Apr 03 0 Responses

Running A Corporate Website On Open Source Technology

The Tech Behind The New MTMRecognition.com

18 months of planning, stressing, and obsessing comes down to a 30 second file transfer. Such is the technology life. When we soft launched MTM Recognition March 30th, we had a lot of technology helping us out. Here’s the rundown of what’s behind the latest incarnation of our site, and how we build a corporate website on open source technology.

For five years, we ran a custom written Content Management System (CMS). In the end, we really couldn’t tell you why. Maybe it was because in our hearts we’re all tinkers and liked the idea of our own CMS (it is custom after all). Whatever the reason, it was stupid. WordPress is rock solid, runs millions of sites, and is easy for techies and non-techies alike to use and maintain.

Thesis Theme
Thesis is more of an engine than a theme. It allows you to really get into the nitty gritty of a WordPress install. We had a requirement that the site looked exactly how we wanted it to look – no constraints. Thesis allowed us to do that.

Not the sexiest of headings, but it is noteworthy that we’re running WordPress on a Windows server. It’s a really straightforward implementation that can be done in about 5 minutes.

We use Google as our cloud based email provider. Out of the box, WordPress does not allow you to run your own SMTP. That being said, there is a plugin for everything, and WP-Mail-SMTP was the answer to overriding the built in mail settings.

If you’re running Javascript, you should be using jQuery. It’s a great library that allows you to quickly add some dynamic elements to otherwise static pages.

Contact Form 7
A really simple, flexible form that integrates seamlessly into WordPress, Contact Form 7 was a great way to quickly add a contact form to our site.

Yoast SEO
If you care about being found on the web, you should care about Search Engine Optimiation (SEO). Yoast is by far the easiest to use, most well respected SEO plugin available. It is nearly impossible to screw up SEO if you are using this tool.

Of course, you should always back up your website. BackupBuddy is run by the guys at iThemes and does cost a few dollars. It is well worth it though, as I’ve personally used the software to restore several websites. It’s a great tool at a fair price.

The End Of The Beginning
So we lined up our ducks, closed our eyes, and pushed the button. So far, the site has launched to rave reviews. Our internal people like how user friendly the admin tools are, and so far, we haven’t had to use BackupBuddy.

All in all, moving MTMRecogniton.com off our proprietary systems has helped us reduce costs while increasing productivity. I don’t see how anyone can see it as anything other than a success.

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