My WordPress website design skills have greatly improved in the past few years. I’m now working at a solidly advanced intermediate level. My process of designing sites has become more technically correct, and I’ve started incorporating more custom code and advanced customizations into sites I build.
The reasons for redesigning STARAvian.org included:
- This year I’ve changed to less expensive, quicker loading, and higher end frameworks. The previous framework (ithemes) I did not renew my membership with. Since late 2013, I have based my new designs on other theme frameworks, and built custom child themes based on basic starter themes. This is a MAJOR advancement, technically, from customizing out an existing theme.
- This particular theme is using the wootheme framework, so that it can seamlessly integrate ecommerce.
- Improved structure and layouts. My coding skills have improved, and the current site reflects that.
- To match “best practices” for nonprofit webdesign, including more of a focus on getting donations, better integration of contact forms and lead generation, ecommerce styling and integration, and better styling for events.
- This new theme and framework are flexible, and VERY ecommerce friendly. For $49, STAR can integrate http://www.woothemes.com/products/name-your-price/ , which will enable people to sponsor birds, and seamlessly check out when they buy calendars, downloadable videos, or other physical or digital products.
- I modified the code of the ecommerce to change “shop” to “support us” and “products” to “items”. This way the wording is most flexible for accommodating sponsoring birds, buying products, sending donations, and even buying services or tickets to an event. This is some custom code which I am very proud of.
- We had some database and code clashing issues with the previous site. Sometimes code just goes out of date, and developers quit updating it. Similar happened with a hotel site, but they decided to discontinue the room booking capability anyway. This site version uses better supported, better written code than the previous site. What was being done with 34 plugins is now being accomplished with 17 absolutely necessary pieces of code (not counting the parts that I custom coded into the theme).
I am a bit of a perfectionist about my work, because I want to ONLY have my very best out there. I would upgrade all client sites for free, but then I would never make any money. As a longterm volunteer with STAR Avian Rescue, I donated my time and skills towards making their site the very best that it could be.