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Powered By WordPress 3.0

Reading NikNik’s recent post on the MTO redesign takes me back to a lot of great times in blogging. It also reminds me of a lot of the challenges we faced in being early adopters of the WordPress platform.

Many times, our vision didn?t coincide with the current technology. That is when having a ?mad scientist? like Reggie came in handy. He would always find a way to introduce new features that amazed us.

By 2010, the world of WordPress had caught up to our vision in a lot of ways. The problem was, MyTechOpinion was built on such a highly customized template, that taking advantage of advancements in WordPress was getting difficult.

Time for a Reboot

After a lot of deliberation, we decided to start over. The only things saved were the blog posts. Everything else was scrapped.

Looking back, it was really the only choice we had.

Building for WordPress 3.0

There is a huge difference between upgrading to WordPress 3.0 and building for it. So many features just aren?t utilized as well as they could be.

If your template wasn?t developed for 3.0, consider moving on.

Frameworks

While you are looking at your current template, if it isn?t built on a framework, consider moving on.

A framework is essentially a platform that sits between your theme and WordPress. It adds functionality without a lot of plugins. This is the future of WordPress development.

In our book, Genesis is the only framework to build on.

?Imagine your WordPress site is a new Mercedes. Installing Genesis is like getting the AMG package.?

Real World Benefits

What did the redesign really do for our blog? Here is a quick overview:

WordPress 3.0 Features

Starting on Blogger and then into an early version of WordPress, made our database a mess.

The biggest issue was that of post images. They were stored in multiple directories, making the built-in media gallery nearly useless. These random image folders also caused issues with our backup system.

Through countless hours of scrubbing, all of our blog posts are now using the WordPress media library system. (Thank you to Carole Bonds for the help).

Now, every post has a ?Featured Image?. Doesn?t seem like much, but don?t those sidebar and excerpt thumbnails look good?

A Dozen Plugins

Plugins are amazing, but they can also be problematic. Plugins can cause compatibility issues, slower page loads and can be abandoned leaving you looking for an alternative.

Building with WordPress 3.0 and Genesis in mind, our current site is running with only 12 plugins.

Some of the plugins we no longer need are:

  • WP-Pagination
  • Page-Links-To
  • All-In-SEO Pack
  • Sociable
  • Featured Posts/Pages
  • Breadcrumb Navigation
  • Author Boxes

Simplified Coding

The general focus of the redesign was to simplify. This sounds easy, but keeping web design simple takes a lot of planning and foresight.

Thanks to Genesis, the finished code is much cleaner and lighter.

  • Through Genesis function calls, our theme has fewer template pages.
  • Utilizing Genesis Simple Sidebars, each category can now have different sidebar widgets without writing a single line of PHP code.

?Reggie-Free? Upgrades

The old MTO environment was so customized that upgrading by anyone other than Reggie was dangerous. WordPress and plugin upgrades could literally break the site. I speak of this from experience (Oops!).

Since we haven?t figured out how to clone Reggie, yet, we must use his limited time wisely.

The new MTO was built so that our development team at Agent Evolution can handle all maintenance of the site.

Now, the mad scientist can focus on the next big idea to change the shape of real estate technology blogging.

Time for your WordPress 3.0 Redesign?

Have you been blogging on WordPress for a while? It might be a good time for you to consider ?starting over?, as well.

About Chad A. Johnson

Chad A. Johnson is the President/COO of Agent Evolution, a social media education and WordPress web design firm. Through his multiple roles at Agent Evolution, Chad stays on top of the latest in WordPress development and business operations technology. Allow him to share WordPress tweaks, cloud computing services, and much more through his MTO posts.