December 18, 2016
by Lori Shecter
10 things you should know about WordPress Website Development
WordPress, WordPress, WordPress…why do YOU get all the attention? (If you never watched The Brady Bunch, please ignore that last sentence.) It doesn’t matter if you are a Fortune 500 (The NY POST, love ’em or hate ’em, is designed in WordPress) or a small business owner, WordPress is the most used technology for content managed websites. According to CODE IN WP, 50% to 60% of the world’s websites are WordPress.
If you found this article, you are probably trying to evaluate which Content Management System to use. We Are Immediate develops in 6 different content management systems including WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Umbraco, Craft and Magento for E-commerce. We also develop custom coded projects when a content management system won’t do the trick. So here’s how we make our decision on what type of code to use.
1: Functionality: which code will be most beneficial for the project
This is the most important factor in our decision-making process. Yes, it is true that WordPress has plug-ins but those plug-ins can be the very source of future issues.
2: Time and Budget constraints
Some codes are easier to work in than others, thus making a website delivered more quickly or on a lower budget.
3: Client’s User Experience
Our client’s input is important to us. If our client is happy with their current user experience and their current code will accept any new functionality, we often will stay with the same codebase.
OK, now to the meat of this article…the 10 things you should know
- Cost of WordPress: There is a rumor goin’ round town that WordPress is cheap. By cheap, I mean under $1500. Here are the facts: WordPress can be free. Yes, you read right. You can have a Free WordPress template by going HERE, creating a WordPress account, and paying WordPress for hosting. That might work perfectly for you if you have a blog or are just starting out. But you don’t have any support and frankly, even I can’t figure out some of these admin panels– and if I can’t do it, you gotta believe it’s hard. I would recommend other services (yes, I do) if you have little or no budget. WIX or Squarespace are my top two because the support is pretty good. But know that there are limitations of these services which include design and function.
- Cost of WordPress II: It’s that important. You can also purchase pretty nice WordPress themes in places like Theme Forest and have them installed by a developer for anywhere from $500 to $3500. Please use a US based team and get a contract with a complete understanding as to what that website is going to do for you, training hours, warranty, etc.
- WordPress Design: Do you think having a WordPress website means that you will look like everyone else? That is true if you buy a WordPress theme. But if uniqueness is important to you, please don’t go that route. Having a customized design is what will make your message stand out from the crowd, whether you are a non-profit, Fortune 500, or somewhere in between, your website should be unique. Not a template. For some kick apps examples take a look at a few of our WordPress designs: CLICK HERE
- What WordPress Can Do: WordPress web development is very flexible and with 1000’s of WordPress plugins, you almost can do everything from membership to e-commerce, to registration, data visualization, the list goes on and on. But when you have customized needs, it is going to take longer to bend someone else’s code (which is exactly what WordPress plug-ins are) that to create new code designed specifically for your needs.
- What WordPress can’t do: WordPress can do a lot (see what WordPress can do) but in order to tell you what it can’t do, we need to understand the details of your project. For example, we recently completed a customized registration system — similar to EventBrite. Could we have developed it in WordPress? Yes. We could have. But we would have been pulling out our hair because of the 100’s of customized needs that our client has would not be handled well by WordPress.
- WordPress Admin Panels: WordPress page types come in two forms: Pages and Posts. And I am not going to get into the details here BUT you really need to have a GREAT WordPress developer to help you with easy to manage navigation elements and page templates types that do not get jumbled when you add images and pictures. WordPress is not exactly a What You See is What You Get (wysiwyg) panel. (By the way, that is what we LOVE about Craft CMS, but it is more of an enterprise platform–i.e. $45K+ in cost)
- WordPress Plugins: The good, the bad, the ugly. What exactly is a PLUGIN? It is someone else’s code, that you purchase or download. That’s right. Someone else’s. That means perhaps 1000’s of other people have that code on their website. That also means that the bad guys – (yes they can be Russian or Nigerian or even from the Bronx) but never-the-less they are as*holes and screw up your code and wreck havoc on your website. Which means that you or your web developer have to be on constant watch for updates. And updates can take minutes or hours, depending on whether or not your styles are affected by the code changes. So, that’s the bad and the ugly. The good: a fairly quick and affordable way to get your website to function however you want. Within reason.
- WordPress Page Templates: You don’t have to suffer with really badly designed and developed page templates. Your web development team can and should make your templates easy to use and easy to content manage. Even though I am the CEO of We Are Immediate, I am rabid about making sure that our clients can easily use and update their WordPress websites. Our team has collectively worked long and hard to continue to improve the page structures and administrations of all of our clients’ page types.
- Timing: How long does it take to get a WordPress website? This really depends on your functionality needs are and whether or not you have a customized website. I can tell you that for our team to install a WordPress template it’s less than a day. It’s the design and customization of that template that takes much longer as well as adding content. That being said, in the years that we’ve been in business, we’ve only used a template once and vowed never again. And so we haven’t. Our customized WordPress timing usually takes between 3-5 months, again, depending on design and functionality needs.
- And finally: Do we recommend WordPress? Yes, we do. We love WordPress. For the right projects and the right functionality, WordPress is a winner. But not without its weaknesses.
Please read more about our WORDPRESS development process