Wednesday, 12 December 2007
Conscious that I'm submerged in another project and hence neglecting this site, I thought I would share a valuable lesson - something I've touched on before.
A lot of my sites now follow the same kind of design principles - so much so, I have built a standard template that can be adapted in half an hour to suit most of my sites.
Furthermore, scripts I use get recycled too. My current project architecture will be used on two sites. All I'll have to do is change a configuration file.
So in a nutshell, here's the benefits of recycling your websites.
1 - Save Time
The major bonus of having a folder full of templates (e.g. Wordpress, static website, etc) or scripts is that you can rapidly develop a site. If you have a basic Wordpress template, you can use this on umpteen websites and just simply change the colours.
The best example of this I know of is Lee McCoy's Get Visible Blogs site. There you'll find dozens of blog screenshots and they all follow the same sort of design principles. All Lee has to do is modify a template, install Wordpress and upload the theme. Hey presto, a new website.
By reusing or slightly redesigning templates, or reusing scripts, you can save a lot of what would have been wasted time.
2 - Save Money
Not techy minded? Do you hire the services of a tech person? If you do, you'll be familiar with the phrase "time is money". By reusing a template or script, you can save on development costs. And the more you use it, the cheaper each incarnation becomes.
For example, we've paid £1,000 for a script. If we can use it on 10 sites, that equates to a development cost of £100 per site - significantly better than the £1,000 for one site!
Just make sure that all the variables are placed in one file so that it is possible to easily edit them.
3 - Similar Results
Once you find a layout or script that works, you can reproduce it across your portfolio. If you don't have to worry about the layout because you have a 'template' template, you can put more effort into content. The same goes for a script.
You may also be interested in reading:
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I'm with you on this. I've only recently discovered WP but am now a huge fan. The best advice I'd offer to anyone using WP is to ensure you personalise it rather than just throw it up. That doesn't mean spending a lot of time on it - just changing the colour may be enough.
Written on Wednesday 12 December 2007 at 09:55:10 GMT (Permalink)
Great article and such common sense is often overlooked. It is also topical for me as this week I've been documenting my process for creating new sites. My aim is simple enough and will be shared by many others i.e. I want to get from initial idea for a niche and registering an appropriate domain, to having with a fully functioning WordPress site (that has been previously customised with my favourite plugins and small script tweaks here and there) in one day, which includes in some cases the integration of Affilistore or third party scripts for handling data feeds, web analytics etc.
Barring any unforeseen delays with the domain registration and changing of namservers, I have been managing this consistently by following a documented plan. I should also point out that this includes setting up a PPC campaign. The only other delay out with my control would be awaiting merchant(s) approval for a new site.
So, from initial conception to driving traffic and (hopefully) generating sales and those all important commissions, a tried and tested approach works very well. You certainly hit the nail on the head in terms of saving time, money and ensuring consistent results.
Of course, as we should always be striving to improve, be it landing page conversions, SEO etc. I often find that several minor improvements can be implemented from one site to the next and usually keep a note of these changes by assigning version numbers to my master folder and set of files. Perhaps this is taking it too far but I find it useful should I ever wish to roll back if something isn't working for me.
I would also suggest that it does no harm to read over related articles from time to time that you may have previously bookmarked. For example, "Blog Setup: 40 Practical Tips" (http://www.dailyblogtips.co...) is one I found to be an excellent checklist. I also keep an eye out for any new WordPress plug-ins that would add value, but I would stress that they must add value. I always try to guard against adding the latest and greatest plug-ins if there are no compelling reasons i.e. will it bring me more traffic?, speed up my site?, improve SEO?, convert more visitors to buyers? etc.
Speaking of plug-ins, "Top WordPress Plugins" (http://www.shankrila.com/te...) is another list I would recommended for anyone thinking about preparing their 'perfect' recyclable package.
I still abide by the golden rule of quality over quantity at all times of course!
Written on Wednesday 12 December 2007 at 10:28:57 GMT (Permalink)
Very thouht provoking, I am also developing a system where by I can speed up the website creation, Content, Indexing, custom scripts, and reporting. So that it is much easier to put my finger on what works where.
Written on Wednesday 12 December 2007 at 14:18:39 GMT (Permalink)
@Steven - Thanks for the comment and useful links.
@Vijay Teach Me $$ - You've hit the nail on the head there.
Written on Thursday 13 December 2007 at 10:36:53 GMT (Permalink)
Great post. I too am working on developing a similar strategy. For a period I was building all of my sites from scratch and that is such a waste of time. Creating your own template that you modify is a much better option. That way content creation is the main thing that I can focus on. But thanks for the post and advice.
Written on Tuesday 24 November 2009 at 00:02:49 GMT (Permalink)
Thank you to all previous commenters.
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