WordPress Web Designer vs Traditional Web Developer
If you are torn or simply not sure on whether you should select a WordPress web designer or a traditional web developer for your website design, this blog is meant to help you narrow your decision and educate you on the capabilities of WordPress. Factually, WordPress web design is the most cost effective and easily manageable solution for individuals and companies that do not require significant custom web development. On the other hand, if cost and ease of general site maintenance are not factors, a top web developer offers the ability to create high end custom software, cleaner code, and enhanced security.
While the focus of this blog post is primarily on WordPress design, my intent is not to try and persuade that WordPress is the better solution for your specific situation. As an example, I will use the Pop Results website as a case study to explain the advantages of WordPress design and why we chose it over custom web development. I will also identify several key plugins that I feel are important tools for optimizing the effectiveness of a WordPress website.
WordPress Theme Selection
Once a choice has been made to move forward with a WordPress website, the first step is to select a free or premium theme. Essentially, themes organize the design structure, skin, and layout of content. They also have coherent default settings for to fonts, colors, and backgrounds. Free themes are excellent options for those who want basic website design and functionality. On the other hand, premium themes offer a greater variety of design options, a higher level of customization and functionality, as well as available support and more frequent developmental updates by the theme designer.
In the case of Pop Results, we elected to go with a premium theme called Cruz which was designed by Saurabh Sharma. We chose this theme for its primary design elements, widgets, menus, internal theme options, and ability for broad customization. Having worked with this theme designer in the past, we understood that the designer has historically been helpful and very responsive to questions about customization and troubleshooting. These facts are critical in the premium theme selection process. Since our latest redesign, responsive design that accommodates various mobile devices has really taken hold in the market. Currently, we are in the planning stages to select another premium theme that includes responsive design. The point being, WordPress allows for an easy transition from theme to theme and the end result is a highly flexible design core that allows you to easily keep up with the trends.
One of the greatest advantages of WordPress design is the ease of use and implementation of the Content Management System (CMS). You do not have to be a skilled web developer to design a basic WordPress website. WordPress includes easy to navigate WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) design menus and the Pages and Posts sections includes a familiar text editor. The inclusion of digital media and imagery occurs via the file selection process that is used in many other day-to-day operations. Ultimately, even for the complete novice, with basic training, managing content with the WordPress CMS removes the need for most ongoing site management by a web developer.
One of the best features of WordPress is the ability to easily create both static pages as well as dynamic blog pages. In the case of Pop Results website, the static pages are comprised of two sets of static navigation pages:
- Primary navigation – Pop Results, Blog, Press, About Us, and Contact
- Secondary navigation – Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing, On Page SEO, Off Page, SEO, Local Search, Paid Search, Social Media Marketing, Mobile Marketing, Video Marketing, Lead Generation, Reputation Management, and Digital PR.
However, once you click on the Blog navigation link, you are taken to our Inbound Marketing Blog which is a dynamic blog page. Please note that this page displays a snippet from the latest blog post at the top of the page. Below the latest blog post snippet is a snippet of the prior post and so on. While this section of the page is dynamic, located on the right hand side of the page, there are static category links that help to organize all of the historical blog posts. The key is that again, WordPress is extremely flexible and very easy to utilize.
Plugins are add-on tools that expand and enhance the functionality of WordPress. There are tens of thousands of WordPress plugins and the list is constantly growing. Below, I have included several of the plugins that we use on Pop Results and a brief description of their function:
- Yoast WordPress SEO – There are certainly other options for SEO plugins but, in my opinion, none are comparable with this SEO plugin. The options and educational resources are seemingly endless.
Social Sharing Widgets
- Digg Digg – Floating social share bar
- Shareaholic – Attractive social share buttons that can be placed at the top or bottom of pages
- AddThis Social Bookmarketing – Another social share buttons bar that includes a plethora of social sharing options
Google Analytics for WordPress – If you spent the time and resources to build a WordPress site, make sure you have a means to capture and analyze the data points on your site. This plugin does just that.
Contact Form 7 – This plugin assists with the creation and management of forms which can be utilized for lead generation.
Feedburner Email Widget – If you are rolling out consistent blog posts, this plugin is a great way to build an email list and give your audience the opportunity to subscribe to receive your posts via email.
WordPress Website Design Is Cost Effective and Scalable
Compared to hiring a traditional web developer, hiring a WordPress web designer is significantly more cost effective and over the long term far more easy to manage internally. Wordpress offers a core that is highly scalable and there are a considerable number of add-on plugins that offer significant additional powers. Unless you are operating a company that involves a full scale ecommerce operation, requires substantial custom software integrations, or high level security, the low cost, highly flexible, and increasingly powerful WordPress design community is an excellent option for your web design needs.