Our Years of Experience as a WordPress Developer Will Save You Time & Money and Avoid Costly Mistakes
We have been developing websites since around 2000 and have seen the industry and technology evolve. One of the best things to happen is the active development of the WordPress CMS platform. It has made life easier for both website developers and website owners. What started out as a basic blogging site builder has turned into the most popular CMS platform running on the web today, and with good reason.
The biggest reason to choose WordPress is that it has arguably the best backend content editor of any CMS platform, so the content of your site can be managed by you. On the development side of things it provides an efficient way to develop simple and complex websites with a prebuilt framework and large library of plugins for just about any functionality and integration you may need. There is still plenty of work involved in building out a WordPress site, but the development time goes right into shaping the site rather than custom coding basic structure, menus, and advanced features.
We have worked on countless WordPress sites and the core web development skillset still plays a critical role. After hand coding sites and dynamic database applications for years, we are just as comfortable dealing with things when it requires getting outside of the user interface, visual WYSIWYG editors & drag ‘n drop page builders. There is CSS coding, php template code editing & creating, editing pages in text/code view, direct database access, script conflict resolution, hosting issues, performance & optimization, theme and plugin bugs, and there are always surprises and unexpected troubleshooting. It’s just part of building a site regardless of the method or platform chosen.
WordPress accounts for around 75% of the websites we build. We have worked with a large number of WordPress themes and plugins, WooCommerce (the Best eCommerce plugin for WordPress), different hosts, various 3rd party integrations and also have experience many of the issues that may arise when building a WordPress site. We have already spent the countless hours learning the ups & downs and how to avoid them and work through them. In most cases there are many different ways to do something in WordPress and build out pages and it pays to have the experience and thorough knowledge of the WordPress system and CSS.
Is WordPress Right for You?
WordPress is a great platform to build a website on, but it’s not for everyone.
Consider WordPress If You:
- Want to manage the content, add pages, write blog posts, or construct forms yourself, from any computer/device with a web browser.
- Are working with a budget range of $2,500 – $10k.
- Need an eCommerce/Shopping Cart site for simple products and have less than 1000 skus
- Are looking for special functionality such as an events calendar, photo gallerys,
- Want control of SEO elements
- Want a Responsive/Mobile Friendly site
- Are ok with budgeting a little extra for ongoing maintenance. WordPress and the Plugins will have frequent updates which will need to be installed to keep things working and secure. Non-updated sites are very vulnerable to hacking. Typically updates are needed once a month and the process takes 15-30 minutes in most cases. We will usually give the site a quick health check while we are in there and may make some adjustments if we notice anything. Occasionally a plugins may break, have compatibility issues with the latest WP version, or just need some tech support from the plugin developer.
WordPress May Not Be For You If:
- You need a very simple one page website
- Are working with a budget under $2k
- Are a large corporation with a large complex site or are looking to spend $50k+ on a one of a kind custom built digital experience.
- Are looking to build a web application, or new concept social networking site.
- You don’t want to manage the content yourself.
- The content will not need frequent updating if any at all.
- Are looking for a very low maintenance website. (Custom coded sites that do not run on a specific platforms could sit for many years without needing any maintenance.)
- Your current site is already running in a different CMS and you want to continue using it.
WordPress Themes – Why use them and how to choose the best theme for your WordPress site.
Starting with a premium WordPress theme is often a good place to start and there are thousands and thousands available. When choosing a theme it’s easy to be fooled by great looking stock graphics and eye catching features, but that’s not what you are buying a theme for. It’s more about the overall structure, performance, and available features that may come with the theme. Really any theme can probably produce a front end site of similar aesthetics and function, but being able to mentally strip out all the visual goodies & content and evaluate the core theme structure and available features is what will pay in the long run and save you some serious frustration and head scratching while attempting to learn the backend. You also want to ensure that the theme developer will be maintain the code base to keep up with the ever changing WordPress core versions. We have worked with some excellent WordPress themes and have a few favorites that just plain perform better than the others and are far more pleasant to administer, but we also frequently explore new themes. When you have developed a site in one of the more dysfunctional and poorly thought out themes, you come to really appreciate the well built premium themes.
Build Your Own WordPress Site or Hire a Professional
WordPress is relatively easy to use and learn to manage content, but developing the site is a bit more involved and requires a higher skillset to do correctly and deal with issues. While we admire the Do It Yourselfer’s, if you are new to WordPress we strongly recommend having a professional get things set up for you or you may find yourself spending days or weeks on something that an experienced WordPress developer can do in a couple hours. For those looking to learn themselves we are happy to discuss things with you and provide some guidance or assistance along the way. We generally recommend the person(s) who will be managing the content of the site participate in building out the pages of the site while we also build out other pages. This gives some hands on experience with using the backend editor and we can help and monitor the process. We feel it’s very important for a business to be able to add & manage the content of their website without relying on a web developer for every little thing. With that said we have seen some pretty interesting things with people managing their own content so it’s highly recommended to keep an ongoing relationship with your web developer. Much of what we currently do is basic website content management for clients. It’s not that they are unable to make changes, but if it’s not something you are doing daily, it’s often easier to just have us do it.
If you are working on a very small or no budget and have lots of time, go for it. It will be a great learning process and you’ll end up with a valuable skill.
If you have a budget to work with it is best to have a professional handle the development and then you come in around the site launch to maintain the content. There will be several advantages gained from hiring a professional WordPress developer aside from just the time saved, design details and build quality. It will almost always result in a far superior and smoother running website.
Talk to us about your project. We are very honest and will do our best to guide you in the right direction.