WordPress Developer and Web Design in 2020 – A Comprehensive Guide
What is WordPress?
WordPress is an open-source CMS (Content Management System) that essentially manages your website content.
It can be used and modified by individuals and professional WordPress developers and is completely free to use. Beyond the free tools, additional costs apply when incorporating services such as hosting, web design and bespoke development.
The flexibility of design is enhanced by the availability of thousands of WordPress plugins and themes. It has built a reputation as a user friendly, accessible and adaptable platform for all levels of user.
A vibrant and active contributor community has helped WordPress to evolve from its beginnings as a mere ‘blog site’ provider.
Check out just how active the platform is with this Live Global Map
It is now as capable as any other platform of delivering complex and high performance sites and is thought to power over a third of all global websites.
So, Should I Hire a WordPress Developer?
Anyone can work on a WordPress website, whether working professionally or at hobbyist level. This is because the platform is open to everyone.
However, not everyone can use it correctly and confidently. When things don’t go as planned it can be both frustrating and infuriating. Sites being produced with commercial intent are often best left to a WordPress expert.
Designing a WordPress site, from start to finish can be a complex undertaking. From the initial content, through to design and development, this requires a certain level of skill to get it right.
If you’re looking to utilise the WordPress core CMS for your new business website there are a few things to consider:
Low cost of entry
Using WordPress is completely free when you’re a micro scale user and you can host your site with them too.
If you want to take ‘Wordpress’ out of your domain name, fees will apply:
mynewsite.wordpress.com = Free domain and free WordPress hosting
mynewsite.com = Paid domain name and hosting
The first example is ideal for hobbyists and small blogs. To make a business site look trustworthy and professional it’s always advisable to buy a stand-alone domain name. As well as this you should also host the website using a respected hosting provider.
User Friendly for Small Blog Sites
WordPress originally started off as a small blogging platform. If you are looking to build a small, local blog site, you can start your website with no real coding knowledge.
However, when you start to get beyond the realms of a simple blog site it’s always best to consult with a professional web designer. When you want your dreams to become reality, it can get complicated, quickly!
“21.1 billion pages are viewed in WP every month, by 409 million people”
WordPress Developers Everywhere
The open source nature of WordPress means that it’s always improving. The constant updates and developments help to keep pace with modern technology, website building trends and consumer requirements.
Perhaps a negative of the community is that anyone can be a part of it. Unfortunately, any individual can label themselves as a ‘WordPress Developer’ as there are no regulations or formal qualifications required.
To produce a well-managed, high performing and trustworthy site requires knowledge of HTML, CSS, PHP and server management. Add to this, the understanding of many other technical processes. Finding someone with the right levels of experience will help ensure the long term success and sustainability of a site.
For example, we have a team of designers who design the site. Then our developers match the website concepts and features to those designs.
Scalable WordPress Web Design
WordPress can be used to produce a single page website or blog and even a small online store. At the opposite end of the scale, Microsoft utilises the platform for their global company blog.
It offers the flexibility to expand and scale a company website as a business evolves. More professional tweaks and updates can be added as growth occurs.
It currently has over 55,000 plug-ins too, so if you have an idea the chances are there’s a plug-in to help drive all type of websites.
A WordPress site is 100% editable, 100% of the time. This is ideal to make simple content changes and also to add blog posts to your site. Both of which are great for ongoing SEO and ongoing CRO.
A WordPress developer can add professional tools, plug-ins, responsive themes and applications that will enhance your site.
Update an Update
Due to the fact that WordPress is constantly evolving it often involves a lot of updating. This is not ideal when time and resources are best spent elsewhere.
Some themes and plug-ins can be set to update automatically. The majority need to be checked and updated manually on a regular basis. They also need to be compatible with the latest updates to main WordPress operating software system.
“Less than one third of all WordPress installations are updated to the latest version”
As there are so many different factors operating collectively (yet essentially independently). There will sometimes be compatibility issues that can be tricky to solve too.
Open source code is accessible to everyone. This increases the vulnerability of the software. Unfortunately, this is an inevitable compromise that the platform has to make.
Having the latest security plug ins active on sites before they are live is very important. You should also be backing up your site on a regular basis.
The first plug-in that a lot of developers recommend is Wordfence®. It’s a globally trusted plug-in that helps prevent hacking from around the world. Always have this active. There are free and premium versions available of this security plug-in available and it can be downloaded within the WordPress dashboard.
If in Doubt, Consult a Professional Developer
Having 100% control of your site can be daunting and it can be downright scary if something goes wrong. Very scary!
Weeks, even months of work can disappear, forever, just like that. It can happen a lot if you don’t know what you’re doing.
The value of a professional WordPress developer, with an impressive skill set, building a site has both short term and long term benefits.
In the short term it frees up time and resources, two of the most valuable commodities to any business.
In the long term it makes a site much more professional, robust. It will also be able to be adapted to meet the needs and requirements of your growing business.
You may be able to change the fuse in a plug but maybe a full re-wire of your house is expecting too much. So this would be better left to an experienced electrician.
You won’t electrocute yourself updating your WordPress theme, but you get the idea!
Feel the Need for Speed
When developing a site there is a tendency to overlook site speed in favour of flashy or vanity features.
Too many plug-ins, as well as image sizes and other factors can seriously slow any website down. So, always ensure to align the viability of themes with site purpose. Don’t overcompensate at the expense of site speed and efficiency. If in doubt you can always check your page speed with Google!
Coding is Key
WordPress is built on the foundations of coding. But it’s not a Drag and Drop website builder and it will always rely on the user to have a certain level of knowledge and competence.
In order for a website to perform as well as possible complex coding is best left to the experts. So, if you don’t know your HTML from your CSS then it’s best to consult with an experienced WordPress developer.
Finding the Right WordPress Developer
As mentioned earlier not all web developers are created equal!
You need to be able to trust the company you hire to do a great job. Always be prepared to ask to see past work. Check out customer testimonials reviews and double check whether examples of sites are actually still live.
“In 2013 WP became the most popular CMS in the world – and still is!”
WordPress Web Design Costs
How much is that worth?
As an example:
An individually owned private finance company owner makes 2 deals a day worth £700 from a new website
If, the owner took 10 days to build the site, that would essentially mean £14,000 in potential lost revenue and lead generation . On top of that, the site could still run into technical difficulties at any time!
Having a website set up by a professional will cost the owner a lot less. This equates to both time and missed opportunities as well as a potentially massive financial saving.
A professional, reliable, trustworthy and responsive website is an important investment to power the long term future of a business. Can you afford not to get it designed professionally with the help of a WordPress developer?