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Justin Holt

Web Developer/Engineer

Justin Holt is an easy-going long-time web developer (27 years), baseball fan, bbq pitmaster, and Craft CMS evangelist. He specializes in Craft CMS/Yii development and consulting with various agencies, businesses, and other developers worldwide, including Solspace, Span Studios, Ebeacon, Osborn Barr Paramore, and Surprise Highway, among many others. 

Justin currently runs and does all presenting for the Charlotte Craft CMS Developers meetup group. He is a frequent contributor and responder on the Craft CMS Discord group and aims to share his knowledge and experience to help other developers succeed. 

Justin lives in Charlotte, NC, USA, with his wife Alison and 7-year-old son Hollis. He and Hollis also run their competition BBQ team, Holt Brothers BBQ, where they compete in BBQ and steak contests across the southeast and mid-Atlantic region.

Why are you using Craft CMS?

Craft CMS is hands-down the best Content Management System, and Yii, combined with Twig, is the best platform to code upon. I gauge this determination on a balance of developer experience, content manager experience, UI and UX of the CMS, quality and concise documentation, and a vibrant, helpful and welcoming developer community.

I love Craft CMS for its ease of use and the welcoming and vibrant community supporting it. - Justin Holt

What was your first Craft project?

In 2017 I worked on my first Craft CMS project,, a high-end home community in the Savannah, GA, USA region. Rich with visuals, complex backend schema structure, and several custom plugins, including deep integration with an MLS property API. It was a challenging and fun experience.

What's your favorite project you've done with Craft CMS?

In 2021 I created, from scratch, the most performant site I have developed yet on Craft CMS through the Clearfire agency out of the midwest USA:

In this project, I focused on smart content schema management for a great editor experience, best practices on security and SEO, and a superior site speed approach that resulted in lightning-fast page load times and outstanding measurable and perceivable performance.

Screenshot of the Legacy Homepage

Do you have a favorite craft site that someone else has implemented?

One of my favorite Craft websites was developed and is managed by Surprise Highway out of Chicago, IL, USA: Sir Kensington's.

The brand is fun, colorful, and exciting, and the site showcases all those ideas with clever structuring and a great user experience.

What are the biggest benefits of Craft?

A blank slate to create the best experience your users, customers, and content managers require and desire without any roadblocks or opinionated fluff to brush out of the way. A great community and stakeholder group behind the platform will make Craft CMS the defacto content management system for many years.

What improvements to the CMS would you like to see?

I'd love to see more features and logic from Laravel brought into the codebase, as Laravel is my second favorite PHP framework. I would not be opposed to a migration from Yii to Laravel.

What are your favorite plugins?

Blitz, Imager-X, SEOMatic, Async-queue, Freeform, and Retour are all in my toolbox for new Craft websites.