Evolution Web Development has seen a lot of ups and downs in the internet industry in 12½ years. “A lot of local competitors, most of them bigger than Evo, have come and gone since we’ve been in business,” said Ray Gulick, Evo principal. “There are only a handful of web development companies in New Mexico that have been around as long as we have.”
Gulick attributes his company’s staying power to his focus on doing what’s best for clients. “We’ve always tried to make sure our clients get what they need, given whatever budget restrictions they have,” he said. “We’ve never treated client websites as an opportunity to make our portfolio look more impressive; that leads to doing the wrong things for the wrong reasons.”
Evo used to be a multi-person company, but currently it consists of just one. “It tickles me when people assume there are several of us. I like to refer to myself as principal, creative director, designer, programmer, accountant, wastebasket emptier,” said Gulick. “I’ve been solo for about three years, and I can no longer imagine why I would want it any different. What allows me to be an effective one-person operation is WordPress: I can do 99% of what clients need with my level of technical expertise. And on those rare occasions when I need expertise I don’t have, I can call on the best to give me a hand.”
Originally a print designer (since 1979), and then a web designer proficient in CSS/HTML, Gulick relied on a business partner with PHP/MySQL expertise to handle programming until mid-2009, when his partner left Evo. By then Ray had been keeping up a WordPress blog for nearly a year, and it was becoming clear to him that WordPress could be a content management system (CMS) platform for websites in Evo’s niche: business and professional organizations.
“Working with my former partner gave me just enough exposure to PHP/MySQL that I was able to jump into WordPress template design and development. In the three years since, I’ve learned a heck of a lot more, and developed some real expertise in a couple of areas,” said Gulick.
One of the areas of expertise for which Evo has become known is custom CMS development. “Right out of the box, WordPress is not much of a CMS,” said Gulick. “But with some custom development, it can be incredibly powerful and make managing content incredibly easy. For businesses and professional organizations, that’s critical. They have better things to do than spend more time than necessary updating their websites.”
Gulick sees WordPress continuing to improve and continuing to gain acceptance in the business market. “Until mid-to-late 2011, I was doing a fair amount of trying to convince prospective clients that WordPress was capable of meeting their needs. Then something flipped, and now I get calls out of the blue from people who’ve already decided they want their website done in WordPress, and they call Evo because that’s what we do.” Then he grinned and added “I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t one of my favorite things about working with WordPress.”