I love WordPress and I don’t care who knows

Have I mentioned recently how much I love WordPress? Well I do. Since I first started taking baby steps into web design back in 2000 I’ve used various tools for building websites, but none have made quite such an impression on me as WordPress. At the moment I wouldn’t contemplate using anything else – I’d certainly take a lot of convincing.

For Us

Let me tell you a little bit about why I find it such a good solution, from a web designer’s perspective:

  1. It’s quick and easy to install
    Yep, just a few straightforward steps and we can have WordPress installed on a web hosting account.
  2. Lots and lots of choice
    There are so many WordPress themes (which control how the site looks) and plugins (which control what the site does) out there, both free and premium, that we can find a solution for almost anything.
  3. It’s not the end of the world if something goes wrong
    This is an important one for me. I get the fear at the thought of one of our client’s websites breaking. Updating plugins and themes is really simple (most of them require just a click of a button) and 99.9999999999999% of the time goes without a hitch. However, on the rare occasion that it doesn’t work it can have unexpected consequences. But, with a backup handy (because we always back up before updating) we can switch back to the previous version without causing an apocalypse. Phewee!

For You

And for you as the website owner, I can’t stress enough that it gives you flexibility.

  • Flexibility to start simple and develop your website with your business, without having to go back to scratch each time
  • Flexibility to create a website that does what you want it to do
  • Flexibility to work with a vast range of web designers and developers – a lot of us use WordPress so you can have freedom to find someone that you enjoy working with
  • Flexibility to move your website elsewhere. I don’t want to be that web designer who says “you can’t move your site away from us” – I am flabbergasted every time I come across a web designer who does that. The thought of it makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable. Why would I want to trap a client into staying with us, that’s not going to result in a good working relationship is it?

These are just a few of the reasons why I love WordPress. I know there are other options out there and not everyone feels the same. But WordPress is very much the one for me.


Have you updated WordPress recently?

Be honest, when was the last time you updated the version of WordPress running your website? Last week, last month, last year? And have you been keeping your plugins up-to-date as well?

I know, boring!

But it’s really important to keep your website updated. Gone are the days when you could have a website built and not touch it again… Oh ok, I admit it those days never actually existed – it’s always been super important to keep your website content updated. But now that the majority of websites are running on a content management system like WordPress, you also have the job of keeping the software updated.

It’s important because it will:

  1. help keep your website secure from hackers
  2. help keep the site running smoothly as web technology changes
  3. keep Google happy

If you don’t take the time to update your software the worst case scenario would be that your site gets hacked, which believe me isn’t much fun! And if you leave it too long you may be looking at a rebuild – that is a pretty extreme case, but can happen.

If you’re worried about whether your website hasn’t been updated recently and aren’t sure how to tackle it yourself, give us a shout and I’m sure we’ll be able.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

If you’ve had anything to do with websites there is a strong chance that you will have heard of WordPress. We use WordPress to build websites, as do many web designers. See our post about What WordPress is and why we use it. We love WordPress!

But there can be some confusion as to what is meant by “WordPress” because there are two different ways in which you can use it: WordPress.org or WordPress.com. They both ultimately result in having websites based on the WordPress software, but how they are set up and what you can do with them is different.


Let’s start with WordPress.com. This is a site which provides hosted WordPress websites. You create an account on the site and you are provided with a pre-installed WordPress website. You can customize the site using themes and plugins available through WordPress.com, but you can’t upload your own custom theme or use anything that’s not made available directly through the site unless you upgrade to the Business Plan. You also need to upgrade to one of the paid accounts if you want to use your own domain name, rather than have wordpress.com in your site’s address.


WordPress.org on the other hand, is a self-hosted version of WordPress. You download the software from WordPress.org and install on your own web hosting using your own domain name. This gives you a lot of flexibility, allowing you to use any theme for your site, whether it’s a free or premium theme, or one that you’ve had custom-built. You can also install any plugins you wish, allowing you to add in the functionality you need and create a website that does exactly what you need.


There are pros and cons of each approach. WordPress.com is a very quick and cost-effective way to get a website up and running. We consider this to be a ‘self-build’ options as you can get up and running very easily. If you’re happy to roll your sleeves up and have a go yourself this could be a very good option for you. On the other hand, WordPress.org ultimately gives you much more flexibility and control over your website.

WordPress.org is the approach we use because it allows us to do so much more for you. We provide domain name management and web hosting. We source the right combination of plugins to create the website that you need. We can use an off-the-peg theme or create a completely custom-built design so that your website very much reflects your business or organization. And, finally, we offer an ongoing service to keep your website backed up and WordPress updated to ensure your website continues to run smoothly and securely over time.

Contact us if you would like to discuss how we can help you with your WordPress website >

The Bird Loft
Case Studies, WordPress

New Ecommerce Website: The Bird Loft

A recent addition to our porfolio is The Bird Loft, an ecommerce website selling specialist bird food and accessories.

This WordPress website uses the WooCommerce ecommerce plugin to provide a full ecommerce catalogue and shopping cart system. We’re massive fans of WooCommerce here at Webfooted Designs, it is by far the best shopping cart software that we’ve found for building online shops.

The Bird Loft has an extensive catalogue of products broken down into quite a list of categories and sub-categories, which demonstrates what’s possible using WooCommerce.

Other features of the site are a custom design, responsive layout, a choice of PayPal or WorldPay for payments, and a currency converter widget which allows their overseas customers to view pricing in dollars or euros.

Tom Henderson Smith
Case Studies, WordPress

Building a WordPress Website for Tom Henderson Smith

Tom Henderson Smith

Tom Henderson Smith is a Cornwall-based artist who specializes in landscape and seascape paintings. He is a long-standing client of ours, being one of our first clients when we first moved to Cornwall in 2006.

The Problem

The site that we built for Tom in 2006 was a static HTML website which used PayPal buy now buttons for selling paintings and prints. The site had evolved over the years with some layout changes, but with the technologies behind it pretty much staying the same.

Tom is very active on his site and being able to keep the content updated himself is very important to him. With that in mind he had been using the Contribute software (originally Macromedia and then taken over by Adobe), which provided a user-friendly editing interface. However, over time Tom had been finding the software was beginning to have issues making it much less user-friendly, and with it being discontinued by Adobe there wasn’t the option to upgrade.

Tom was also keen to see the website brought up-to-date with current expectations, for example making it work better for tablets and smart phones.

The Solution

So, when Tom came to us asking for our advice, we recommended that we move the website on to it’s next phase. Our recommendation was to use WooCommerce as the basis of the site and with the combination of the WooCommerce shopping cart plugin and WooCommerce’s Storefront theme we could bring the site bang up-to-date, opening up the possibilities for its development moving into the future.

The Result

The resulting site has a very clean and modern design allowing Tom’s fantastic paintings to really stand out:


The site is fully mobile-responsive so it works well on whatever device you are using, and offers sales with PayPal for secure online payments. The new website has a built-in gallery search to help you find paintings, and improved navigation with categories and tags.

Tom has effortlessly taken on editing his site using the new system and is excited to see how it will continue to develop using the new features available to him.

Have a look for yourself: www.hendersonsmith.co.uk

Testimonial from Tom

“If like me you are interested in growing and evolving your website as a way of communicating, promoting products and developing sales online then I would really recommend Webfooted Designs as the people to help you. Ever since they initially set up my ‘Art of Tom Henderson Smith’ website eleven years ago they have supported and encouraged my efforts to effectively content-manage it. Over the past year this has involved a considerable upgrade with the move to WordPress. They had set up a WordPress blog for me from the start and now the website I have on this platform enables online viewers to have a much more sophisticated engagement with my art than was previously the case. The content development possibilities appear to be endless!”


What WordPress is and why we use it

You’ll find that we often mention WordPress when talking about the services that we offer. WordPress is a content management system, which means that it is software used to create and maintain websites.

When building a website for you, we first install WordPress on your web hosting account. This then provides us with a password-protected admin area for your website where we can add in your content and any features that you need for your website. And once your website is launched we will give you your own login to the site so that you can update the content yourself if you wish to do so.

WordPress is an amazing tool which is hugely popular with web designers and website owners alike.

Why we love WordPress

  1. It comes with a great set of features out of the box – pages, posts (for blogging), custom menus, widgets etc
  2. It can be extended to create whatever type of website you need – for example, with the WooCommerce plugin you can have a fully-featured ecommerce shopping cart
  3. The theming, which controls the look of the site, is extremely adaptable so that we can create a site which looks exactly how you want it to
  4. Out of the various content management systems we’ve tried in our time, our clients have found WordPress to be the easiest to use
  5. WordPress is actively developed, so it just keeps getting better and better

Will my website look like a generic WordPress site?

One of the questions we’re often asked when talking about using WordPress to build a website for a client is, “will my website look like every other WordPress site?”. The answer to this is a resounding no. We can use an off-the-peg WordPress theme as the basis of the look of your website or we can create your very own bespoke theme. If you opt for our bespoke design service we will create a design for your website specifically for you and build a bespoke WordPress theme using this, so your website will have a look and feel designed specifically for your business.

Contact us if you would like help setting up a WordPress website or need help with an existing WordPress site >

St Just Miners' Chapel
Case Studies, WordPress

Supporting the St Just Miners’ Chapel

Last week we were thrilled to launch a website for the St Just Miner’s Chapel. As residents of St Just, this is a project which is close to our hearts. It’s such an amazing building and sadly it was due to close at the end of August 2017. However, thanks to some amazing people the doors have stayed open and there is a campaign to secure its future.

Our small contribution to the cause has been to create a website for the campaign. We’ve used WordPress as the basis of the site which will mean a great deal of flexibility for its development and maintenance. The home page includes an image slider showcasing some fantastic photos of the chapel, details of how to donate, and a feed from the Chapel’s Facebook page.

We are honoured to have been named the Chapel’s very first two ‘Pards’ and are looking forward to helping the website continue to develop over the coming months.

WordPress Updates

What do you do if you can’t automatically update WordPress?

We’ve been finding recently that some WordPress auto-updates are failing for us. By auto-update we mean when you log in to your WordPress admin and click the ‘Update Now’ button. WordPress has made this so easy over the last few years that we’ve come to rely on it.

But if that happens, all is not lost. Do you remember such a thing as a manual update? We’ve reminded ourselves of this and applied it to a number of sites over the past few weeks with great success.

Here’s a run down of the steps you need to take.

1. Back Up

As with all updates it’s absolutely essential to back up your website first. By this we mean download the files that make up your website and also the database. Please don’t go any further until you’ve done this.

2. Get the Latest WordPress

Go to http://wordpress.org/download/ and download the latest WordPress onto your computer. It will download as a zip file, so will need unpacking.

We like to run a virus scan of anything we download from the internet, even when it’s a trusted source like the WordPress site. So, before unpacking the zip we would right click on it and run a scan on just that folder – it only takes a few seconds.

Now you can unpack it using your preferred zip extractor tool.

3. Prepare the Website

The next thing to do is deactivate all the plugins running on your website. You do this by going to Plugins in your WordPress admin. You can either click ‘Deactivate’ for each plugin one at a time, or you can select the checkbox for each and choose Bulk Actions > Deactivate.

4. Replace the Files

Now comes the slightly scary bit as you are going to be deleting files from your server.

  1. Connect to your website using FTP.
  2. Delete the wp-includes and wp-admin directories.
  3. Upload the new wp-includes and wp-admin directories from the new copy of WordPress that you have just unpacked.
  4. Don’t delete wp-content. Instead open up the folder and overwrite any files using the wp-content in the new WordPress.
  5. Upload all the loose files from the root directory, overwriting what is already there.
  6. Compare the new wp-config-sample.php with your own wp-config.php files by opening them in your preferred text editor and see if there are any new settings introduced by the update. If there are move them across individually and upload the edited wp-config.

5. Finish the Update

Go to your WordPress admin. You may be asked to log in again, but don’t worry if you’re not – this varies depending on the update. You may also be asked to upgrade the databsae, in which case follow the instructions.

6. Reactivate Your Plugins

Now you can go back the Plugins page and reactivate all your plugins – again you can do this one-by-one or as a bulk action.

7. Test Thoroughly

Test both the front and back ends of your website and make sure everything is still working as it should.

8. Back Up

We also recommend that you take a back up of the updated site once you’re finished.


Are you having trouble updating your WordPress site? Carrying out the steps above does require some technical know-how. If you need a hand please contact us and we can get you sorted in no time.

Pixie Payroll Services
Case Studies, WordPress

Transforming the Pixie Payroll Website

Meeting Pixie Payroll Services

Pixie Payroll Services is a local Payroll Bureau based near Helston, Cornwall, run by Kellie Burslem. I met Kellie a few weeks ago at a networking event and arranged to get together with her to talk about her website.

Kellie had an existing website but had been receiving feedback which suggested that it needed improving in a couple of areas:

  1. Design – the existing design was too informal and wasn’t giving the professional impression that she needed.
  2. Structure – the existing site was one page, which was limiting the scope for providing information about her services and optimizing the site for search engines.

I agreed with Kellie that we would tidy up the layout of the site to give a more professional feel, whilst keeping Kellie’s personality, and that I would split the content into separate pages.

The Transformation

We started by selecting a new WordPress Theme for the website. The Forefront theme by WooCommerce was the ideal starting point as it has a very professional feel and arranges the home page content in a way that is perfect for a business offering services.

We installed Forefront and created a child theme for it. When working with WordPress themes a child theme allows you to make customizations to the layout and styling without touching the original theme. By working in this way we could a colour scheme to complement Pixie Payroll’s branding and bring in design elements to give the site personality.

As far as the structure goes, rather than one page with all the content, we’ve broken it down into Home, About Me, Services (further broken down by service) and Contact Me, and also introduced a Blog so that Kellie can add useful articles and her news to the site.

The Result

Pixie Payroll ServicesWe are thrilled with the resulting site. The website has a very pleasing look and is much easier to navigate and find out about the services that Pixie Payroll offers. And Kellie has been getting some great feedback on the site. It’s also worth mentioning that the site has a responsive mobile-friendly layout so works well whether you’re on a desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone.

Have a look for yourself: www.pixiepayroll.co.uk

What Now?

It’s been lovely working with Kellie and we will be continuing to help her develop the Pixie Payroll website further in the coming months. As part of the work on her site we have moved her to our web hosting and domain name management service so that we can offer full support for her site, and we will be keeping the website backed up and WordPress fully updated so that it will continue to run smoothly over time.

What Kellie says about working with us

“I had a website before I met Emily at a networking event but it wasn’t really working for me. I made an appointment to see Emily and I am so glad I did, she is so friendly, professional and nothing is ever too much trouble. Emily has transformed my website – it now looks fresh and easy to use. I would highly recommend Webfooted Designs, the team now look after my website and all the maintenance.”