Bill Erickson is an Austin-based WordPress developer who’s contributed to the WordPress community since way back in 2006.
And his platform of choice for developing on WordPress?
The Genesis Framework. Bill has even contributed to the core Genesis Framework code.
We sat down with Bill to ask him a few questions about his work.
Here’s what he told us:
Stumbling into the benefits of good content
Bill: I’m a developer who focuses on building websites using Genesis. I spend my days solving problems, and I document many of these on my blog.
I started doing this primarily to help myself — it’s much easier to search my blog for a tutorial I’ve written than to try to remember which site I built a certain feature on, find the files, then search through them for the relevant piece of code.
But I soon realized the majority of my site’s traffic comes from long tail keyword search results, and people land on these blog posts. I was turning the knowledge I gained into content, which drove more people to me so I had more work to do.
It also helped strengthen my authority — both in the eyes of Google and in the eyes of clients.
Many of my clients say, “Every time I Google something about WordPress or Genesis, your website comes up. So when it was time to rebuild my website, you were my top choice.”
What’s the big benefit of the Genesis Framework?
Bill: As a developer, Genesis allows me to build secure high-quality sites in much less time than other platforms or building from scratch. For my clients, that means a lower cost of development and peace of mind.
Another great benefit to Genesis is the ongoing updates. As new features are developed in WordPress and SEO requirements change, Genesis is updated to take advantage of these.
By separating the core of your website (Genesis) from the look and feel (your child theme), you can easily receive these updates without worrying about breaking your website or losing all your changes.
Favorite plugins for the Genesis Framework?
Bill: My clients love using the Genesis Simple Sidebars plugin, as well as Genesis Simple Share.
I also have a bunch of useful plugins I’ve created for my clients that are publicly available.
Responsive design: not an afterthought
Bill: A lot of clients will come to me with a website designed for desktop, along with the instructions “make it responsive.” It’s an afterthought, as if there was a checkbox in WordPress that made their site responsive.
Responsive design needs to be considered from the very beginning.
If you don’t have the budget to hire a designer and developer with experience building mobile responsive websites, you’re better off purchasing a theme from a company like StudioPress who has already put in the time building and testing a mobile responsive one.
As more and more traffic shifts to mobile and other non-desktop devices, it will become even more important to have a mobile responsive website.
How does responsive design protect your website going forward?
Bill: Most people design sites for specific screen sizes. For example, 1200 pixels wide for desktop and 320 pixels wide for mobile phones.
But there’s a huge variety of resolutions on different devices out there, whether they are desktop, tablet, or mobile. If you target just one or two that are popular today, your site might not look right on the next great device that comes out next year.
With proper responsive design, your site works well at all resolutions.
It doesn’t matter what the screen looks like on a popular device five years from now — you’ve already tested it at all possible sizes.
Anything else you’d like to add, Bill?
Bill: Make sure you use high-quality hosting for your website.
Site load time is a major factor in search engine rankings, as well as in determining how likely it is for a visitor to stay on your site.
A developer optimizing a theme could save microseconds on the load time, but switching to a managed WordPress host like Synthesis could decrease your load time by seconds.
Free StudioPress training video
If you’re a Genesis Framework and StudioPress child theme user, you may have wondered about the Jetpack plugin from WordPress. It contains a handful of powerful features … and a couple you should avoid.
Share your email address below to get access to a free training video where you’ll discover which Jetpack plugin features StudioPress founder Brian Gardner recommends.
You’ll also find out about StudioPress Workshops.