A digital product agency

Enterprise WordPress and product development

Your CTO for Hire

Sterner Stuff provides not only technical skills to manage your company's mission-critical web services, but also C-suite insight and guidance when planning those services and how they impact your bottom line.

Begin with a fixed-fee, no-obligation roadmapping. You bring your goals, we'll bring our expertise, and together, we'll create a plan for the future of your company's digital products.

Our Technical Competencies

Custom, cloud-based software solutions

There are tons of off-the-shelf software solutions out there with sales people promising they'll be the silver bullet for your business. And many times, they can be!

But as your business scales, your problems become bigger and your needs become more specific. You may be staring down your budget wondering why you're using a "good enough" solution with a five-figure monthly licensing fee.

Or you may be first in your field, offering brand new services that require a completely custom platform to properly deliver to your customers.

Wherever you fall in the above, Sterner Stuff is here to help. With custom-built software, we can ensure your business is ready to meet all the challenges ahead with solutions that work exactly the way you need them.


Our solutions are all built on the web, which means you never have to worry about hardware, office space, or specialized devices. The tools we recommend and build are accessible from any device, anywhere there's an internet connection.


If your business requires more staff to scale, are you really scaling? We don't think so.

Automate away as much of your workflow and services as possible to keep payroll affordable while still growing your business.

Business Intelligence

Where there's an API, there's a way. We'll help you pull information from every segment of your operations and put it under one roof. Dashboards and databases ensure you're making efficient and informed decisions.

WordPress Hosting, Customization
and Management

Helping Enterprise Operations Meet Their Publishing, eCommerce, and Marketing Needs

WordPress is a content management system that can scale to meet your business's needs, but not every agency is equipped to run and manage WordPress at scale. That's where Sterner Stuff comes in.

Whether you're migrating to WordPress for the first time or tuning up a massive existing install, Sterner Stuff can help you plan, execute, and maintain for long term success.

WordPress for Publishers

Meet Fluctuations in Traffic

Increase uptime and cut costs all at once. Auto-scaling WordPress isn't unique to your publication. Let Sterner Stuff advise and execute on a migration to one of our enterprise WordPress hosting partners. The next time you get a big scoop, your website won't break a sweat.

Diversify Monetization with Gutenberg

Extend WordPress's block editor with custom widgets, giving your authors the power to execute on unique, context-specific monetization efforts with your financial partners.

Performance Audits

Fast sites mean happy users. Happy users stay longer and are more likely to interact with your advertisers. This higher revenue per user is great for monetization, because everyone knows new users are more expensive than existing users. Let Sterner Stuff tune your site and bump your bottom line.

WordPress for eCommerce

WooCommerce Experts

There are lots of options out there for WordPress eCommerce, but we stand by industry-standard WooCommerce and its reliable stable of extensions. We're here to configure and customize WooCommerce plugins and themes for your online business.

Caching for eCommerce

Caching isn't a one-size-fits-all solution, and that's doubly true for eCommerce websites. By looking at caching options across your entire stack, we can ensure a performant website in the face of any requirements. Fast websites sell better, so ensure yours is as fast as possible.

Seamless Shipping

Brands often underestimate the complications of shipping for eCommerce, from configuring rates, to talking to their shippers to getting labels in a timely fashion. Sterner Stuff can advise on both logistical and technical aspects of ensuring every delivery goes out on time and without losing your shirt on shipping.

Integration and Automation

When your eCommerce sales take off, the last thing you need is to start bringing on an army of employees to handle fulfillment, accounting and logistics. Rather than pay new employees to do data entry, Sterner Stuff can help you ensure your logistics and accounting solutions talk to WooCommerce, automating as much as possible.

Sterner Stuff's Base WordPress Offerings

Worry-Free Updates and Maintenance

The base level of our core service offering is an excellent turn-key solution for all kinds of small businesses. No more managing your own website, and technical assistance is available via a direct line rather than an insufferable chat widget.

WordPress For Small Business Course

If the Worry-Free plan isn't right for you yet, we've made this guide for you. Take actionable steps to make your WordPress website more reliable.

Each lesson arrives in a convenient email, and you can reply to get a little hands-on assistance.

Learn more or just sign up for this free course.

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Level 2: "My Website Isn't Helping My Business"

You have a WordPress website, but it feels like a huge waste of money. It happens. Some shops churn-and-burn through websites, shipping them overseas, with no understanding of your business, your problems, or your goals.

With Sterner Stuff, your website will be goal-driven as an integrated part of your business. Get started with Sterner Stuff Insights.

Level 3: You Need a New Website

Ready to dive right in, eh? You:

  • Don't have a website
  • Don't have a mobile-friendly website
  • Hate your Wix, Squarespace, or GoDaddy Site Builder site
  • Have a great new project in mind

Starting with a clean slate is a great opportunity to lay the groundwork that so often gets missed right off the bat.

WordPress Websites Get Hacked

WordPress and its plugins receive security updates all the time. If you don't update your site, you risk it going down, and it'll take all the business it brings in with it.

For just $112 a month, Sterner Stuff keeps your site safe from bad guys. It'll also be lickity-split fast and secured with an SSL. Get started now!

Why Sterner Stuff?

Cloud-based software development, tailored to you

If your costs are scaling 1:1 with your income, is it really growth?

Efficiency. Intelligence. Dashboards. Databases. A custom software solution from Sterner Stuff is what you need.

WordPress theme and plugin customization

We're recommended by the people who make the plugins. There's a right way and a wrong way to customize WordPress. I'll let you guess which way I'm doing it.

Long-term support plans

Sterner Stuff's worry-free support plan comes with hosting, updates, up-time monitoring, SSL certificates and more.

Sterner Stuff Design is a joy to work with. Ethan is professional, incredibly expedient, and a great dev on top of all that! Over the course of a month, he helped develop several modules, troubleshoot bugs, and even muck around in the weeds with really small details to make the site more efficient and standards-compliant. Can't recommend Sterner Stuff Design enough!

Brent Barkley

Lessons Learned

Semantic Versioning for WordPress

By Ethan Clevenger | February 11, 2021

One of the biggest struggles facing both the maintainers of WordPress and individuals tasked with maintaining WordPress sites is updates. Running updates often gets ignored by non-technical users afraid of breaking things, and the WordPress core team is doing everything they can to mitigate the security risks involved with not updating. If you don’t install…

Remove WordPress Actions with Object-Bound Callbacks

By Ethan Clevenger | January 15, 2021

Often, it’s very simple to disable a filter or action in WordPress. Core’s adherence, merit notwithstanding, to working in the global namespace meant many plugins and themes followed suit. So unhooking a function was as simple as: But as PHP has matured, plugin and theme authors have moved toward more frequent use of modern structures…

Hiring: PHP Developer Seeking to Leave Freelancing

By Ethan Clevenger | June 30, 2020

The Sterner Stuff team is growing! We’re seeking a self-motivated PHP developer fresh off a solo-preneur endeavor. You: a self-motivated PHP developer always seeking to learn. Obsessed with doing things the “right way”. At some point, you decided to try your hand at freelancing, either due to circumstances or for a shot at something new…