus and create new ones (for instance, if you want additional sidebar menus), showcase your photos in a gallery, post videos without having to edit code, and even create static “Pages” that are separate from blog posts so you can use it as a Content Management System whether you blog or not. What’s really nice is that WordPress is very easily indexed in search engines, making your SEO efforts more efficient.

To add functionality, you can install Plugins that allow you to optimize your website for search engines (SEO) page by page, engage your visitors with social sharing, keep track of visitors, show your latest tweets or instagram pics, etc… You can even use WordPress solely for the purpose of Ecommerce!

The Difference Between WordPress.com and WordPress.org

In the past this question has been seldomly raised, but just to clear the air…

WordPress.com is a free service that allows you to create an account and create your own site or blog using a free theme from their Themes Repository (no, it cannot be customized completely.) Professional websites are not built using this method, but it’s probably fine for your cousin’s blog about her reptiles ;)

WordPress.org is what we use… That is where the full WordPress core software can be downloaded, which is then uploaded to your hosting account and installed on your server. A professional designer will use this method to design a custom WordPress theme from scratch, rather than be forced to use a pre-built theme.

Need More Answers?

This is a perfect opportunity to discuss your own site and ask as many questions as you need.

Contact us for a Free Website Consultation to find out if we’re a good fit for your project!

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