So you say you want a new website * Rough & Ready Media
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What is WordPress and why are custom themes the best choice

Your business’ or nonprofit’s website hasn’t been updated in a while and is just looking … tired. So you begin looking for someone who can refresh it for you. You search, using the most high-tech, bleeding-edge method available. That’s right, you ask around.

Whether you are a dissatisfied boss or your employer assigns you the task, most people look at websites they admire and ask who did them, or they email business friends and acquaintances, asking who they’ve heard does good work at a reasonable price.

Doing a Google search — you know you will — for “best website builder” reveals various top-10 lists of DIY products promising, as a c|net article does, “Popular website builders … make it painless for even a newbie to create a polished site in a relatively short period of time … .”

But you note that none of the people you asked mentioned the DIY route. And if you don’t know SHTML from Shinola, you are leery of the term “learning curve,” even if it’s promised to be a small one. If you are a bit more versed in things technical, you’ve probably learned that such work is best left to the professionals.

(Spoiler alert!) A name of a Sarasota web development firm keeps popping up, and you contact it and two others for bids.

One, a big company, says it offers 24-hour support and quick work by its team of developers. It says its employees all speak English and work overnight so they are awake during U.S. time zones.

Another points you to a website showing hundreds of off-the-shelf site-design themes built with  something called WordPress, which it describes as free and open-source content-management-system software. The screenshots shown don’t quite fit your vision of what you hope your new site will look like or do. But you pick three of the least disappointing and ask the company about using them. The company might explain that two of them use WordPress extensions called plugins that have proven prone to crashes or are vulnerable to hackers. Maybe the developer of the third theme hasn’t responded to support requests since 2017.

Even without serious problems, these pre-packaged themes are inflexible and force your staff and your business or nonprofit to adapt to them rather than the site being designed and built to optimize how it serves your organization, its employees and its clients/customers.

Our heroes are the Sarasota-based web-development company, a thinly disguised Rough & Ready Media. Surprise!

Rough & Ready’s staff promises to consult with you about how your business works and to custom-make your website to meet its needs and your expectations. If you can benefit from more information about what the possibilities are, the staff will help. Sometimes, discussions about how the site can function leads to a fruitful re-examination of the organization’s procedures.

These promises are backed by a written formal contract.

A customized theme, whether by Rough & Ready or another firm, offers many advantages at minimal additional cost. But some benefits, while not necessarily unique to Rough & Ready, are among the things the company offers:

  • Speed — The sites’ information and graphics are optimized to appear and respond to clicks quickly. (DIY packages, to make them simple, are layered with code that slows their responses.)
  • Security — R&R follows strict security guidelines, making sure your site has no vulnerabilities that could be taken advantage of by bad actors. It knows every single part of the software it uses and minimizes its use of plugins to those it knows are trustworthy.
  • Scale — R&R’s sites can be expanded and more features can be added to them as needed.
  • Support — The R&R staff is quick to respond and takes its relationships with its clients seriously.
  • Accessibility — R&R sites are built so everyone, regardless of physical ability, can access its information and services by meeting or exceeding WCAG 2.1 & ADA standards. This need is something that businesses and nonprofits often require education about.
  • Follow through — Because R&R builds the site, it is committed to making sure your site works and that it works for your staff. It makes a site that the client’s staff can update; it also offers maintenance contracts to handle those chores if that is the client’s preference.
  • Being future proof — Businesses and organizations might seek security in hiring large companies to build their sites. But it’s more important to hire a company that uses  common, open-source software like WordPress that it customizes with commonly used, nonproprietary programming languages. Once a site is finished and turned over, the client owns it and, if needed, can have any competent developer change it in the future.

For more information about Rough & Ready and how its WordPress custom themes can work for you, please visit its contact page.

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