We love it when companies approach us with a great vision in the very early stages. Local Brighton company Diligent Investments had a fantastic idea.

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WooCommerce subscriptions allows paid access to the search module

They knew exactly how their site should work but not what to use. We met up with them at their lovely offices which look out over Brighton beach and worked out a plan to mix the best bits of WooCommerce, WordPress and some bespoke Symfony coding to build their vision.

Choosing WordPress and WooCommerce

Diligent were adamant they wanted a platform they could use. They had a strong content marketing strategy, so using a CMS like WordPress was an essential for them.

Diligent wanted blog regularly and with ease. Anything that makes that process less painful, like a CMS, is a major aid to getting more content out. We’re huge evangelists for WordPress and think they have made a smart choice in using it. In fact, you can head over to their blog and see how they have really nailed their content strategy.

WooCommerce, WordPress & the Symfony framework

Other than that, they were open minded, or technology agnostic as us geeks like to call it. They needed to provide a paid-for subscription service to discover repossessed properties across the UK. As it was a paid service we needed to provide exclusive access for users who had set up recurring payment. WordPress has a fantastic user management and paired with the WooCommerce Groups extension, we were able to offer exclusive access to our paying customers. We love the way WooCommerce integrates with the built-in functionality of WordPress.

Bespoke coding with Symfony allows for neat tricks
Bespoke coding with Symfony allows for neat tricks

The exclusive content in question was built from the ground up. We use a PHP framework called Symfony for this kind of bespoke work and integrated with the property API which has the database of properties. We then added some neat features, including a paid & lite version, intelligent search, clustering of properties and detailed property pages.

We also wanted to take recurring payment using credit cards. We’ve all seen this done with Paypal but we’ve found to take recurring payment by card the best answer is Authorize.Net. Their CIM system captures all the required data for recurring payments, integrates with WooSubscriptions and allows quick future payments. It goes without saying that PCI compliance is all in order with them and they have a slick backend. A highly recommended payment gateway.

The design brief was to be clean and minimal, so we developed a custom child theme for the fantastic Woo Canvas framework. This is our go-to framework, which Woo keep regularly updated and compatible with WooCommerce. It’s a future proof option for anyone thinking of developing for WooCommerce.

All in all we had fun building this project which took WooCommerce to new places! Click here to view the site.