Better WordPress Websites

next level wordpress: making your wordpress website better

As the world’s leading content management system WordPress powers an incredible number of websites. It’s estimated that about 33% of all the world’s websites are currently WordPress websites.

As open source software at its core level, and with the huge number of optional themes and plugins designed specifically for WordPress it’s easy to see why it is as popular as it is.

Its apparent ease of access and limited restrictions on getting started are appealing – but what is often missed is that to really make WordPress (or any web platform) work to its full potential, there are a lot of factors that deserve consideration, and ongoing attention.

At its simplest form, WordPress is like Lego – presuming you have access to the right pieces (and that they all fit nicely together) you can build almost anything you like. At a more complex level however, there is a lot more going on with a website than is seen from the surface, and the needs of running a successful website should be considered as having a site that both looks good – and works well.

While there are millions of websites in the world that use WordPress at a very basic level, most website owners or managers are usually looking to ask the same question “how do we make our website better?” Our next level WordPress service is designed to help with that question – showing website owners how they can improve their websites and get more value out of their investment over the long term.

mockups on apple devices of a wordpress website

Making your wordpress website better for users

One of the most common mistakes with new WordPress websites is that they aren’t always built with the end user in mind. Websites can look great – but ultimately the visual aesthetic of your site is subjective. What looks good is different to different users, but what works well is likely to be more universal.

The User Experience (UX) of your website isn’t just a bonus to users – it’s also a clear indicator to third party services such as Google on what sites work well, retain visitors and get visited often. If Google likes your website, then your message is likely to get a much wider audience, much quicker.

 

Making your wordpress website more responsive to devices

Historically, websites were much like a physical book, stored in a digital location, but served to users in an identical manner and identical shape.

As the internet has evolved, so too have the users who access it, and the devices they use to do so. Now, websites will serve the information they hold to users on a variety of different devices, and sometimes with varying content. This is dependent on where the user is visiting from, if the user has visited the website before, and which device they are using to access the website.

Most commonly, this is referred to as mobile first design, shaping websites to respond well and load fast on mobile devices. This ensures  a more enjoyable user experience, and an increased chance in converting your site visitors into users with intent.

 

Helping you to identify the right WordPress plugins

The WordPress depository currently has over 50,000 plugins: pieces of software that can extend the functionality of your website, or provide a set purpose not normally built into WordPress Core or your WordPress theme.

Plugins can be provided at cost, or often as free pieces of open source software. With a wide range of options available to serve most purposes, the WordPress plugin repository can be a huge asset to anybody developing a WordPress website. It can however also come with downsides – plugins can be an easy source of malicious software and the more plugins that a site is using, the slower it can perform.

Websites can benefit greatly from using the right plugins to extend their functionality or improve user experience, but any WordPress development would benefit from a clear understanding of what plugins are being used, and why.

 

Helping to identify or build a great WordPress theme

A WordPress theme is a collection of templates and styles used to shape the appearance and display of a WordPress website. Themes also come with a range of different functionalities and layout options built into the theme.

Like plugins, WordPress themes can be free, or premium themes that are purchased at cost. As well as the visual aesthetic that themes provide the code used to build the theme can determine the functionality of the site and how it performs in relation to speed and user experience.

 

Making your website more secure

As the world’s leading Content Management System WordPress is incredibly popular for all kinds of users, building all kinds of websites. Unfortunately, as with most things in the modern digital world, that also makes it a target for users with malicious intent.

That shouldn’t concern you too much however – the range of users that utilise WordPress is enough peace of mind for most users.  A sensible and intentional development and backup plan should be enough to ensure the safety of all WordPress websites, and full peace of mind for all website owners.

 

Making your website faster

Speed may not be the first issue that people think of when developing websites, but it is one of the most critical elements for third party services that interact with your website (Google, etc) and for determining a positive user experience.

There are a range of influencing factors in how fast your website serves, such as the code used to build the site and associated themes and plugins. Optimisation of your website files and choosing the right kind of host for your website will also play a critical part in your website operating well.

 

Optimising your website for Search Engines

In an environment where more information is available than ever before,  having a website that can be found is a critical part of owning and operating a website.

There is no magic fix when it comes to optimising your website for search engines, but with the right approach, and a consistent application, search engine optimisation is not as difficult as some people may fear.

Ultimately, the search engines want to deliver the best results to users that they possibly can – that is effectively their product, and a user who has a positive search result will most likely return to that search engine on a regular basis.

For that reason, search engines don’t make their algorithms public, ensuring that the system can’t be cheated, and that only well built and well serviced websites are likely to appear close to the top of the search results providing the accurate kind of information that users are looking for.

With the development of systems such as Google Alexa and Apple Siri, voice search is becoming as critically important to search results as more traditional search queries. Users are now able to search not only for a website, but segments of site content, such as images, videos or products – ensuring that all elements of a website should be optimised for SEO so as to increase site traffic and conversions.

 

Helping you to develop new content for your website

When it comes to websites, content is king, or so the saying goes. In truth, great content should be the cornerstone of any marketing effort, and any great content should work in parallel across all of your marketing efforts – whether in print, or online.

Having a website that functions well technically is great but if the content doesn’t match, then you’re in trouble. Great images are designed to complement great text, and vice versa.

Content creation and curation are hard work, and time consuming; but they are some of the key critical elements that can help turn your website visitors into website participants.

Likewise, being able to refresh existing content plays a key part in ensuring that your message stays up to date and gives your website visitors an enjoyable experience when visiting your site. Refreshed and updated content is also a sign to search engines that your website is being actively managed, and is therefore worth sending visitors to.

 

Making your website better

Ultimately, the production and maintenance of a great website takes time and resources, but these resources are best seen not purely as a cost, but as an investment in your long term goals: be that securing more customers, or a deeper understanding and engagement with your message.

While website maintenance and development is something that will take time and resources, it’s also a key part in helping to grow your audience and develop website visitors that have intent.

If you’d like to find out more about taking your WordPress website to the next level, please get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.

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