Applied Systems

Spokencode connected with Applied Systems, an international company that builds cloud-based technology & software to automate independent insurance agencies. They wanted a new WordPress theme that presented their content in a media forward way.

The client provided design was based on the Applied Systems corporate website built on Marketo. They wanted a theme that was more manageable and easier to modify for content creators than their previous efforts. We agreed that custom code would be reinventing the wheel for a simple blog and was the wrong approach. After discussing various options, they decided Beaver Builder, Beaver Themer and Ultimate Addons for Beaver Builder would give them the drag & drop, point & click editing they wanted.

We scheduled an initial kick-off meeting to transfer the design files and existing WordPress exports. We also agreed upon a time for a weekly team meeting.

Spokencode got to work on the local development environment. After import and upon using the provided content, it was realized that the old content didn’t support the new design. Where the new design was media driven and displayed a dynamic image for each post, the actual content had no Featured Image specified for any posts. Without specifying a Featured Image, there is no ability to dynamically display an image based on the post. Additionally, posts had an “Author Profile” attached to them. However, the profile was statically copied into each post. Therefore, if the author or their profile changed, it would require changing them in each and every post.

The Applied Systems marketing team understood these issues and recognized that the content would require work on their end to support the desired design. Over the course of 3-4 weeks, we modified enough content to complete the build. We then decide to migrate the build to the client server for testing and review.

Unfortunately, Spokencode knew this would be our biggest problem. It was brought up in earlier meetings. Large companies feel they already have the resources to host WordPress and choose to do it internally. But, properly migrating a WordPress site requires access to the database. However, the IT department never wants to provide that access. A migration that should take just an hour, turns into days of back-and-forth over where Software A is installed, who has the proper permissions, which resource is the subject matter expert etc. Eventually it worked out but required far more resources than necessary.

Pro Tip: WordPress is ubiquitous. It’s free to use and cheap run. Monthly, top-tier managed and optimized WordPress hosts can be secured for less than the cost of one hour of an IT employee’s time. Don’t host WordPress internally. It’s a waste of time and money. Sure it can be done. That’s what makes it great. But is it worth it? No! Get hosting!

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Jason R.