Though much of my living now comes from website development, I’m a cinematic storyteller – an Indie filmmaker with a Christian worldview. Since 2007 I’ve been producing all kinds of media, including several books, documentaries and short films (four of which have been screened at film festivals). The longer I remain a creator, the more I come to appreciate the power of a story well-told.
My project: StembridgeMill.com
Earlier this year, it was the time for a reboot of my studio’s website, StembridgeMill.com. I’d previously had a one-page theme running on it, and decided to stick with the simplicity of that style.
Single-page sites are currently popular and I hope it’s not just a fad. Crafting a one-page experience that effectively communicates a story – while not losing users through information overload or a web page that’s longer than the Amazon river – can be tricky. But constraints are great for creativity. Working to powerfully display a minimum of information can help focus your approach like nothing else.
How I handle DW Page
While I do quite a bit of web development, I’m more of a designer. I know only enough code and the innards of WordPress to customize, not build it from scratch. DW Page quickly caught my eyes, and as I explored its features and options, I settled on it as the right choice for my site. DW Page offers 6 child theme; StembridgeMill.com is now using DW Page Modern.
It has been a while since I did something major in WordPress (I’ve mainly been a Joomla! guy lately), so the first challenge was coming up to speed on some of WordPress’s latest improvements. Second was learning how DW Page worked — how pages and menus and portfolio items relate to create the one-page experience. Thankfully, I didn’t have to look much further than DW Page’s guide.
Once the ball was rolling, the process went quickly: about a day or two on the first iteration of the new site. This was great, as I didn’t want to take too much time away from the “real” work for a personal project. A couple months later I almost reworked the site — after taking a marketing class from Seth Godin — and DW Page turned out to make it very easy to reshape my site into something better.
DesignWall’s Q&A support section was also very helpful in answering a couple questions I had about customizations, like changing the way portfolio items displayed. There was one issue we couldn’t figure out, but technically, it wasn’t a big deal. If I could come back in time and start this project over, I wish I would have learned more about communication and marketing to gather all items needed for an appealing website. But life is always a learning journey, right?
For anyone considering a DesignWall theme, just go for it! Based on my experience, I would have no fear using any other themes from DesignWall. The best advice I could give you applies to any type of media: when choosing a theme, realize that it’s merely the technical showcase for a story you’re telling. Does the theme’s design evoke the proper emotion? Can it be tweaked and customized to be the best foundation for your story? Is it well-designed, and will it stay out of the way of what you’re communicating? The best theme for your site is the one that nobody will notice while they’re using it, because they’ll be immersed in your message.
And for anyone already on board with DesignWall, don’t be afraid to ask questions or explore what others have already asked! Their Q&A section makes it completely painless to get solid answers.
Thanks DesignWall, for making it easy to shape and build a solid website!