Why do I use WordPress for website design?
I began coding my own html websites in the early 2000s. I have watched the website design landscape change and shift over the last twenty years. As the trend shifted from purely coded websites to content management systems like WordPress, Drupal and Joomla I saw an opportunity as a new freelancer in 2008 to learn a new skill. It also allowed me to focus more on what I loved, which was design and not coding.
The problem with custom coded website designs.
Custom coded websites can be absolutely beautiful and brilliantly executed. As a matter of fact, larger platforms often require custom solutions. Most small websites don’t require that level of customization though. Purely coded websites also keep website design clients chained to their developer. I found that my clients were constantly having to get back in touch with me to make the smallest changes. Worse were the clients that came to me with horror stories about the website designer who built their site and disappeared, leaving them without anyone who could maintain their website. I found this frustrating as a designer who was constantly making changes to other developer’s code, which was sometimes sloppy or poorly organized.
WordPress to the rescue.
I tried a couple other CMS solutions before WordPress. Joomla and Drupal were branding themselves as website solutions while WordPress was still mostly known as a blogging platform. After learning to absolutely hate both of those platforms, I started researching WordPress. I quickly realized that it was not just a blogging tool.
I first started building websites with WordPress around 2010. It caught on way faster than I thought it would. Clients loved the way the websites looked and there were very few issues when clients decided to maintain their websites themselves. This meant that WordPress was a great solution to the problem I wanted to solve.
WordPress is user friendly.
Once I realized that clients were able to use this platform to make their own content changes and additions, I decided to market this and increase revenue for both myeslf and my clients.
It only made sense to give my clients the ability to maintain their own websites. I mean, most of them had tight budgets and needed a partner more than a traditional contractor. Many of them had been burned by freelancers and contractors before. Having a website designed (not always well) and then turning invisible the moment you get paid is just bad business. I wanted to give my website clients the feeling that I would always be there whether it was just to answer a quick question or perform some more in-depth task.
Developing the right WordPress package.
First, I had to have a reliable WordPress “package” that I felt confident would be a good fit for all of my clients. This included automatic backups, on-page SEO, and other basic functionality like contact form, email collection and page speed optimization. All of these plugins had to work together, be updated regularly, offer developer support and remain compatible with all future WordPress updates.
It was also important that the main theme offered me lots of design freedom without having to edit or code new page templates from scratch. After a lot of research I landed on the Avada theme which uses the Fusion Page Builder interface. It’s all built by one development group and is a premium, paid theme with over 200,000 sales. They offer extensive documentation, ongoing customer support and regular updates.
After I had my WordPress “package” well defined, I had to give clients the tools to keep it running smoothly. They also wanted the ability to make content changes and additions on their own. I developed a WordPress maintenance guide and include it with every website design project. The guide is customized to the client’s website and goes through backups, plugin and CMS updates and how to use the Avada page builder. I also include a one hour WordPress consultation where I walk my client through the guide and their admin backend, either in person or via a video call.
My clients love WordPress too.
Not only did WordPress allow me to skip most of the coding, it gives my design clients more independence when it comes to working together. They have choices that they simply didn’t have before.
I offer monthly maintenance plans for those with the budget to hand off website maintenance. If they simply don’t have the budget for it, the WordPress maintenance guide and walk-through give them the tools and confidence to be able to perform the basic maintenance themselves.
This might sound crazy, but another advantage is that using WordPress gives my design clients the freedom to walk away. They have their own log-in and are not tied to me at all after the website is complete. If they wish to switch website developers, they can. I don’t think of this as a liability though. I believe it gives me an advantage. When my design clients feel less tied down, it allows them to get more comfortable with me. Their trust in me grows the longer we work together. It’s been a wonderful way for me to not only land new website design clients, but retain them.
WordPress is free and open source.
This is probably the best feature of all. While I do invest in the premium theme and some premium plugins (when necessary), I don’t feel like I have to pass any additional expenses on to my website clients. They don’t feel like I’m nickel and diming them for every little thing and I get to keep my overhead low.
WordPress is open source. This means that as a website developer, I have access to all of the code and files that WordPress and its plugins utilize. This allows me to troubleshoot any issues that do pop up in the developer’s code as well as use custom code when I need to.
WordPress is a great professional website design solution.
This article by Forbes from 2017 estimated that there were 75,000,000 WordPress websites online. That was about 25% off all websites three years ago. Today WordPress powers over 35% of the world’s websites or about 455,000,000. This includes 14% of the world’s top 100 websites using WordPress to power their websites. We’re talking about websites like Forbes, Sony Music, Target and Walt Disney all using WordPress.
You can find loads of other interesting WordPress stats in this article by Digital.com.
Interested in building a website?
With a decade of experience using WordPress, I am a professional with the skills and know-how to get you a professionally developed website for your small business. I have a proven WordPress package that includes on-page SEO, automatic backup utility, SPAM filtering and other features right out of the box. You’ll also get a cutomized WordPress maintenance guide and in-person walk-through of the platform so that you can maintain your website yourself. I also offer monthly maintenance plans that allow you to focus on your business while I make sure your website is backed up and maintained.