WordPress Custom Websites - The Design and Development Processes

By Donald Kim
5 Jan '17

webilize, blog image, wordpress custom websites the design and development processes

WordPress is a website platform that was first introduced as blogging software back in 2003. Today, WordPress is the most widely used web platform in the world. To give you an idea of WordPress' scale in March of 2016, WordPress was reported to be powering 26.4% of the web, and that number has only increased to the present day. With 59.4% market share, it is the most used CMS. Other platform types include Drupal, Magento, Shopify, and Joomla. Below is a list of benefits for using WordPress as a website platform:

 

  • Ease of use with an intuitive interface.
  • Can be managed from any location with a computer and internet connection.
  • No HTML editing or FTP software is required, as it is a self-contained system.
  • It does very well with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on google, as its coding makes it simple for search engine’s to index site content.
  • The design can be 100% customizable.
  • Blogging feature is built within its platform.
  • Functionalities can be extended with Plugins and Widgets.
  • Scalable system with ability to have multiple users with varying assigned access levels.
  • Can incorporate ecommerce functionalities using WooCommerce plugins.

 

To help you learn more about website design, we will explain the design and development processes for WordPress sites. Be sure to also read our other related Blog Posts for Websites: “Best Practices in Website Design & Development” and ”12 Top Reasons for Redesigning your Website.”

 

At Webilize (Portfolio and Testimonials) we have a dedicated UX/UI Design, Web Development, and Quality Assurance (QA) Team.

 

If you are in the process of creating or updating your website, this article can serve as a great resource for those wanting to adapt industry standards in design and custom development. Although the WordPress platform allows users to utilize themes, it is critical that your website design is unique from any other websites that are theme-based. The overall user experience/user interface (UX/UI) must be considered to ensure that your website visitors are engaged and likely to come back.

 

1. Discovery, Research, and Strategy

This step involves using a variety of analytical tools and techniques, such as market research, competitive analysis, SWOT analysis, and persona and target market analysis. These will help you better understand the marketplace conditions and build effective branding strategies. It is at this stage that information is collected, such as content, images, videos, and login information.

 

2. Choosing the Domain

Your website domain name should be chosen in a strategic manner – it can actually be chosen for maximum SEO. In addition, short domain names typically fair better than long ones. The domain name elements can be broken down into 4 parts: Top-level domain (.com, .co, .net, .ca), Root domain (example.com), Subdomain (sub.example.com, and Subfolder (domain.com/subfolder).

 

3. Choose a Hosting Package

Factors to consider when choosing the Hosting Package are: How long the hosting company has been in business for? Does the host support WordPress? How many domains can you host? Does it matter to you in which country your website is hosted in? What are the costs?

 

4. Upload WordPress

Download and unzip the latest version of WordPress, and upload it to your hosting account. Some hosting sites enable users to automatically upload and install WordPress and its database. It can also be manually done using FTP (file transfer protocol), which is a method for transferring files between a computer and a hosting server.

 

5. Create Database

A database is where WordPress data such as your content (posts, pages, and comments), configurations, and user data are stored. Every time that your website loads, WordPress will query the database for the required information to display onto your website. This step can be done in your host’s control panel.

                                 

6. UX/UI Design

Tools such as InVision or Sketch, enable designers to design and create mock-ups and wireframes. Using the best practices in UX/UI, and incorporating branding guidelines will enable your visitors to easily and seamlessly navigate and search content on your website. At the end of this stage, you will have a clear representation of what your website will look like. Taking into consideration the contrast, texture, and white spaces displayed on your website can have a positive impact on the overall user experience.

 

7. Development

This phase is extremely important as it’s when the design gets converted into a fully functional WordPress website. At this stage, the developer builds the front-end HTML/CSS/JS theme for the latest versions of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. The CMS pages are then setup complete with the contact form, content, and images for the pages. The site is then optimized for mobile phone and tablets, as well as for all browsers.

 

8. QA Testing

It’s important to go through rigorous rounds of bug testing before deploying your website. At this stage, ensure that your website is mobile responsive on all platforms to guarantee that your website works flawlessly.

 

9. Optimize for SEO and Set-up Analytics

It’s critical that you pay close attention to SEO, so that your copy can draw as much targeted and qualified traffic to your website as possible. WordPress SEO Yoast Plugin is perhaps the most popular plugin used for optimizing the SEO of your website. Other factors include 301-redirects, meta-tags, optimized images, and the generation of XML sitemaps so that search engines can map all of your pages. It’s also important to optimize page load time, Google Analytics, and integrate social media. Setting up Google Analytics will be valuable as it can enable you to track visitor data such as how long they landed and stayed on your page, how many views, and which pages were viewed. In order to connect your website to Google Analytics, first set-up an account, and then place the JavaScript code before the </body> tag in your theme’s footer file (footer.php).

If you haven’t already done so, be sure to read our other related blog, “SEO Best Practices Checklist in 2016”.

                                                                                                                                                                                

10. Go-Live and Training

Although the WordPress platform enables users to easily edit their website content, it may be helpful to be given some training that enables you to learn how to self-manage (such as security updates), or enable in-house adding, editing, and deleting of content.

 

11. Maintenance, Back-ups and Caching

It’s important to keep your WordPress versions and plugins up to date. Issues can arise if you don’t update these items, as your website can become vulnerable to hacks. You’ll also want to ensure that any spam comments are deleted on a timely basis.

Webilize has a number of maintenance and support plans, called WebilizeCareTM, that vary depending on the size and requirements of your business.

It is also important to back up your website, and more importantly the database, on a consistent basis. A few popular WordPress plugins for backing up your website are: VaultPress, BackupBuddy, and WP-DB-Backup.

Whenever your website page is loaded, WordPress processes the page on your server and then retrieves it from your database. If there are multiple people viewing the exact page, it’s possible to display a static version rather than processing the page every time. The W3 Total Cache plugin can help with this initiative. Activating this plugin can potentially double your blog’s speed and reduce server load. Keep in mind that the load time speed for your website is a ranking factor with google.

 

12. Test your Site

A great resource to use to test the strength of your website is “Hubspot’s Website Grader”. By using this, you can check for Performance, Mobile Responsiveness, SEO, and Security.

Performance: Optimizing your website’s performance is critical for increasing website traffic, generating more leads, and improving conversion rates that will in turn increase revenues for your business. This test is broken down into page size, page requests, page speed, browser caching, page redirects, compression and render blocking.

Mobile: Optimizing your website for mobile performance is important so that you don’t miss out on mobile generated traffic, leads, and revenues.

SEO: It’s important that your website is visible for users to discover you, and easy for search bots to pick up on your Page titles, Headings, and Meta descriptions. Be sure to also have a sitemap that enables users to navigate your site quickly and easily.

Security: SSL certificates help protect websites from attacks and gives your site visitors confidence that your website is authentic and trustworthy.

 

13. Digital Marketing Hub

When set-up properly, your website can serve as the central hub to help drive new qualified sales leads by integrating with best practices in SEO, Digital Marketing and Social Media Marketing. It’s important that your marketing team stays on top of proper integrations with payment processing, driving qualified traffic to your website, optimizing conversions of your visitors, setting up optin pages,  and landing pages. However all the while keeping blogging and social media marketing as a major marketing ititiative. 

 

Learn how you can optimize your website to increase traffic and generate sales. Email or call us. www.webilize.com

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