WordPress Web Design, Maintenance & Support

Fast Websites, Responsive Designs & Secure Database Management

Everything you need to know about how the WordPress web design process works. Topics include speed, project management, and mobile-friendly designs with “white-hat” SEO strategies.

Contents

Why WordPress?

There are thousands of creative ways to do WordPress web design—a versatile, data-driven information system that serves as the business’s digital storefront.  With so many different platforms, software, funnels, and data-flow possibilities, how are best processes chosen for each unique project?

It comes down to basic microeconomics. Specialization allows me to be a productive and economically valuable partner because I specialize in certain areas of the web design and data analytics industry.  WordPress web design is where I focus my study and practice.  Here are 8 reasons why:

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1

WordPress powers more than 41% of the web

According to W3Techs, WordPress is the most powerful, versatile, and functional content management systems in the market.
2

It’s open-source software.

Pros of open-source software include low cost, reliability, security, flexibility, and longevity. Cons include the cost for regular maintenance and support. It’s also difficult for non-tech-savvy users to learn.
3

The CMS is SEO friendly

It’s written with standard compliance code and produces semantic markup.  Search engines find these sites easier to crawl and index.
4

It’s easy to customize

Once trained, it’s also easy for new users to manage.
5

The platform is secure and safe

Security certificates on the domain are still necessary, as are following other standard security measures; however, WP infrastructure is designed and written to thwart attackers and hackers.

6

Various media type compatibility

Brochure sites, huge shopping carts, membership sites, podcasts, video blogs, eLearning sites — every industry can benefit from a WordPress website that’s accessible on all devices and browsers.
7

Constant development

There is continual widget and plugin development on this platform. It makes WordPress web design a faster, smarter, and easier process.
8

It integrates well with other organizational information systems

Like accounting, inventory, and customer relationship management software.

WordPress Web Design Services

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Web Speed Factors

According to Google, speed is a significant ranking factor for websites.  Google made it their mission to fix the problem of poorly-designed websites by “de-emphasizing” slow websites.

While there are many issues that could make a website slow down, there are 3 primary contributors to a website’s loading speed:

  1. The page builder and how the site is built with it
  2. The number and type of plugins used
  3. The quality of the website and domain hosts

Some WordPress themes are clunky and poorly designed. I use the Hello theme for its lean, customizable design and speed.

In WordPress web design, one should be cautious about using templates and plugins, as they can get bulky and create bloat in the database.  Templates should be used as a guide to help build a leaner, faster, better-performing version in WordPress. 

Page builders play a big role in the website’s speed.  Gutenberg, Elementor, and Oxygen are the visual builders that work best for speed performance.

Finally, hosting is an important factor in speed. A cheap host will be slow, especially if the website has a lot of videos, images, or high traffic. 

Important

WPBakery has speed and plugin compatibility issues. It is recommended these sites be redesigned with a better-performing builder.

Domain and Web Hosts

WordPress Website Hosting and Domain Hosting

How does hosting work for or against the website speed? 

In browsing, users are accessing files from a remote server and making a request for information from your website, which has that information on the remote server. 

The time it takes for your web page to load depends on the user’s computer speed, and the speed of your web hosting servers. Web hosts execute thousands of different pieces of code to display a single page, so their space and ability to do that matters. 

I prefer to use the following software for domain and website hosting:

  1. Hostway for domains
  2. Siteground for basic websites
  3. WPEngine for large websites or shopping carts

Monthly WordPress Bulletin

News and updates for business owners, executives, project managers, and marketing directors. Get information on new developments, theme updates, database performance.

Maintenance Helps Optimize Web Speed

WordPress is a content management system (CMS), so the database is tasked with storing various types of media like images, videos, graphics, folders, and text files.  That puts extra pressure on the server because it needs to search multiple databases and accommodate code-intensive programs. Managing and maintaining the WordPress database is time-consuming.  Tasks add up and cause expensive problems if ignored. A website is like a vehicle. It has an engine, transmission, radio, and all kinds of features that require maintenance and support.

WordPress Maintenance Tasks

Backups & data health checks

Good practice is to check monthly for any file corruptions that could make retrieving information difficult or messy.

WordPress core updates

WordPress is updated frequently to fix bugs. A webmaster makes this happen without interruption to the site.

Updating & managing plugins

Plugins are codes in motion. Managing them is critical to its compatibility and functionality.

Cache clearing

Every site needs to get rid of bloat from caching data. For optimum health, this task is performed monthly.

Optimize database

The website gets cluttered over time. Monthly and quarterly schedules keep websites healthy.

SEO content updates

Content is king. There are regular and constant needs for improvement and adaptation to the market.

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WordPress Web Design Project Planning & Implementation

1. DISCOVERY

Each project comes with its own deliverables, but everything starts with discovery, or requirements analysis.  Questions to answer include:

  • Who are your domain and web hosting companies?
  • What isn’t working?
  • What is working?
  • What’s the website’s purpose?
  • What ideas, if any, do you have about how your website should look and function?

 

Project and WordPress web design topics include questions like:

  • Who’s the project owner, or responsible party for providing input and approving the deliverables?
  • How many people are involved with the project?
  • What is your company’s mission and vision? Does it match what you want it to be?
  • Do you have a brand style guide?

 

There are many more topics to explore, especially those about industry, audience, and niche. Discovery can take as little as an hour to as many as several hours over the course of a few weeks.  

2. PLANNING

Planning is for defining deliverables and milestones, as well as establishing project management rules and expectations, estimated costs, and security considerations.

3. ANALYSIS

Once the plan is approved, the analysis stage includes a flowchart or other visual aids to demonstrate the project.  The type of visual aid will depend on the project. 

A WordPress web design project would require either a wireframe, visual mockup, or both.

4. DESIGN

The design phase is the branding, format, and layout process that was approved in the Analysis phase. 

This phase goes one step further with the visual process and defines the website architecture in a live staging environment. 

5. DEVELOPMENT

Development is the phase most people think about when they consider a WordPress web design project.

In this phase, there’s the labor of producing the system using the documentation from the Analysis and Design phases and make it into a working, functional system.

6. TESTING

Testing requires some planning and is done on a small-scale throughout development; however, this phase has a few more testing steps after the WordPress website design is complete.

Each project will have its own training process, but all require testing by a few users first.  The goal is to incentivize staff to test the website as visitors.

7. MAINTENANCE

As discussed in the maintenance section above, regular care of your WordPress website is vital to the health, function, and profitability of your website. This is a separate, standalone service.

Mobile-First Web Design

SEO blog writing Rank on GoogleTrends and data predict that nearly three-quarters of people worldwide will access the internet via their smartphone by 2025. Back in 2010, then-CEO of Google told the world they’d be shifting attention to mobile users. They’ve been true to their word, and rankings now rely heavily on the mobile friendliness of your website.

Building a responsive website with a mobile-first approach means starting with the smallest screen—mobile phones—and designing the pages for those users first.  Then, the design is adapted for bigger screens, adjusting elements and materials to meet the needs of those screen users.

This process includes all the same steps of making the site responsive: adjusting font sizes, navigation, white space, images, text, buttons, and all other elements to go from big screen to small.  Now, instead of going from desktop to mobile, new systems are starting their lifecycle in a mobile environment, and then each screen is adjusted accordingly.

It’s a brave new mobile world.  Organizations will need to meet users where they are to stay competitive.  WordPress web design is at the forefront of mobile development. 

Monthly WordPress Bulletin

News and updates for business owners, executives, project managers, and marketing directors. Get information about how the process of maintaining a healthy website works.

WordPress SEO Strategies

How do we rank higher in Google?  How could my organization compete with those spending thousands of dollars per month to be at the top of Google?  The answer is so simple that most people miss it.  Your Google ranking comes down to two major factors:

1.  Speed

A slow website is low-hanging fruit for competitors. It’s frustrating for consumers, and it tells them the company isn’t committed to making things easier.  A few things that destroy speed include heavy plugins, bulky page builders, slow hosts, big images, cluttered database, and self-hosted videos.

2.  Content

Relevant, useful, and consistent content using industry best practices for digital media performance helps Google crawl, index, and rank websites.  Good, valuable content makes it easier to earn backlinks, another essential SEO component. The more valuable the content, the better the rank and bigger the audience. A few other things that are extremely important to growing in rank and keeping a business website optimized for search engines include:
  • Keeping a strong link profile
  • Putting effort into content outreach and promotion
  • Using a variety of keywords
  • Creating proper schema markup and meta information
  • Providing branded images and videos — Google likes these more than stock.

Cost of Services

Billing is simple.  Hourly rates and planned blocks of time for major milestones.  Billing and quotes are based on the estimated number of hour-long time blocks needed to complete a milestone. Invoicing follows work performed, and ownership of assets is passed once the invoice is paid.  Standard hourly rate for services can be found on the pricing sheet.  Some packages are available on a project-by-project basis.

It all starts with the first step.

Get my pricing sheet, or schedule a discovery call.