I enhanced a purchased theme to improve revenue generation options (ads, referral links) and automated the creation of gig listings.
I remember the day in September 2014 that Sheila Carver first rang me. I was cycling to school to collect my eldest child. I pulled over and we had a lengthy conversation about her site, its limitations and about her competitors. It was such a thorough and interesting overview that I was a few minutes late getting to school!
Change from CMS Made Simple to WordPress
The site was using CMS Made Simple, a solid content management system, and one that I used back in 2008-2009 (before moving to WordPress). Sheila had worked with Dennis Cross, another web site developer, to review her site and generate a list of goals for a new site.
Sheila purchased a mobile friendly music and events theme from Themeforest.net. Its white & pink on black colours were similar to the Cork Entertainment logo. We experimented with a black/pink on white but, as that was similar to the original site (and wanted the new site to be quite different), we reverted to the white/pink on black colour scheme.
The top goal for Sheila was to generate more revenue from the site. The site review commented that the advertising options weren’t good and did not give good results for advertisers. The advert dimensions were not standard sizes.
I added multiple locations on the site to display adverts and ensured that they were standard sizes. The adverts were managed by the AdRotate plugin, with easy to access stats.
To encourage people to visit the site and to tell others about it, Sheila created some ‘like & share’ competitions. We used Woobox and its plugin for this.
For hotels we allow visitors go book directly with the hotel. In some cases a referral link is used to earn some revenue for the site. Hotel pages include an image for the hotel, a prominent ‘Book Now’ button, large blub about the hotel, a map and then a longer description. We want to provide as much information as possible to help the visitor decide whether to make a booking. Furthermore, they don’t have to leave the Cork Entertainment site to make that decision.
The site includes some testimonials in the footer area and displays recent tweets.
Easy to Maintain
Adding events to the site is easy but labour intensive. For two of the busiest venues that Sheila works with I automated the importing of events for to the Cork Entertainment site. Each night the code checks the venues’ listings and creates new events on CorkEntertainment.ie as necessary. The code even imports images included in the venues’ event information and will include a YouTube video if present. I wrote about creating Events Manager events programmatically.
We eventually launched the site in December 2015.
The first thing that I did was to create a child theme for the K-Boom theme. I knew that the required customisations would not be possible with CSS and the Theme Options.
Hide Unused Custom Post Types
The K-Boom theme included a number of custom post types (Portfolio, Audio, Video, Events, Slides) that would not be used on the Cork Entertainment site. We hid them from the admin area. We chose to use the Events Manager plugin to manage the events/gigs rather than the built in post type – the plugin had more features, was actively maintained and prevented “theme lock-in” where changing a theme would result in the loss of required functionality.
Dynamic use of Backstretch
If the client wanted to change the background it could be done with the Custom CSS section of the theme options.
This functionality was dropped before the site was launched but the code is a handy addition to my code library.