One of my many WordPress freelance projects I am working on is UKlocum. This is one of the many projects I have received from my dear client from Poland, Greg. When Greg contacted me for this project explaining what he wanted to do, he asked me if this could be done with WordPress. He had seen the potential of WordPress in other previous smaller projects we worked on. Before that, he had thought of getting it custom made from scratch, which would have cost him too much. So, I told him WordPress could handle it and we decided to go with WordPress. This site was a real challenge in terms of functionality and all this post is about is that WordPress handles perfectly CMS websites.
This project was pretty urgent and I could not afford to design a new theme from scratch, having a lot of other works in hand. So I decided to go for a free WordPress theme and tweak it to fit my needs. I looked around and I can say that the theme community of WordPress is doing a great job. What I decided to go for is the Magazeen theme that was featured at Smashing Magazine too. Do you want to know what I tweaked? Read on…
Theme Code Cleaning
As you may already know, coders code differently. That is why getting your hands dirty with others people’s code is not a very enjoyable experience, moreover, sometimes it is a real pain. That was the case even with Magazeen which I expected to be better coded. The problem with code was that there where redundant use of DIVS and not logical cascading of CSS. This is my humble opinion – check it yourslef to be sure.
Most of code clearing was easy as it consisted in just removing functionality that the theme came prepacked with such as comments form, advanced widgets, thumbs gallery other elements that I cannot recall now, but it is quite boring and frustrating in other tasks as the drop down menu integration below.
Suckerfish drop down menu integration
The Magazeen theme did not come with a drop down menu, so I needed to integrate one as my client, Greg, required it. Not going into much trouble, I decided to use the Suckerfish Drop Down Menu which I had used several times previously. Because the code was messy, the most difficult part was fitting the theme code to the menu rather than integrating the drop down menu to the theme. However, it ended to be a success.
Custom Banner Integration
The custom banner integration consisted in removing some code from the banner section and placing the banner image there. Also, to help SEO of the site, I used a CSS image replacement techinque for the logo so that the human fisitors can see the nice image logo whereas the search engines read the given text wrapped in <h1> html tags.
Color Combination Alteration
Pawel, my client’s graphic designer, suggested that we used another color combination that would go better with the logo and banner colors. I implemented that color combination and it resulted in another success.
Welcome Guest or User
Under the menu, I integrated a piece of PHP code from WordPress to welcome a guest visitor and to tell them to log in or to register and also to greet a registered user and to allow them to log out from front page or any other part of the site, so that not to make them to spend time and click to go to admin panel to log out.
Extended User Register
Because of the nature of the site and the needs of my client, he asked me if we could extend the register form with other fields. So I did, using a great plugin called Register Plus. This is a very feature reach plugin which would allow you do almost anything with your register page, from having your custom logo to adding a lot of functionality and fields. I want to immensely thank the plugin’s developer for offering such a great plugin to the WordPress community.
The most impressing part of the UKLocum is the Events Manager. The Events Manager is a plugin developed by Davide Benini. It allows you to manage events specifying precise spatial data such as location, town, province, etc. It allows your visitors to book their participation in listed events. In my opinion it is the best plugin out there for event management.
When my client, Greg, saw it, he was enthusiastic about it. However, we had to face a challenge with the events. We needed to have people register first for the site, after that they would be able to book the events. Taking in consideration that the plugin developers have fulfilled almost any need in functionality terms, I found the solution fast enough. I employed the HidePost to accomplish that task, just another great plugin out there. I hid the booking form from not logged in visitors, telling them to log in or register, if not, to be able to book the event. That was the happy end of our next challenge.
What would be the last words of this long boring post? Hmmm! As you could have already deducted from reading this post, WordPress is being more and more important in nowadays web environment. Also, running WordPress freelance business (perhaps that’s not the right collocation) is a great way to make a living by making money online. The last but not the least, if you need a custom WordPress theme or other WordPress services and, if you are looking for a professional and reliable WordPress freelancer, look no further than my contact page.
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