New site design launched at benbritten.com

Our pal and Snowferno collaborator, Ben Britten Smith, asked me a while (weeks?) ago to port his website and blog over to a 100% WordPress-powered site. After we submitted the Snowferno build to Apple, I got working on it, and here’s how it turned out:

benbritten.com homepage

new benbritten.com homepage

Ben had previously rolled his own mini-CMS, but had started wanting to unify his site content with his K2-themed blog. Ben’s site is also his portfolio site, so I wouldn’t have normally gone 100% WordPress. But after becoming familiar with the family of WooThemes premium themes for the Snowferno site, we selected the VibrantCMS theme and I went about the business of porting his content over to the new site. Through a little bit of backend category magic, many of the WooThemes manage to separate the blogginess of WordPress Posts from the CMSness of Pages. I’m sure a whole host of plugins would have done something equivalent, but this way it came all built-in to the theme. We also weren’t quite ready to learn a whole new platform like Drupal or Joomla just for a cosmetic upgrade.

And who’d have thought I’d ever buy a theme for WordPress when there are so many good free ones out there. But the thing I do love is the profit motivation keeping WooThemes well-maintained. Just today I found and applied a big update to the VibrantCMS backend. After you consider how many hours they saved me just by including a new IE 8 stylesheet, you can hardly justify not using premium themes.

I needed to map his old URLs, so .htaccess handles routing the old blog permalinks from http://benbritten.com/blog/ up a level to the root http://benbritten.com/. Then since his old CMS used a querystring scheme similar to WordPress, I had to use the Redirection plugin to catch those incoming links.