The Power Blog Service Site
I thought it’d be interesting for readers to hear about how we built this web site. As our business is about making professional WordPress blogs more accessible to small business, both new and established, the blog section of our site has been implemented in WordPress.
Certainly our Platinum service will make use of Expression Engine and WordPress combined, as I’ve now been persuaded to use EE instead of Code Igniter (which is how previous, more advanced developments for clients are normally accomplished.) Expression Engine, though a tad annoying in places, is quicker. Plus we have an imminent new version to look forward to.
Styling the Main Site and the Blog to Look the Same
It’s amazing what you can do with not much graphic design know-how. I’m putting together a tutorial on how I did it, as I type. Currently, Artisteer doesn’t work out of the box with Thesis, so you have to help it along a little.
Of course I’ve also used the Thesis WordPress theme by Chris Pearson too.
We were early adopters of Thesis and I’m a huge fan. I’ve personally persuaded a lot of people to use it. It really is the only WordPress theme you’ll ever need.
I love the look of a dark site, but it’s well documented that people prefer to read black characters on a white background. So that’s why we have these rounded white rectangles for the bulk of the text, especially on the blog. The rounded rectangles were achieved using jQuery and jQuery plugins.
I used code from Dynamic Drive.com to create a rollover horizontal menu, and composite buttons (three versions in one graphic) which are shifted down on the various mouse events, to simulate a pushed in button. A bit retro, but hey. They are so big and shiny, I couldn’t resist them.
The buttons themselves were created with Crystal Button, a package which on the surface looks a bit naff, but actually is quite good.
The Ticketing System
We’ve used Expression Engine’s weblog sysem to build the trouble ticket system that is available to clients of the Power Blog Service. You won’t of course see this unless you actually sign up.
It was a toss up between writing it ourselves via EE, or buying it off the shelf from Kayako or similar.
Don’t know about you, but I hate signing up for a service only to find that the I have to sign up again with a different username and password to submit a support ticket when something goes wrong. Plus it costs $40 per month – and this would have to be passed on to our clients, one way or another.
When you sign up to the Power Blog Service you get a username that works for every aspect of the service – the membership site, your blog, the training site and the trouble ticket system. We think that’s pretty good.