Ready to Dive Into WordPress Web Design?
If you’ve considered designing your own website, there are quite a few options available to you. One of the best ways (assuming you don’t want to jump into the daunting world of coding), is to learn how to use the most popular CMS (Content Management System) in the world, WordPress. While you can use sites like Wix and Squarespace, those particular platforms can leave you with something flaccid and simple; something that looks exactly like another company’s website. Always keep in mind: no matter what platform you use to develop your website, you will need to be honest with yourself about your situation and where you’re willing to compromise. The four main components to consider are time, money, tech skills and design skills. Where you lack in one area, you have to make up for greatly in another. So if you have time, for example, you can spend some of it learning how to use WordPress and basic HTML/CSS. If you have limited time, hopefully you already have design and tech skills. With that out of the way, here are some helpful tips to get you started on your WordPress journey.
1: Even though you’re not quite ready to code, get ready for a hearty learning curve
WordPress out of the box is a clean CMS that is pretty intuitive in its native form. The problem with only using the “basic” WordPress theme(s), is you have very few customization options available to you. In order to really make a website that represents your brand, you will need to do a significant amount of editing. Manipulating themes to get them to match your vision will take some time and a good understanding of how the CMS works.
2: Find a reputable, responsive, versatile theme to use as your foundation
As we mentioned, WordPress comes with some basic themes. These are totally fine if all you’re looking to do is blog. But if you want a real website, you will need to expand your horizons a bit. There are many cool and functional themes that you can use, but there are also a lot of themes that are are filled with panic-inducing bugs, bad interfaces and mediocre customer support.
3: Beware of the poorly coded plugin
One of the benefits of WordPress is that it’s open-source, meaning that anyone from around the world can contribute to its plugins and themes. This is a huge part of the WordPress appeal, but it can also be problematic as not all developers have the same level of skill and experience. Be sure to only download plugins with lots of installations and lots of reviews. But beware of compatibility issues! Even the super-common and trusty TinyMCE Advanced (a very popular plugin that helps with your front-end text editing) can interfere with some themes' coding. But, as a general rule, a plugin with lots of downloads and lots of reviews is safe and should give you minimal trouble. The last thing you want is a vulnerable plugin, which is not only bad for the functionality of your site, it’s a playground for hackers who want to get at your information.
4: Ensure you have spam/malware blockers in place
If you have any contact forms on your site, they are highly susceptible to common hacks (URL injections, brute force, redirect, etc.). An unprotected WordPress site has a lot of vulnerabilities that make it easy for hackers to do all kinds of nasty things to your information. While some of these issues are treatable, others will require a full re-installation of your website. If you’ve spent weeks on a website, the last thing you want to do is start over! Wordfence is a very popular and safe plugin for this purpose.
5: Have a good website backup system in place
If your web host does not have a built-in backup feature, be sure that you have a way to save the files on your site regularly (UpDraft is a good example of a plugin that will help you achieve this). That way, if something does go terribly wrong, you can always revert back to the most recent working version. If your site is large, it can take a while to back up all of your files, but it’s well worth the effort.
There is so much to consider when deciding to create your own WordPress site. But even for all its quirks, WordPress is the best option (apart from coding from scratch) to create a versatile, functional and attractive website for your brand. Learn all you can about web hosting, email, domains, and familiarize yourself with basic HTML and CSS (it will help a lot in the long run). If you’re looking to venture into small business web design in Colorado, Denver or anywhere else, the brand you’ve created from the ground-up deserves a great website worthy of the blood, sweat and tears you’ve put in. Don’t take shortcuts, and if you need help reach out to an experienced team who can help you achieve your web design goals. Learn more about WordPress web design: https://www.wpbeginner.com/