If you remember that one, well, you’re probably close to my age. It was a Burger King ad way back in the mid ‘70s. The jingle went on – “Special orders don’t upset us. All we ask is that you let us serve it your way.”
The young lady wearing a cute hat and working the counter started singing it into the mic when a family approached the counter as the father placed an order and asked “And will I have to wait long if you make one Whopper with no pickle and no lettuce?”
See, that was back in the day when for some reason, if you asked for a burger with nothing on it at the place with the arches, they looked at you like you were from outer space. Then they grudgingly said “Sure. But it’ll be a few minutes.” They didn’t even break into song or nothin’ Timmy.
Why is less more?
That absolutely turned me inside out. Seein’ as I was a little more contrary back then, I’d ask why it would take longer. Without waiting for an answer, I’d go on to explain that they were actually doing less so it should be faster to make one without stuff. I mean I wasn’t asking for half as much mustard and twice the ketchup. I was asking for absolutely nothing save for a bun and whatever they were serving that passed for meat.
Always a blank stare. The one that said “It just DOES.” They had no answers. Minimum wage was $2 an hour back then, so in retrospect, it all makes sense. They just didn’t care. And I knew why it took longer. Asking for nothing instead of everything threw a wrench in the works and it interrupted the assembly line process they made so famous in the fast-food universe.
And the folks at BK capitalized on the indifference over at the home of the clown. They put quite a scare into Ronald. In fact, BK has reimagined that campaign from the ‘70s and recently rolled out their “You Rule” reboot so it must have been quite successful.
Back to the internet age
Okay. These trips down memory lane are getting longer. Sorry if you’re not one to wax nostalgic with me, but if you’ve read any of my other stuff, it’s who I am. Helps to set the scene and get me going.
Fast forward to today. Here at <engine/> we pride ourselves on generally being accommodating. We know there’s no “one size fits all” solution. When I look at what a lot of other website designers and developers are doing, there seems a sameness to the items they display in their portfolios.
While we use templates – as do most of our competitors – our process is much different than those who crank out a couple hundred sites a year for $1,000 each.
If you need a new website or a complete reboot of an existing one, our first cut is which CMS (content management system) to use. We build a lot of sites with both Joomla and WordPress (WP). The decision on which option will work best for you centers largely on two key factors.
First and foremost, we consider the size of your site and what kind of content you’re serving up. Joomla is much more efficient (and hence faster) on bigger sites. Especially those with lots of files and documents waiting to be called up. It’s arguably more flexible as well – you can choose multiple templates and apply them on a page-by-page basis and customize things more easily. WP, you pick a template and take what it gives. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – just need to take it into account from the git-go.
Easier on the user
The second issue is the degree of your involvement after launch – and more importantly – the experience of your tech team. While both Joomla and WP have exhaustive resources across the web to help users address issues that pop up, most folks agree that WP has a much gentler learning curve than Joomla. And speaking from my own experience, I cannot argue that point Timmy. And the WP user interface is simpler and much less intimidating to the uninitiated. Or even the somewhat initiated.
If you opt to use WP, most folks like to use a website builder to make things even easier. Something like Divi, let’s say. Oh sure, there are others. Like Elementor, Avada, WPBakery (shudder) and more. There’s a reason I listed Divi first. It’s our favorite. And why I break into a cold sweat at the mere mention of that other one.
Each has their own degree of intuitiveness. And sometimes the more you know about the way something should work, the less intuitive something else becomes. That’s where I personally am with the WPBakery debacle of an interface and The Elementor. Both of those are apparently too simple for me. Divi, on the other hand, made sense when I came on board at <engine/> as they nudged me off Avada. Keep in mind these are my opinions, based solely on my own experience.
And so many of the Elementor sites seem the same to me. Things sliding here and there. Countdown counters counting something I couldn’t care less about. I know there are some simply dazzling creations out there that use it for a backbone. I think I’ve stumbled onto a few today. But a lot of outfits look like they use the cookie cutter approach. Pretty much the same for other website building tools too. Rinse and repeat. Git ‘er done, take the money and run.
Have it your way
That’s where we here at <engine/> differ from so many. Sure, we use templates, but whether we’re going to work in Joomla or WP, we don’t start with a template. We start with a design. Whether it’s one you provide, or one you entrust us to develop, we’re going to work from a mockup and build out from there. We don’t let a template dictate what your website should look like.
And on the subject of mockups. Our primary focus is on your homepage. If your visitors don’t get all warm and fuzzy when they first hit your site, the other pages might not even come into play. Then we’ll work on a secondary page that will be a guide for the other pages or a logical grouping of pages. We’ve also worked on sites where clients have provided a mockup for every page. That can get a bit intense, but if it’s what you want…
So no pre-defined pages with placeholders where we just swap out images and text blocks. Spots where others might be tempted to jam a round peg into square hole because that’s quicker (and cheaper for them) than doing it right Timmy. And whatever we build will be designed to meet your needs as your business continues to grow. I think the adults call that “extensibility.” From what I can tell, no matter what you call it, it makes good sense.
Then we should figure out the best way to get images that will work for you. Despite what some say, stock images are not a Bozo No No. There are lots of instances when they work perfectly well. We just need to spend the time finding the right ones. But sadly, the “perfect image” sometimes just doesn’t exist.
Oh sure, we can Photoshop things and come up with some pretty neat stuff, but if you have like 7 criteria – say an old man with a glass of tea sitting under an elm tree with dandelions all about with a yellow Labrador chasing butterflies on a cloudy day, we’ll try. Odds are, you’re not gonna have it your way on that one. And you might be surprised by how many requests we get with three too many criteria when looking for stock images…
In those cases, if we can’t knock at least a few of those requirements out, you’ll need to take some pictures yourself. And always keep the orientation of those photos in mind as you (or your professional photographer) set everything up.
And I guess I probably should mention content. That’s kinda important too Timmy. There’s more to good content than copy that’s easily digested and informative. It’s as much (or likely more) about content that’s SEO friendly. I railed on about this recently in Instant Gratification, so I won’t belabor that topic here.
Suffice it to say that if you’re madly in love with copy that search engines won’t find nearly as endearing, well, we’ll let you know. Hopefully, we can come to some compromise and you can have it your way while appeasing the bots to an acceptable degree.
Once you’ve approved the mockup and we’ve hashed out the details, we’ll fire up a development site on one of our boxes. Which is another area where we differ from many of our competitors. We rack out our own servers at a hosting facility, so if you have specific software requirements, we can accommodate your needs. Within reason of course.
And we’ll install a barebones template with maybe just a policy page. Remember, we’ve worked with you to develop a design, and that’s our guiding light. Not prebuilt pages which are someone else’s preconceived notion of what your site should look like.
Then it’s just a matter of building everything out. And throughout the development cycle, if you see something you’d like to change, hey, we’re generally pretty agreeable. We’ll let you know if we think you’re about to run with scissors though. It’s a big part of our commitment to you.
And we sure hope it doesn’t go to committee on your end. That seldom ends well. Especially late in the game.
All that being said, our ultimate goal is to develop a site for you that doesn’t look (nor act) like 16 other sites you see every day.
We want you to have it your way. Just like BK. Only not flame broiled though…