It has been a very long time since I last worked on a website for my bro, a log burner and wood stove installer in Birmingham. Being a web developer for the majority of the last two decades, you would think this would be a pretty easy thing to do, but it’s a little more involved than that! I always take a look at other sites in and around the local area (Birmingham, UK) before I embark on a redesign. There isn’t much modern competition in the log burner/multi fuel stove space, most sites actually appeared quite dated.
A good chunck of the websites you see today have been put together by some kind of content management software, you’ve probably heard of SquareSpace and Wix. To hand-roll a solution that can compete with the looks of a modern website would take some serious effort, not to mention a lot of help from my graphic designer wife! So… I did distract her from a project for a moment to get the low down on the latest and greatest features of the software she uses. She recommended WordPress. Why?
- Open source, highly maintained project
- Easy to host with AWS
- Simple to customise
- SEO friendly
- Responsive for different screen sizes
- Great media management
- Accessible for the visually impaired
- 1000’s of plugins and themes
Some of the customisations I specifically made to WordPress for the log burner website:
- Kallyas theme by Hogash
- Royalty free images and video
- Google Services: Maps API & reCaptcha
- Yoast SEO
- Image optimisation
- Of course: some custom rolled CSS!
- Custom fire video loop
One of my more proud achievements was the video loop of a fire for the desktop version of the site. A YouTube video on how to loop fire assets started with a “how not to do it”, which was actually the perfect way to do it in my case. Less than an hours work in Adobe Premier Pro and I had a seemless 3Mb loop hosted in an AWS S3 Bucket.
Posted by: Ian Brown
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