WordPress has become the premier content management system (CMS) of the Web. There are other CMSs, but none of them compare to the popularity and ease of use that WordPress has to offer. However, that popularity and ease of use can be deceptive.
For the seasoned website designer, WordPress is a godsend. Its internal code makes a lot of tasks easier to implement and saves the designer a lot of time. A good designer can take an off-the-shelf WordPress theme or premium theme and build a spectacular site that is eye catching and successful in attracting new clients, generating leads, and selling products and services for any type of business.
It’s not that new or beginner designers can’t do that, but there is a learning curve. Non-designers who want to do their own websites will have their own challenges.
Why WordPress Design Is Not As Easy As It Seems
Veteran WordPress designers have sold the average Joe on the idea that WordPress website design is as simple as skipping rope. It really isn’t. (Besides, I couldn’t skip rope to save my life.)
Sure, you can build a website on WordPress and it might actually look nice. But simply being pretty isn’t the sole mission of a website. Your website’s ultimate goal is to make you money. If you have a website online and it hasn’t made you money after the first year, you have to ask yourself the hard questions, including “Why?” It could be the way you are promoting it, or it could be the design itself. Either way, you owe it to yourself to find out why your WordPress website isn’t pulling its weight.
First, you have to find, or build, a theme. Then you have to make that theme unique by tweaking its CSS, HTML and PHP code. You have to find the right plugins that are compatible with your theme, and that’s just a start. Many newbies get into trouble right there.
What Do You Want Your WordPress Site To Do?
Every website has (or should have) a purpose.
It can be to generate leads for your business, sell a product or service, or simply to promote an event. Your site’s purpose might be to promote and sell other people’s products through affiliate programs.
Whatever it is you want your website to do, besides being attractive, your website needs to focus on performing that glorious task. Every element of your website needs to focus on the main goal.
Some of the elements of WordPress design that become a major challenge to newbie designers and do-it-yourselfers include:
- Header design. Is yours eye-catching? Does it give your site visitor a good idea of what you do, and does it brand your business well?
- Navigation. Creating simple paths of navigation is something of an art form. Website navigation can make or break a website and could mean the difference between success and failure.
- Inviting. Does your website invite the visitor in? Does it make your visitor a part of the conversation? Colors, page layouts, typography – all of these elements go a long way to keeping your visitor on the site and interacting with it.
- Clear calls to action. Does each page on your WordPress site make it abundantly clear what you want your visitor to do? This is important, and I don’t just mean in the way you word your content. Do the Buy Now buttons or Subscribe buttons make it easy for the visitor to make the right choice? Are they clearly visible and functional? If not, you could drive your visitors away.
- Functional. Your website must be functional in every way. If your visitors cannot download your freebies or the interactive widgets don’t work, they will leave.
- Responsiveness. Building a website that looks good across multiple platforms can be an absolute nightmare and is not for the weak hearted. It doesn’t help that many themes that claim to be “responsive” can actually look a real mess on many devices.
WordPress design is becoming more difficult with each iteration of the World Wide Web.
As more people migrate online and search for information, there is more competition vying for their eyeballs. No longer can you just throw up a website in a couple of hours and expect to see loads of traffic.
Every element on your website must work together to create a user experience that keeps your visitors on your website and keeps them coming back again and again. Otherwise, your WordPress site will be lost in the virtual rubble and the result will be disastrous for your new business.
So, when it comes to designing your WordPress website, keep the above in mind and decide what is best. Or get some help from a WordPress pro.
Image courtesy of Mispahn
Don’t forget site performance. DIY and template websites are often very SLOW, due to bloated code and feature creep. Each second delay of page load means lost site visitors, which means fewer prospects and conversions, and thus less $$. A professional developer can help optimize a site to load fast.
Thanks for the comment Scott!