So you’ve decided to have a WordPress website built. Congratulations! You’re among the 34% of all websites in the world, and for pretty good reason. WordPress is flexible, scalable, easy to use – all of the things you look for in a website. However, not all WordPress sites are the same. The more professional and complex the build, the less it resembles a WordPress site that a hobbyist built for their church.
Below are some things to look out for, as well as questions to ask your developer or agency.
1. Is there a different site building tool?
The classic WordPress page editor is adequate for simple text and media, but most developers are using more robust tools. Some builders like Beaver Builder are a bit more complex but give you a ton of editing and layout options. You also get pre-programmed widgets that don’t come standard with WordPress.
There are also tools like Advanced Custom Fields that are great for developers to use. Unfortunately, they can make content management more challenging when handed over to a client. Be sure to get a quick walkthrough as you’re kicking off the project to make sure you’re comfortable with what you’re given.
2. Is the WordPress website theme custom?
One of the benefits of developing in WordPress is its enormous developer community. There are plugins to solve any major challenge, and themes to suit any major purpose. That said, a large amount of those plugins and themes can be buggy, vulnerable to security breaches, and just poorly made. Working with an experienced developer can help you skirt around most issues.
Most developers choose to create their themes from the ground up. That way, they know exactly how it’s built when changes are requested. You also get the benefit of fewer restrictions on your initial wireframe and design.
3. What about website security?
WordPress websites are very popular. And when a particular software is popular, hackers look for ways to exploit it.
Make sure to address security in the early stages of the website project. There are a boatload of security tools, from WordPress plugins like Wordfence to full hosting packages like WP Engine. A simple rule of thumb is that you should be paying for security – free tools are worthless. It’s an investment you’ll be glad you made.
4. How do you know the design was a success?
Any agency should check a lot of the boxes of a legit WordPress website – areas like page speed, content organization, etc. Make sure you’re using more than Google Analytics to test your site for traffic flow and conversions. Heatmapping tools like VWO and CrazyEgg give you a visual overview of how people engage with your site, allowing you to constantly improve over time.
Finally, never consider a website project complete. You’ll need to steadily improve the site over time, but with a well-built WordPress website, you’ll be able to do so for years to come.