Case Study: PootlePress, Canvas & their unique WordPress offering

Written by Mark Forrester on October 5, 2011 Blog, Customer stories, Woo news.

This guest post was written by an avid Canvas theme user living in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, UK.

I’m Jamie Marsland the founder of Pootlepress. Pootlepress is a specialist WordPress development and training company. We provide WordPress design, development, training, consultancy and support services.

We love Woothemes and use the Canvas Framework for our WordPress training programmes and our new WordPress Xpress service (where we build customer websites in just 1 day).

Why our customers love Canvas

Canvas gives our customers loads of control without them having to write code

We have trained over 250 customers on WordPress and Canvas in the past 6 months. I have been astonished by the diversity of businesses that we meet, from big organisations like Yell, the UK Police, UK Local Authorities like Hackney and Wandsworth, to many many small companies and charities.

The range of businesses that we interact with on a daily basis has truly surprised me and the number 1 reason they come to our training courses is that that they want control over their websites.

Our customers want control over content and they want control over design and they often tell of how they have been charged hundreds or even thousands of pounds for design changes and content changes.

LoveBerkhamsted - A WordPress & BuddyPress site built on top of Canvas

Most attendees to our courses are not HTML developers but ideally they still want control over every design element of their website without having to know how to write code. Canvas gives them this. Once they see what is possible with Canvas they are genuinely amazed.

What’s really great about Canvas is that it accommodates both developers and non-developers. Non-developers can use it ‘out of the box’ and achieve great results just by changing settings in theme options. Developers can use it to quickly build the foundations of their website and then extend their designs further with child themes and custom css.

Customers want professional looking websites that can be built quickly

A year ago I watched a TV documentary on the German housebuilder HUF Haus. HUF have devised a revolutionary way to build houses. They build them in their factory and then ship them in pieces to be constructed on-site. This radically shortens on-site build time, whilst still producing beautiful houses.

I started thinking ‘how could Pootlepress apply the HUF concept to web design’. How could we radically shorten website build time whilst maintaining quality? Well Canvas gives us the tools to do just that by providing a framework that can be implemented really quickly. In addition the wooframework gives us a great set of professional typography and layout tools so we can produce great looking pages.

So, 3 months ago we launched our WordPress Xpress service. With WordPress Xpress we spend a day with a customer and build their website on that day. It is a hugely collaborative process and it has amazed me how much is possible when time is restricted and decisions have to be made quickly. Customers love the immediacy of working this way and so do we! We are going to extend the concept and we are considering building all our customers websites using this methodology in the future.


A Happy WordPress “Xpress” customer

Using the Canvas Framework and a growing library of Child themes that we have built makes WordPress Xpress possible. It has been a great success so far – and we have only just scratched the surface of what is possible.

Pootlepress helped mentor and advise Gerry King on how to build WordPress websites using Canvas. This was his first project. Impressive!
Jamie uses his kids for some shameless marketing of his business. Clever.
Would you like to feature on our blog? Share your experiences working with WordPress and our themes and if we believe it will benefit our community we’ll publish it. Contact us.
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6 Responses

  1. Wes
    October 5, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    Great job, Jamie! Love your business model and the services you offer. What’s the platform most frequently used for training (video tutorials, webinar, Gotomeeting, etc?) in your business?

  2. jamie marsland
    October 5, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

    Hi Wes,

    tks for the feedback!

    Most of our training is face to face..nothing quite like it. Although we do use skype quite a bit and we have some really exciting niche online wordpress training videos just about to launch on pootlepress.tv 🙂

  3. Laurent
    October 6, 2011 at 11:26 pm #

    “LoveBerkhamsted – A WordPress & BuddyPress site built on top of Canvas” : great … but you need to upgrade Buddypress Canvas if you want it to stay on Canvas…

  4. Frank McClung
    October 7, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

    I’ve thought quite a bit about trying a model like your Xpress service using Canvas for local clients and couldn’t ever figure out if it could be profitable. I’m curious to see how your model turns out. £395 per site seems awfully low for what you are offering. I think you could get twice that amount per site at least.

  5. Ian Davies
    October 7, 2011 at 8:11 pm #

    Nice article, Jamie.

    And that’s coming from one of your competitors too. 😉

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