I thought I’d take some time out from the family festivities to review our 2017 and to share some of our highlights with you.
2017 saw an increase in white label development projects for other digital agencies, and we welcomed Craig Simpson to our development team to meet this demand. Craig has more than ten years’ experience with WordPress and now focuses on custom theme and plugin development using the Genesis Framework. He has been working with our agency clients, but as the work is white label, I’m afraid I can’t share any more than that!
In the summer, budding developer Tom Amer joined us for a few weeks work experience. We had fun writing WP-CLI scripts and importing/exporting content from one website to another. I’ve got my fingers crossed that Tom will come back and work with us again next year after his exams.
This year we’ve launched over 20 new websites, undertaken countless support and small job tasks such as installing SSL certificates, plus tutorials assisting people who are building their own website and just needed a bit of additional help.
We had the pleasure of working with TV chef and cookery writer Justine Pattison and launched her new website in March this year. Justine wanted a website that brought together her many activities under one brand. On her website you can read her top tips and recipes, book onto her courses and buy her cookery books.
Not all the websites we build are quite so complex and one of my favourite sites of the year was this simple one page website for The Sourdough Book, published by Modern Books. Leeann took inspiration from the book cover and content to design an elegant, clean and simple website.
A good 50% of our clients are in the food industry but we also work with other sectors. This year we worked with a local nursery group, the Avenue Nursery. Their stunning locations set within Savernake Forest were the inspiration behind their website design. We were keen to keep the look-and-feel gender neutral, but with a playful use of complementary colours. You can read more about this project in our portfolio.
We’ve worked with a number of local businesses such as Manton Property, Strictly Organised and Blake Consultants. In fact these three websites were built under our “Quick Launch” package. The clients come to our office and we work together to build these relatively simple websites in just a few days. Feedback from these projects is very positive and we are going to focus on doing more projects this way next year. You don’t have to be local to book our Quick Launch package, we can also arrange to work using Skype or Google Hangout like with did with author Caroline Shenton.
Every year I like to attend a few WordCamps (WordPress conferences), not only to learn new things and find out what’s happening with WordPress, but also to catch up with existing friends and meet new people. This year I was fortunate to go to four WordCamps and one Genesis Meet Up:
- Leeann and I went to WordCamp London in March. This is the biggest WordCamp in the UK and one which a number of people I know all attend. It was nice this year to not be giving a talk or on the organising team. It meant I had more time to chat and attend the sessions – you can read more about our experience in our WordCamp London 2017 post.
- Even though WordCamp Bristol fell on my birthday in May, I still went along as I wanted to support our local event. It was much a smaller conference with around 150 attendees, but it was still a fully packed 2 day event.
- In June I attended WordCamp Europe, this year in Paris. This is a massive event with 1,900 attendees from 79 countries but I managed to catch up with Akshat of BlogVault and visit Sacre Coeur. The highlight of WordCamp Europe was the Q&A with Matt Mullenweg (WordPress co-founder) and this year he announced the development of a new editor for WordPress, intended to be released in 2018, codenamed “Guttenberg”. You’ll be hearing a lot more about this next year!
- In October Gary Jones and I organised a Genesis meet up for people who build websites using the Genesis Framework. 34SP hosted us in their office break room the day before WordCamp Manchester. We had a few talks which you can read more about on Barbara Saul’s round up of the day on the UK Genesis website, and Brian Gardner (founder of StudioPress) joined us via Google Hangout to have a chat with us all.
- WordCamp Manchester was the weekend after our Genesis Meet Up. It was a smaller event like WordCamp Bristol but with some great talks.
I’m so grateful for the welcoming and generous WordPress community. The time and energy volunteered by organisers, volunteers and speakers at WordCamps is truly appreciated. I can recommend attending WordCamps or WordPress meet ups which are usually monthly, evening events. You can find a list of upcoming events near you in your WordPress website dashboard.
Katie travelled down to London in September for the exciting launch of our client Ren Behan’s debut Polish Cookbook Wild Honey & Rye with Pavillion Books at the amazing Baltic Restaurant in Southwark. It was wonderful to share Ren’s success, catch up with food blogging friends and try all of the wonderful cocktails and canapes on offer.
It’s so inspiring to see one of our clients achieve a life-long dream and all the deserving praise that has followed. Wild Honey & Rye is not only a collection of Polish recipes with a modern and fresh update, but it’s also a fond look at the heritage behind the cuisine. Many congratulations from us to Ren, and we know she’ll continue to rise and rise in 2018!
Support & Engage
Thinking about community makes me want to do more to support, engage and connect our clients. Next year we will be launching the “Callia Community” where we’ll be inviting all our current and past clients to join a closed Facebook group.
It’ll be an informal place where clients can:
- connect with each other to find ways of working together across different genres with complimentary skill sets
- get constructive feedback on new projects
- promote their services and social media channels
- find out the latest WordPress news and stay ahead of the game
Watch this space for more details, but we’re pretty excited about getting it off the ground so we can all work together and support each other in the New Year. Who knows what we can all achieve in 2018!
The team at Callia Web and I wish you a prosperous New Year and we look forward to meeting, talking and working with you in 2018.