We’ve been hard at work rebuilding the Isotropic website, and just launched the new version for 2021. Our company experienced some incredible growth in 2020, and it was time for a more robust digital asset. In this post, we’re going to discuss this new site, what it does, and how we built it (we get many questions about how specific things in our site works each week, so now we’ll just link you here).
In 2020, Isotropic, LLC, a North Carolina website design agency, grew rapidly in many directions. Our agency recorded record revenue, and grow in both number of projects completed, and scope of completed projects. We moved our method of creation from custom themes and Elementor to Oxygen Builder, and now do over 90% of our projects with the platform.
To keep up with this growth, we hired several new people (incredibly talented developers and designers), and began forming relationships with additional independent contractors (as per our scalable/dynamic business model).
Our rebranded agency website for 2021 now showcases our “relationship-based approach” to website creation, with specific pages for FAQs, our process, and our company. We continued our focus on “website creation only”, spinning our optimization services into a separate brand, SpeedOpp.
However, the growth in 2020 was only partially due to our agency. We began focusing heavily on content creation and publication to our Isotropic Blog, which began growing rapidly in viewership and subscribers.
At the time of publication, we have 360,000 words published across just about 300 articles, with the majority going live in the past 9 months. We have consistently experienced monthly growth in readership, views, and subscribers.
The Isotropic Blog is now a major segment of our business, and we will continue focusing on creating new articles, and growing our reach by working with experts to publish targeted, helpful information. If you would like to write for us, please get in touch.
In addition to written content, we began growing our video content library as well, ramping up production in late 2020. We will continue to do so into 2020. Check out the Isotropic Design YouTube channel here.
This new website focused on our Agency side of things, but the main reason behind the refresh was to make our blog easier to navigate, grow and expand. The main feature is the filterable Archive, which makes it easy to explore our large and growing library of content. We invite you to check it out!
Archives, single posts, sidebars and more are also redone in accordance with our brand guidelines and the Isotropic Framework, an internal agency tool for Oxygen.
Because we've received literally dozens of questions about how our old website was built, and expect to have these questions continue coming in, we wanted to cover how this website is built and discussed the plugins, hosting, and other environmental constants here.
This is going to primarily relate to the blog as it has the most functionality of all aspects of this website, and is the most viewed portion of the site.
This website and subsequent blog is built with the WordPress CMS, as it's the most popular tool in the world, and the one that our agency uses to build client websites.
We’re hosting this WordPress site on Rocket.net hosting, a little known managed platform that offers incredibly quick hosting. This is a move from Cloudways, which we still love — Rocket is just quicker. We’ve been making use of the support, and really quick CDN that is included in our plan.
To actually create the site, we are using the Oxygen Builder, which is a unique WordPress website building tool that disables the theme system entirely and allows you to build from completely custom templates. It also allows you to insert PHP directly into the pages when building, meaning that we can create very dynamic and functional websites.
For content management, we’re using the PublishPress suite (WordPress Plugin), which helps us manage authors, content checklists, and an overarching editorial calendar, which we are busy populating with content.
For SEO, we’re using RankMath (free version). In the future, we may swap to SEOPress, which is more compatible with Oxygen Builder. Keep in mind, SEO plugins are really only helpful when it comes to setting meta descriptions – the scores don’t actually mean anything, content is king.
For other off site SEO related things, we use SEMRush. This is primarily for audits and rank tracking. Analytics is handled via Google Analytics (v4), inserted with Google Tag Manager.
A major focus of this redesign was making the content easier to search and navigate. Our search and filtering efforts were done by using Oxygen Repeaters and the WPGridBuilder facets/filtering system which is quick, easy to integrate, and makes it easy to search our content. We integrated the default WordPress search into this GridBuilder system via a custom PHP snippet.
Try it out here:
That snippet, as well as others are managed through Advanced Scripts.
In regards to search, we may integrate Relevanssi, which integrates with GridBuilder, but also adds to the database like crazy.
Forms, for both the contact form as well as the newsletter subscription, are done through WSForm. This is a relatively new form plugin that many don’t know of (sadly). It’s super powerful. For the contact form, we’re integrating with HumanPresence to limit spam, and our newsletter forms are routed directly to GetResponse via an API. Read our review here.
With data collection comes data transparency, and to manage that, we’re using a third party, Iubenda. This generates our privacy policies, cookie policies, and also sets up a cookie management system which helps us comply with privacy regulations. Must have for any agency/content website.
Speed optimization is important, and for an image heavy blog with a ton of functionality, we need to do some serious oxptimzation (though the scores still aren’t incredible). Images are first compressed and converted to WebP via the Imagify plugin.
Then, they’re offloaded to a Google Cloud Bucket using WP Stateless.
Caching is implemented via the free Cache Enabler Plugin. In most situations we’d use WPRocket, but not for this site, due to it’s many complexities. We may look into implementing it in the future, but at this point, the free solution works well.
In the future, we may incorporate ImageEngine, which was used on a couple of our more recent content projects.
Rocket.net has a CDN and uses HTTP/2, so combining files isn’t recommended. So no merge+minification for this site.
However, we are using Asset Cleanup Pro for page specific script offloading and speedopp related to fonts.
Ads are managed through Advanced Ads (free for this site), and additional CTAs/dynamic components are done through ACF (free) and PHP or ACF and the Oxygen Builder integration.
Menus are managed through MegaMax Menu Pro which is a powerful solution that works well with Oxygen Builder.
Finally, site security is primarily done via Rocket Hosting, but we’ve also include WPCerber, primarily for the IP Blacklisting and brute force attack stopper.
As part of our 2021 growth plans, we’ll soon be launching a new product-based offering. If you’d like to be notified, please sign up for our Newsletter. We’ll be announcing in late January 2021.
To all - Thank you so much for sticking by Isotropic. For our Agency clients, we love you! For our Blog readership, welcome aboard!
IsoGroup- Web Dev/Design, WordPress and More