We are often approached by clients who have a website, but are keen to have it converted into WordPress website. There are a few key reasons that we see time and time again. In no particular order, these include:
- Their strong desire to be able to edit the website contents without having to know any coding languages.
- They have experience with WordPress and prefer the way the sites are built, edited and operated.
- They have been told by a trusted colleague, friend or peer that WordPress is the way to go.
- They have experimented with WordPress.com or something like Wix or Shopify and are now ready for a more tailored solution.
These are all very valid reasons and completely make sense, so if this relates to you, rest assured you are in good company.
So what is the process?
Regardless of which developer you use or if you tackle the website build yourself, here are some best practice steps we live by:
- Plan it. Before you start, get together with your relevant people and plan out your website. It could be as simple as a few notes on paper, right through to complex conditional flow charts. The main idea is to have an idea. Go into the build with a solid plan, that will inevitably need to flex slightly, but for the most part will keep you on track.
- Describe it. What does the website need to do? Does it need to capture visitors details, does it need a shopping cart, galleries, video embeds or social media feeds. Figure out exactly how you want the site to perform and then work backwards from this point.
- Resource it. Now you know what functionality your site needs, you can look at which plugins will help you to achieve these goals. Try to keep this list as lean as possible and use reputable solutions. Where an ‘off the shelf’ solution doesn’t exist, speak to your developer as they will be able to code something custom for you.
- Design it. Think about your target market(s). What would they like to see? How will they feel when they visit your site? What will they be looking for? What should take visual priority on the page?
- Create it. Using a theme as a starting point, this process can the most fun and most exhausting phase. This is where the functionality meets the design to create a useful, good looking website. Generally this is best left to experienced developers, but of course you can give it a go.
- Test it. Both yourself, your peers and market will all view the sites through different eyes. Take on all relevant feedback and try to adjust and refine accordingly.
- Launch it. Release your site into the wild and kick your marketing engine into gear. You can have the world’s best website but if no one sees it, it’s power is useless. Communicate to your social media connections, email databases, supplier lists, basically anyone who would have an interest to come and visit your site. Activity breeds activity in this scenario so make sure your SEO is up to speck as well.
- Monitor it. A WordPress website is not a set and forgot system. It needs regular updates to its core code base and plugins. Ensure your automated daily backups are setup, look into some uptime monitoring and also an analytics setup, such as Google Analytics.
- Refine it. Over time it’s great to look at the feedback and performance of your site and to make continual improvements and to add fresh content. This will ensure your website remains current in its market and Google will continue to send traffic your way.
Of course the above is very high-level, so look out for future articles that will explore these areas in more details. In the meantime our team will be happy to answer any and all of your questions! Oh and congratulations for making the move to WordPress, you won’t look back, we promise!