Ampersand, a Magento (and open-source ecommerce) agency commissioned Phil Thompson to build their new WordPress-based responsive website.

Client’s feedback:

The brief:

  • Port across content from current WordPress site and ensure any hooks/custom functions were not lost
  • Keep the ease of use of current WordPress backend site (or, make it easier to use) while making sure *all* content was editable
  • Build responsive templates that worked on mobile, tablet and larger screens based upon supplied mobile-sized and desktop-sized designs
  • Use Instagram and Last.FM APIs to pull in social data
  • Work with Product Manager to ensure she was informed of progress

A big win for this project was the use of Advanced Custom Fields Pro plugin and Gravity Forms (the latter of which the client was already using). ACF Pro allowed all data to be editable but configured in the WordPress backend so that the client found it easy to update all their content.

Key facts:

  • Reduced MySQL database size by 75% (from 19.7Mb to 4.8Mb)*
  • Increased Google PageSpeed score** from 70 to 86 on Desktop and 51 to 73 on Mobile.

* the main reason for such a large database was the countless post revisions. The simple fix was to remove these from the database as they were not needed and to set WordPress to only store one revision per post in the future (modifying wp-config.php with this line define('WP_POST_REVISIONS', 1);

** A higher PageSpeed score would have been preferred but sadly some plugins like to add their own CSS and JavaScript files and make it very difficult to remove them safely.


  1. Client initiates contact (early) June 2014
  2. Project started (early) August 2014
  3. Project completed in 94 hours (12 days)
  4. Project goes live (mid) October 2014



My role in the project: