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ICanLocalize.com is using WordPress

It was hard work, but it’s definitely worth it. We’re now using WordPress as the content management system for our own icanlocalize.com.

Why we migrated to WordPress?

First, some background. Before that, our own site was built using a bunch of HTML files. It started as a few files (5), then gradually grew.

As we added more contents, we kept adding pages.

At some point in time, we semi-automated it by writing a Python script which managed the navigation. It created the top menu and breadcrumbs trail, but it still was a lot of work managing it.

For every update, we needed to rebuild everything, test and upload. This made us think many times before touching anything.

Then, came the translations…

We can translate sites built with static HTML files, but it’s not trivial. Whenever we update in one place, everywhere in 6 languages has to update. It’s a long and expensive process.

A CMS let’s us concentrate on contents

Any content management system (CMS) we would choose would be OK. The highlight of content management systems is that you only handle contents. The CMS handles the site’s structure.

Sounds trivial? It isn’t.

As you get more and more contents, organized into sections, managing the site’s structure becomes much more work than managing the contents.

Why we chose WordPress

We’re pretty fluent in both WordPress and Drupal. Drupal is an excellent choice for building complex sites. ICanLocalize.com mostly displays ‘static’ contents, so WordPress pages do the trick fine.

WordPress, out of the box, includes most of the things we needed (pages, posts, categories and a great visual editor). Here are the plugins that we’re using to complete the picture:

our multilingual CMS plugin that allows running in several languages and creates the fancy navigation we’re using.
Support Tickets
A multilingual support ticket system that we use on our contact page.
Pods CMS
allows creating custom data types. We’re using it for testimonials throughout the site.
After The Deadline
a cool grammar, writing-style and spelling checker.
filters 99% of the SPAM without bothering folks.
Lightbox 2
shows images in AJAX frames.
Smart Youtube
Allows embedding YouTube movies easily in posts and pages.

The move

Overall, it took 4 weeks and about $2500.

The new site is built using ThemeHybrid, which helped reduce the theme coding by at least 70%. Our child theme inherits all the CSS attributes and HTML structure, so we could spend our energy on our own stuff.

Tammy Hart did the graphics design for us, providing a solution which is both beautiful and functional (at least, we think so).

For us, it’s the first time we’ve split the work between a graphics designer and an expert programmer. It turned out great, as each could concentrate on what he (she) does best, without wasting time struggling with the other part.

In about 2 weeks we had the graphics design ready and it took another 2 weeks to complete the programming. Then, another few days to rebuild the contents (we took this opportunity to rewrite much of the site’s contents).

BTW, we documented some of the steps needed for ordering your own custom WordPress design.

Like the new site? Comments and suggestions are always welcome!