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Agencies, Get Your Act Together

This post is kind of secret, intended for RSS subscribers only. It’s a bit of a rant, too, mostly aimed at “non-coding WordPress developers.” Sorry!

I use WordPress, a lot. It helps me build accessible, good-looking sites really quickly.

In that sense, the different WordPress APIs (Meta Box, Widgets, HTTP, Transients, WP-Cron, etc.) are a joy to work with. I also love (writing) very simple plugins that do one thing very well.

I’m often confronted with client sites that are a mess. Plugins all over the place, a ‘premium’ theme offering a gazillion ‘options’, a boatload of JavaScript on every page, unnecessarily slowing down even the simplest of brochure sites.

WordPress is simple, guys and gals. It is accessible and reasonably fast. Let’s keep it that way.

Use themes you actually understand. Forget about carousel and scroll-linked animations plugins. You can—but probably shouldn’t—add those later on, on your own, using very few lines of code.

Made-to-order sites do not need a ton of menu options, or color pickers. We’ve got CSS for that! It’s faster, it’s code—source control!—and you’ll actually remember where to change it two weeks down the line.

Use child themes to customize and extend. Use a site-specific must-use plugin for anything that isn’t theming, so that sites do no longer break when clients switch themes.

Tweak the admin interface. Don’t leave clients confused with a million plugin options pages.

Change the admin menu order. Put oft-used stuff way up there, and everything else way below. Get rid of unnecessary widgets. Entire widget areas even, that are never going to be used.

None of that is hard. There’s this huge framework for it. It’s called WordPress.

Now, in order to be able to build sites for clients, go learn HTML, PHP, CSS and JavaScript.