Project: Phoenix

blog engine

Phoenix is the WordPress theme that Pronto Marketing uses for over 1,500 small businesses worldwide.

The Problem

In 2008, Pronto Marketing started offering managed websites for small business. Originally Pronto used a custom WordPress theme with a fairly rigid design structure. The theme was successful in scaling with Pronto, but as the customer base grew, more problems began to arise:

  • It was difficult for local competitors to differentiate from one another
  • Designs were becoming increasingly out of date
  • Pronto’s designers lacked inspiration
  • The theme’s older architecture made it harder to integrate with newer technologies

The Solution

Instead of refactoring their existing theme, Pronto decided to build a new one from scratch.

The core idea was for Phoenix to be a “designless” theme, built to support Pronto’s unique we-do-it-for-you service model. Instead of a bunch of predetermined layouts, each website starts out as a blank page, allowing the Pronto team to implement fully custom designs. A smart, Bootstrap front-end architecture, custom shortcodes and client-specific stylesheets allowed for rapid website creation and management.

Development Process

omnidroidWe wanted to get Phoenix in the hands of the Pronto production team as quickly as possible in order to receive feedback.

The team started on a process of duplicating top industry websites on Phoenix. Through each duplication, the team found a few things Phoenix couldn't do. We took those as feature requests, figured out the best way to incorporate into the theme, and shipped it back to the production team to try another.

The process reminded us of the Omnidroid robot from The Incredibles. One by one, Buddy Pine threw different superheroes at it, allowing the robot to organically learn and become more powerful. As did Phoenix!

View live examples of Phoenix in action in the website showcase, or contact Pronto Marketing to see how they can help with your website.

Technologies Used

  • WordPress
  • AWS
    • Route 53
    • ELB
    • EC2
    • ElasticCache
    • RDS - MySQL
    • S3
    • Elasticsearch Service + Kibana
  • Nginx
  • Varnish
  • HHVM and PHP-FPM

Cory Brown

Cory Brown


If he's not making you smile with his quick wit, charm and kindness, Cory is hard at work serving customers at Pronto Marketing. His talents also include playing piano and navigating his motorbike through Bangkok’s sea of traffic with aplomb. - Cory's mother