So, I’ll start by giving you a little history on who we are and how our little hobby turned into a small business. I started building small WordPress sites for fun. Yeah, I know – I probably need to get out more. I’m a graphic designer by trade but have always enjoyed playing around with web design. I was mostly building sites for non-profits I work with and a couple of close friends. It was building one of these sites that I first found X. There it was… All shiny and featured, calling out to me from the Envato store. I didn’t have any reason to purchase a premium theme for what I was doing but I couldn’t resist. So I clicked. It was love at first install. The immediate increase in design speed using a drag and drop interface had me hooked. Before long, I had friends of friends asking me to help with their sites and even offering to pay. With money!
After a few months of freelancing, I was telling one of my long-distance friends about my side gig and after a couple of glasses of wine (don’t judge me) we decided that we could probably start a small business out of it. She was working in marketing and social media at the time and so we teamed up and Fetch Media was born in her hometown of Kelowna, Bristish Columbia.
I think like a lot of X Theme users, we are building fairly simple sites for small and medium businesses. Sure, they each still have their own unique challenges and features but we’re not doing the large-scale super crazy, custom-coded masterpieces that X is capable of. And we’re ok with that. That’s not our business. Where we’ve found our niche is providing a quality, well-designed, SEO-friendly, responsive sites for that small businesses that just can’t afford to say yes to a $15,000 quote for a five-page site. Not that there’s anything wrong with paying $15,000 for a website – it’s just not our market. If we can build them a great, well-performing small site, they’ll likely come back to us when it’s time to upgrade. Let’s just say we fit somewhere between the $15,000 company and “I’m going to get my 12-year old nephew to whip this thing up for me.”
To cater to smaller clients and budgets we need to run a pretty streamlined process or we risk making $3/hour. That’s where some of the features unique to X come in to save the day! To be honest, our business probably wouldn’t exist without X. Not the way it does now at least. Here’s a peek into part of our X Theme process that is helping us build our business.
Using expanded demos and templates…
As you probably know, X Theme comes with some expanded demos. The are easy to install and a great starting point for a similarly-styled site. We downloaded all of the expanded demos and saved the pages and blocks that we could quickly re-style for a variety of sites. It was in doing this that we realized we could make use of our own sites to also create and save page templates and blocks. The ability to save, download, and import page templates and blocks in Cornerstone was a real game-changer for us.
Before we implemented the cataloging of our pages and blocks, I would do most of the site layout and design, while my partner would contribute with content and client communication. But we were only getting busier and only having one person laying out and building all the sites wasn’t always effective. So I took an afternoon and went back through our portfolio of websites and started saving and downloading templates of pages we used often. Now, we have our own template catalog of 5-10 styles of pages that we use most often. Home, About, Contact, Services, etc… They are available to us to upload as a starting point whenever we need to build that type of page. We use Google Apps For Business, so even long-distance, we keep a common library of templates on our shared Google Drive. After a weekend of showing my partner the ropes of X, now she’s able to build sites right along with me – doubling our design output!
In the Layout panel, you click on Templates to use Themeco ones (they’re great too!) or upload your or export your own.
In the Layout panel, you can save, download and upload page and block templates. Yay!
Use the “Download” option if you plan to use the page or block in another site you will upload it to.
Now I would hate if every one of our sites looked identical. Even on a smaller budget, the content and purpose of the site should drive the design, not the other way around. I don’t want to make my clients content fit my pre-existing templates but they do provide a great starting point. Even if you upload a page or block template you’ve used in a different site, the Customizer settings of the new site will override the styling and give the new page it’s own look. We can quickly reconfigure the layout to our clients needs and content and add in any custom bits that are required. It’s saving us hours on every site we take on
Our business is growing and every day we’re finding new ways to use X, Cornerstone and the bundled extensions to improve our site designs as well as our internal processes. Lately, moving to Themeco Hosting is the latest frontier in the evolution of Fetch Media. We are excited about using a managed hosting solution catered to X to continue streamlining our small business.