Client: Erik Swenson is a master wood turner, making jewelry and sculptures out of woods native to the Pacific Northwest.
Project Description: Custom web design with blog implementation, native shopping cart, image slider, domain email, SEO, mailing list, and content management system deployed on a cloud server/sesame seed bun.
The Inside Scoop
Erik’s business has seen consistent growth, and he was ready to have a site that could keep up. We’re talking informational pages, image slider, artist’s portfolio, blog, shopping cart, mailing list—the works.
One of the biggest challenges was setting up the shopping cart to be as richly featured as possible while keeping the overhead—both in terms of plugin costs, and server processes—as low as possible. Fortunately, some of the work I did for Leoni Montenegro helped steer me in the right direction.
For example, Erik wanted the base prices, rather than the price range, of his items to show in the catalog. With some clever CSS, I was able to manipulate WooCommerce’s built-in price display without having to crack the plugin open. In this way, we were able to avoid expensive plugin packages altogether.
I setup Erik’s email through FastMail (afflink), my all time favorite email service provider, and used MailChimp (afflink) for his email list. Now when someone checks out through his site, their email is automatically added to a list in MailChimp (unless the customer opts out).
The other huge focus for the site was speed optimization, since blog, cart, and the content management (WordPress), can all tax the server pretty badly when they’ve a mind to.
I set up the site on a VPS server at DigitalOcean (afflink), and then optimized Erik’s WordPress installation to take advantage of the cloud server’s speed boost capabilities.
Between page caching, minifying, and aggressive database management, I was able to improve the clock speeds of the site to the point where, even on a minimal VPS, it runs pretty quick.
My Favorite Part
The “Recent Products” section on the front page which automatically updates with the most recent additions to Erik’s catalog.
See the results: