Layout 2023: I’m Back!… Again…

I’ve been working on a new version of this site very sporadically for the last 2 years. I’m finally putting it online. What’s incredible to me is that it’s been over 6 years since I published anything here. A lot has happened since then in both my personal life as well as in the WordPress ecosystem and the web in general.

This version of the site has visual changes, of course, but the biggest new thing in this version is that it now has a French side. As I live in Quebec and most of my agency‘s clients as well as the web professionals I interact with day to day are francophone, I wanted to give this site a French language side and articles more targeted at the challenges we face as web builders in Quebec.

Bilingual sites are very standard here. At my agency, we rarely build one language sites anymore except for our clients in the USA and outside of Quebec. But that is also changing everywhere as businesses and entrepreneurs are now operating in an increasingly global economy. So web sites need to cater to more culturally diverse audiences and multilingual sites are one of the primary ways to do so.

But as far as changes to this site and my direction for the future, my next few posts will be still very tools oriented. My WordPress technological stack starting with themes and plugins has evolved quite a bit in the last 6 years and some things have been stable while others have changed pretty drastically. The biggest “new” thing in the WordPress ecosystem is, of course, the Block Editor or Gutenberg. After resisting it for a long time because I didn’t consider it ready for prime time, I’ve embraced the Block Editor about 2 years ago in early 2021 and have not looked back since. So changes in my toolset reflect this change in my workflow. Page builders are out for me and other than maintaining existing sites, I have not built a client site with a traditional page builder in over 2 years.

But the page builder landscape has changed too. When I published my last post here in 2017 about my then “stable” theme was Genesis. I was still pairing that with Beaver Builder but that would soon change to Elementor which I paired with the theme I still use today, GeneratePress. I still think Elementor is the best page builder out there today but its power comes at a performance price and its propensity to break sites with major updates had made me rethink its use for our clients even before I decided to move to the Block Editor completely. Elementor is still a tool in my arsenal, but it’s no longer my go to choice.

Other than tools, I want to write more opinion pieces too. There’s a lot continually happening in the WordPress world and I want to add more of my small voice to it. I don’t think the needs of agency users like us are taken into account enough by the WordPress leadership. Yet, we’re some of the primary movers of the WordPress economy.

As WordPress is used more and more in the business and even the enterprise world, some of its old philosophical “hang-ups” need to go. We do need options, not decisions made for us by a leadership far from our reality and for a subset of users which I do not believe is still the majority of its users: small publishers or what we’d call bloggers before (this very site is an example of what I’d call a small publisher). More and more WordPress sites are built for businesses with much more complex requirements than most small publishers. But even those can now be selling knowledge products virtual or physical or any other kinds of goods out there. So the “decisions, not options” philosophy which has always annoyed me greatly because of is astounding shortsightedness needs to go. But that is for later articles 🙂

For now, I’m just happy this new version of my site is finally out. My 2023 Toolset Themes article is already written and will be published soon after this one. After that, I’ll finish other posts I started about my entire WordPress technical stack, including hosting. I have a different view on hosting our clients than a lot of other agencies and certainly different from single web site owners although my recommendations could serve anyone.

Thank you for being back if you used to be a regular visitor and welcome to all new people discovering this site for the first time. You’ll see I’m opinionated but those are based on real-life experience building WordPress sites for clients, not using a theme or plugin for an hour and writing a “review” for money…

I do have affiliate links for the few products I recommend but again, those are recommended because I’ve used them successfully for a long time in real projects and I stand behind each of them.

Thanks again for being here and I’m looking forward to the future!

This post is also available in Français.

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