Every site needs a refresh from time to time and our store was a bit overdue for a reboot. This time around I didn’t just want a fresh design, but I wanted to incorporate some goals that I’d had for Organized Themes for quite a while.
1. All WordPress
When I started Organized Themes in September 2008, the available WordPress e-commerce solutions just weren’t up to par. I experimented with several options before finally settling with e-Junkie, a non-WordPress based shopping cart. While it was pretty easy to use, in the past four years virtually no changes have been made to it and it’s Flash based which meant no mobile access. Plus I was never really able to connect it with Google Analytics like I wanted to so I could tell where our sales come from and what funnels they flowed through.
This time around there are quite a few well developed and capable e-commerce plugins out there. I have two themes that have built in support for Jigoshop. It’s a good plugin that I really considered using. Another good plugin that I considered is Easy Digital Downloads which is good for people like myself who are selling virtual products.
I ended up choosing to go with the WooCommerce to power our store. It’s extensible like the others (free core with paid and free extensions). The direction they were heading just fit with I wanted to do.
Leaving e-Junkie also meant that our affiliate program had to be moved as well. We are using an additional plugin called Affiliates Pro to handle that. Now our affiliates can track their click and commissions and so can I. I could pull some of that from Google Analytics, but having everything in one place is a far better solution.
If you’re an existing affiliate, you’ll need to register an affiliate account on our new site to get your updated links.
So with that, we were able to remove the non-WordPress parts of our site and move to one that is all WordPress based.
Much of my life is spent on the go with me using my iPhone or iPad wherever I am. While those browsers did an ok job with our previous site, I knew we needed a good mobile solution. All of our themes for the past year have been responsive so it was natural to go this way with our store.
To make the home page stand out a bit more, I used media queries to use a different image at the top of the page. The idea was to show a device with our Foxy theme that somewhat matches the device you’re using to view the site. If you’re on a smartphone, you’ll see Foxy on an iPhone. If you’re using a tablet, there’s Foxy on an iPad. If you’re using a laptop, then you get to see Foxy in a Macbook Pro. Last of all if you’re using a desktop, then Foxy turns up on an iMac. That was a fun way to tackle our header image.
I didn’t just want to think of responsive design in terms of “mobile” but really to make the site respond to the device using to view our pages.
For visitors with large displays, we also made the theme screenshots larger too. Media queries give you so many options for how to best show off your content to your visitors.
3. Easier Testing
Earlier this year, I read an article on A/B Testing in Wired which really got me thinking. I’ve been aware of A/B testing for a long time, but in part due to how things were set up, it wasn’t easy to set up tests on our site. Now that everything is WordPress based, I can more easily run these tests to refine our site and hopefully increase our conversion rate.
My plan is to also add new sections to the site as time goes on. One of the biggest advantages of the web over traditional media is the ability to make changes as you go. There is already support built into the theme for customer testimonials, a showcase of sites using our themes and a recommendation section for various WordPress products/services that we use.
4. New Branding
I learned sometime ago that I’m just not that good at making logos. I’ve tried, but it just doesn’t work out as well as I’d like it to. We’ve had our current logo for a couple of years and while it’s not awful, it certainly isn’t inspiring either. Honestly this is one area where a lot of theme companies don’t do a very good job.
So this time I turned to a design company that I often do development for to help me out. They cooked up our new logo for us and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. Most likely they will be designing some themes that I develop and sell here in the future.
I’ll also be using a version of this theme on our support forum in the near future. Having the forum be responsive will be a big help to everybody I believe.
My plan is to create more useful content here in our blog and to continue to roll out new themes regularly. So I hope you enjoy using the new Organized Themes!