Use Wordpress! Create websites in a jiff by reusing old work

If you are a web developer or designer you know that customer requirements tend to repeat. Sometimes its just a couple of features while other times is this old project of that old client all over again :)

If you are using WordPress, you already know how cool it is in terms of implementing big chunks of functionality for you in no time. There is however a part in working with WordPress which is continually repeating and frankly, it is a boring one.

The "Justin Bieber" plugin

Do you know Justin Bieber? Of course you do! Lately he is all over the place. News, blogs, magazines... Now try to think of plugins that you use in almost every WordPress installation. There are plenty of them huh? Wouldn't it be nice if you didn't have to configure them every time you take over a new website order?

The "Swiss knife" theme

Sometimes themes are more than a fusion of beautiful colors and images. They can "do" stuff! There are plenty of tailor made themes out there, designed to support real estate websites, e-shops and so forth. Every theme however needs configuration. Wouldn't you love to be able to clone the functionality of such a theme and only have to change the look and feel?

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Did it once? Clone it!

Software development, especially web development is changing. Nowadays professionals tend to combine already existing solutions rather than creating their own from scratch. It is a Requirement Driven paradigm, we could say.

So, you have created a fabulous site for a friend, a customer or yourself and a project with similar requirements appears. What do you do?

Scenario #1: Configure it from scratch. You have already done it once so you already:

  • Know which plug-ins and / or theme you will be needing.
  • Have identified potential "first-time" usage drawbacks for the aforementioned components...
  • ...and overcame them!

Scenario #2: Duplicate it. In this approach you create a clone of the pre-existing site meaning you copy both the functionality and the content. I will explain in a moment the tricky parts of this scenario.

Before that lets see a quick review of Duplicator, a plug-in that you can use to clone your WordPress site quick and easy.

The "dark side" of the... Duplicator

While Duplicator is a great way to save time when building a WordPress site which is very similar, in terms of functionality, with a pre-existing finished one it has its "dark side". As I mentioned earlier when we clone a site, along with the functionality we also duplicate the content.

While there is nothing wrong with that (after all we are going to replace it with new content anyway) one must be careful for traces from the old project that might have remain present. The most frequent case is the website's title (handled from settings > general menu), especially when the the theme uses a header logo instead of the title of the website.

Combine Duplicator with WordPress Reset

A quick way to wipe out all the content of the old project at once (especially if the project had been alive for a long time) is WordPress Reset. It will reset the database content living the files untouched. This way we preserve theme and plug-in functionality for our new WordPress installation while, at the same time, get rid of the old project's content.

Golden Rule: It is highly recommend to use Wordpress Reset right after cloning your site or after you have successfully backed up your work. No matter how fabulous and sound a plug-in is, in development you should always go for better safe than sorry :)

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