WordPress has become the most widely used content management system in the world that powers over 30% of websites on the internet.
For many web developers and web design agencies, it has become a staple for building websites such as basic landing pages, corporate websites, online communities and online shops.
It’s the perfect CMS and best of all it’s FREE.
In fact, you can technically build a WordPress website without writing a single line of code by just following the steps below:
1. Install WordPress using the Quick Installation tool through your web hosting. In just minutes you can have WordPress running on your web hosting package in just minutes without having to create databases or edit any files.
2. Install a theme through your dashboard or by using FTP.
3. Install necessary plugins through your plugin library located in your WordPress dashboard. You can search for plugins that provide the functionality you need such as contact forms, social media plugins and even add ecommerce functionality. All with the click of a mouse.
4. Customize the website through your theme settings. Most premium themes such as DIVI are very versatile and include easy to use page builders which allow an end user to drag and drop elements on a web page.
Of course if it’s your first time working with WordPress and you aren’t very tech savvy then these steps may seem a little daunting at first. But if you’ve installed WordPress hundreds of times like I have, this process is effortless.
There is a common misconception among many business owners that the ease of building websites through using WordPress or using website builders that websites can be whipped together easily and shouldn’t be expensive.
So if WordPress is so easy to setup then how can a WordPress website cost over $10,000?
Let me preface with a story.
A woman once approached Picasso in a restaurant and asked him to do a quick doodle on a napkin and said she was willing to pay anything.
Picasso quickly scribbled on the napkin and said “That will be $10,0000”.
The woman replied – “But you did that in 30 seconds?!?”
Picasso answered “No, it has taken me 40 years to be able to do that in 30 seconds”.
In today’s modern times, a website can impact the success of a business. Society depends on Google when making purchasing decisions or who they decide to hire. With a strong online presence, a website can gain more customers or clients. With technology readily available at our fingertips with smartphones, we’ve become even more dependent for any queries when searching for who to do business with.
That being said, hiring the right web design company can provide value by developing a website that can increase your businesses visibility and drive sales. Hire the wrong company, and your online presence is likely non-existent to the world. In fact, 90% of websites get no organic traffic from Google.
If you’re looking to launch a website on a very small budget, it’s likely you’ll be joining the 90% club.
A website should be viewed as an investment, not as an expense.
If your online presence is setup correctly then it should grow your business by generating more sales or leads, increasing members, creating brand awareness or whatever your website goals may be.
2. Uniqueness & Quality of Design
Sure, you can easily install a WordPress theme but do you probably want to customize it to suit your branding needs and probably don’t want your website looking like a thousand other websites.
Premium WordPress themes available online are very versatile. They can be customized through their theme settings and include intuitive page builders which provide a drag-and-drop interface to easily manage layouts and add elements to a web page.
A professional web design can build brand credibility, considers user experience, uses quality imagery and other factors which influence user behaviour and conversions.
When a website is completed, the end result should be almost indistinguishable from the original installed theme and inline with the companies brand.
3. Custom Functionality & Coding
WordPress has thousands of plugins which can be installed through the plugin library by choosing Plugins->Add New in the dashboard.
Using the search field, you can find a plugin for almost anything to meet your needs. Easy enough.
Many web designers working with WordPress often make the mistake of doing what I call “plugin happy”. They install tons of plugins which often lead to performance issues, redundant functionality, code conflicts, a bloated website that can sometimes lead to crashes.
Understanding which plugins are ideal for a web project and adding custom code should be part of the development process.
Similar to working with themes, plugins may have limitations or not behave the way you’d like which also requires custom coding.
It is beneficial to have an understanding of the WordPress framework and best practices when adding code. Otherwise functionality may be compromised during updates.
4. Search Engine Optimization
What’s the point of having a website if nobody can find you?
The process of optimizing a website for search engines is often skipped by most web developers but is a crucial step in the success of a website.
For many web developers, once the website is launched, the job is complete.
This is just wrong.
SEO should be incorporated as part of the web development process such as keyword research, competitive analysis, configuring HTML elements (title tags, meta description, heading tags, internal links etc), setting up the website with Google Console and other factors that all contribute to increasing a websites search visibility and ranking.
If your website ranks well for target keywords and is generating conversions as a result, you should get a return from your website investment.
When I started building websites almost 20 years ago (before WordPress existed), I made countless mistakes that turned into lessons to be learned from.
Similar to the Picasso story mentioned previously, over time and with every web project, I’ve expanded my knowledge and improved my craft to become a more elite web developer.
The reality is, there is no web designer that has the answer to every problem but it’s important to constantly strive to improve your skills, evolve with technology and trends in order to provide clients with quality service and a competitive edge.
When hiring a more experienced web developer you can expect someone who has a proficient understanding in web development, follows best practices when working with WordPress and will provide a better end result that benefits their clients.
Sure, more experienced web developers will typically charge higher hourly rates of $75+/hour, however business are more likely to see a return on their investment and not have to possibly face a website redesign in the near future.
As the old adage goes ‘Time is Money’.
Time is an important factor when determining the cost of any project and often times the least considered.
If you’ve been a web designer long enough then you’ve probably experienced the time spent trying to find the perfect photo for a website, finding the right plugin or solution for a project, had clients who kept you on the phone for long periods and/or sent countless emails to read, in-person meetings and other mundane tasks which can consume time and should be accounted for.
It’s understandable for businesses to have a budget for their web project but should also understand that the time invested can determine the quality and value.
For business owners it important to understand that web design companies don’t operate like an ‘all you can eat’ restaurant.
Freelancers or web design companies should always manage client expectations and consider project parameters such as scope, time and cost.
It’s not uncommon for clients to decide to modify the scope of project when it’s underway. It’s important to be conscious of time and charge accordingly.
When I first started out as a freelancer, I wasn’t considering the time I was spending on projects and became a “yes man” to anything clients wanted. In fact, I probably earned $2/hour if you factored in the time I invested in projects vs the cost. Valuing my time was an important lesson and today is a key factor when determining the cost of any small task or project I’m working on.
Web development requires planning and this is the most important step in any web project.
The planning phase of a web project includes competitive analysis, outlining and gathering requirements, defining necessary functionality, wire framing/mock-ups, creating a demo and other tasks depending on the scope of the project.
If done correctly, this step can save time and headaches throughout the development process.
If you’re paying hundreds of dollars rather than thousands for a website then it’s more than likely there is no planning phase and the site is developed in a’quick and dirty’ fashion.
WordPress might be free, but the time, planning, knowledge, experience and value put into web development comes at a cost.
Each of the points mentioned in this article can be broken down even further and every project can introduce its own unique challenges.
WordPress is an ideal content management system for almost any type of website and powers some of the most popular brands in the world.