Small business owners are some of my favorite people on the planet. I try to look out for them. That means that sometimes, even if they’re not my client, I get in conversations with them about their websites. And I’ll tell you, nothing makes me cringe as much as hearing a small business owner say “My web guy says it’s no big deal – it’s just WordPress!”
All WordPress Websites ARE NOT Created Equal
WordPress has a wonderful reputation, and to a large extent, it’s well-deserved. When WordPress is used properly, it can result in wonderful websites. The key words here are “used properly.”
Think of WordPress as a kit-car or a modular home. The pieces for the website are all there – but they need to be put together. Even a basic assembly requires a certain level of expertise: to accomplish the job in a time effective manner, you have to know the nuances and tricks to putting the site together.
It’s important to understand that a basic assembly generally isn’t enough to make the small business owner happy with their website. To make it easy for the everyday user to update and edit, customization is required.
A Little WordPress Education
WordPress is a content management system. It is based on open source language of PHP and database foundation of MySQL. This platform is most well-known for blogging but you can do a lot more with it. WordPress provides much more functionality with Plugins.
Plugins are extensions or enhancements to the basic WordPress platform. Plugins can be free or paid tools that can be integrated into your WordPress platform. Plugins can do things like protect your website from spam, add a contact form to your website, or import the comments and posts from your social media sites. Plugins can also be custom written for your website by a WordPress developer.
The Theme is the design of your website. It dictates what your website looks and feels like. Designers and developers can customize the Theme to control the front-end or user experience.
WordPress Out of the Box
When you install a clean version of WordPress it comes with a basic front-end white theme.
That looks like this:
A WordPress front end designer will know how to create a custom look and feel for your website that meets the needs of your organization. This is known as a custom theme.
Something you should note is that creating a custom theme still means that the website should follow best practices of clean code, enhanced load time for the website and cross-browser compatibility.
Every content management system has an administration area. This is where you go to update and manage the content on your website. Out of the box, the WordPress back-end or administration area looks like this:
What Makes A Good WordPress Designer & Developer?
If your web team says “It’s just WordPress” like it’s no big deal, run – do not walk! – far, far away. You need and deserve a team that understands the front-end user experience matters and the back –end administration of the website needs to be easy to manage.
Out of the box WordPress, like any open source content management system, does not always make managing and editing a site simple and easy. It’s up to your design and development team to customize the WordPress back-end to give you and your team what they need to manage the site with little knowledge about coding.
Here is a video sample of a few of our back-end WordPress sites to show you the difference between the basic install and user custom designed user-friendly WordPress. Ask yourself what you would prefer to work with.
Making websites easy to use, edit and update is what separates one WordPress team from another. When you’re deciding who you want to have work on your website, don’t just look at the front of a website. You want to see samples – or even tour – the back-end of sites they’ve built for their clients. You want to know what kind of experience you can expect from your own website. This information is critical to making a good decision. It’s never just WordPress. It’s about making WordPress work for you.