I've mentioned before how much I like the Catalyst Theme. That's for me personally, and for many of the recent blogs I've helped people with. Mind you, not all sites are pure blogs and in that case, other frameworks may be better choices. I'm a firm believer in the right tool for the right job, which is why I own the Genesis Framework, the Woo Framework, a subscription to ElegantThemes, all the Builder options at iThemes, Ultimatum and more. But for my blog, and for a few others I've worked on, I've used Catalyst.
The quick story I want to share with you today highlights one more reason I like Catalyst.
Imagine a call with the CEO of a StartUp
Imagine you're on the phone and you start talking. He's talking about his blog, and how it's been going. And then you pull it up on your own computer and notice that after you helped them launch, they went back and changed some things. In fact, the things they changed really made it more difficult to read. Do you say anything?
Well if you're me, you do. Because I don't have the gift of being quiet.
So I mentioned that the blog looked much harder to read and wondered aloud why the font recommendations I'd made had been ignored. Mind you, this is with a semi-technical CEO. Not a designer. Not a developer. He noticed that the links in the content weren't bold, which also made them stand out less, and made the call to action not nearly as enticing.
Now, the first thing I like about this CEO is that he didn't say, “How can we make this pop?” because when I hear that, I run for the hills.
WP Engine Supports a Staging Environment
By now you know I am a huge fan of Managed WordPress hosting. Wether it's ZippyKid, Page.ly, Synthesis, or WP Engine is less important to me than the simple move to managed care. That said, I enjoy WP Engine and one of the reasons is because they have a simple approach to a staging environment.
If you don't know what a staging environment is, basically it's a copy of your production that you can mess with, without hurting your real site.
So I asked the CEO to jump onto the staging environment with me to look at the back-end of Catalyst.
As you can see, there are a ton of options to manipulate the text of blog articles. But nothing in there lets you make those links bold! So then I asked him to move from the Dynamik child theme to the Advanced options, because it gives you that big giant open space to put custom CSS. But he isn't a CSS kind of guy, and he mentioned that. Not a problem!
What I did was have him click on the “CSS Builder” button, which drops out a new panel.
What's great about this panel is that you can click on “Elements” and look in the “main content elements” to find just about anything you like. In this case, we were looking for links that were in the main content area for pages and posts. He selected it and clicked on the arrow. Then he clicked on the menu above there for “Fonts” so he could change it to make these links BOLD.
He picked the weight to be bold and pushed it into the other side, and then he copied it and dropped it down into the open area. It was perfect….
Well, Almost Perfect
When he told me he saved it, I refreshed the page and looked to see if the links were bold and they weren't. So I wondered what had happened.
That's when I found out I had been on the staging environment but he decided to do it straight on production. So I was looking at the wrong place.
And he was a cowboy coder!
Alas, I couldn't fix everything in one night. But I could show a CEO how to adjust his own web site even though he wasn't a programmer and didn't know CSS. And I could have him do it in a place where he couldn't impact his production (even if he didn't do it). And that's why I love both Catalyst and WP Engine.