The Days Before WordPress

3 min read

Traci Cumbay, writer/producer, sits down with Well Done Marketing President Scott Woolgar to talk about the company’s commitment to the WordPress framework, content marketing, solving problems for clients.

Traci Cumbay: Hey, Scott.
Scott Woolgar: Cumbay.

TC: Tell me about the olden times. The days before WordPress.
SW: Those were dark days. Expensive days. We built websites from scratch. Everything was hand-coded, even the content management systems that ran the sites. It’d take us a year to build a site, and then . . . not much happened.

TC: No fireworks?
SW: No. Clients were blowing their entire budgets on construction of their website, and six months later were wondering why nothing great was happening with the fancy website they spent so much money on. It was fine. I mean, it was the way everyone did it then. But we decided to find a way to cut the time and cost of building a site so dramatically that clients would have money left over to commit to an ongoing content strategy, which is what makes sites work. We didn’t want to be in the website-building business but in the making a website awesome business.

TC: Enter WordPress.
SW: Not right away, but yeah. We took about six months to check out our options, and WordPress stood out. At the time, it was a framework that enabled you to create blog sites using templates. It’s not built for nerds; it’s built for writers, which fit what we wanted to do — build the site and keep the content coming. We decided to put all chips in WordPress and become the best, smartest WordPress website development shop we could be.

TC: You’re still talking BC.

TC: Before Cumbay. So how’d you get from that decision to where we are now?
SW: We made sure we got the right people, and we became really good at designing sites that didn’t look templated. We can build any site we envision, and it doesn’t look like WordPress.

TC: Which, I imagine, cut down on cost by a ton.
SW: It did. We never had to charge a client for content management again. WordPress is free to them and free to us. We can build sites in a quarter of the time it used to take, for a quarter of the price, and we can focus that much more attention on creating content and an ongoing content strategy to build a web audience and increase it over time. Now we build custom themes, custom plug-ins. We code our WordPress sites to be immediately mobile-friendly. And then anyone can upload content and have it look great.

TC: It’s pretty easy to figure out. I mean, I can do it, so . . .
SW: Totally. They have unbelievable training resources, but we can show a newbie how to use it in about 15 minutes. It used to be impossible for content creators to post directly to the web. The writer would write, the designer would lay it out, and then the programmer would put up the content for you. It could take weeks.

TC: Now it happens immediately. Or, in my case, about half an hour.
SW: Right. So 30 minutes versus 20 man-hours—or more—to get a post written and published.

TC: Is that sexist? I think that’s sexist.
SW: Person-hours.

TC: Words mean things. That’s all I’m saying.
SW: Here’s the thing: We know that content marketing works better than anything else. We don’t want to do one-off work. We want to develop content and build online communities. That’s where we see websites working. Rather than creating a brochure on the web and hoping some good things happen, we’re about active management—about making each website an asset rather than a sunk cost.

TC: Is that shippist? Ship-wreckist?
SW: Oh, for the love . . .