Small business owners all have one thing in common: They’re all on a budget, trying to do the best they can to build their businesses with a limited amount of financial resources.
One of the ways business owners attempt to save money is to take on the job of editing and updating their websites themselves, after having the initial site built for them by a development team. It’s a smart strategy, but it’s not always a successful one.
Adding and managing the content on your website can be a challenging task – particularly if your web developer makes it harder than it needs to be.
Is WordPress Easy to Work With?
WordPress Doesn’t Equal Easy
If you only know one thing about website development, it’s likely to be WordPress. WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) in use on the Web today, controlling nearly 60% of the marketplace. That’s 4 times more than the market share enjoyed by their nearest competitor, Joomla.
There’s a reason for WordPress’ popularity. When WordPress is used properly, it can result in wonderful websites. The key words here are “used properly.”
WordPress is, in many ways, similar to a kit-car or a modular home. All of the pieces are there, but some assembly is definitely required. Building even a basic website using WordPress requires a certain level of expertise. To accomplish the job in a time effective manner, you have to know the nuances and tricks to putting the site together.
It’s important to understand that a basic assembly approach generally isn’t enough to make the small business owner happy with their website. To make it easy for the everyday user to update and edit it – customization is required.
What Is WordPress?
WordPress is a content management system (CMS). It is based on open source language of PHP and database foundation of MySQL. This platform is most well-known for blogging but you can do a lot more with it. WordPress provides much more functionality with plugins.
Plugins are extensions or enhancements to the basic WordPress platform. Plugins can be free or paid tools that can be integrated into your WordPress platform. Plugins can do things like protect your website from spam, add a contact form to your website or import the comments and posts from your social media sites. Plugins can also be custom written for your website by a WordPress developer.
The theme is the design of your website. It dictates what your website looks and feels like. Designers and web developers can customize the theme to control the front-end or user experience.
WordPress Out of the Box
When you install a clean version of WordPress it comes with a basic front-end white theme. That looks like this:
[New blank site]
A WordPress front end designer will know how to create a custom look and feel for your website that meets the needs of your organization. This is known as a custom theme.
Something you should note is that creating a custom theme still means that the website should follow best practices of clean code, enhanced load time for the website and cross-browser compatibility.
Every content management system has an administration area. This is where you go to update and manage the content on your website. Out of the box, the WordPress back-end or administration area looks like this:
The choices that your web developer makes here have a direct and profound impact on how easy it will be for you and your team to edit and update your website.
For example, a company may often want to update and edit content about their different types of projects. A savvy web developer will configure the back end with an easy-to-navigate system that makes it easy to add new projects, change project descriptions, change project classifications and more.
This functionality doesn’t come standard with the default WordPress back-end. Your web developer needs to build that for you.
If you are going to be handling updating and managing the content on your website yourself, you want the process to be as simple as possible. Making sure your WordPress website is easy to work with is your web developer’s job. Be sure to communicate clearly what you plan to do with your website, and ask them how they’re going to make it easy for you to accomplish your business goals.
The Right Developer Makes the Difference
Out of the box WordPress, like any open source content management system, does not always make managing and editing a site simple and easy. It’s up to your design and development team to customize the WordPress back-end to give you and your team what they need to manage the site with little knowledge about coding.
Making websites easy to use, edit and update is what separates one WordPress team from another. When you’re deciding who you want to have work on your website, don’t just look at the front of a website. You want to see samples – or even tour – the back-end of sites they’ve built for their clients. You want to know what kind of experience you can expect from your own website.
This information is critical to making a good decision. It’s never just about WordPress, it’s about making WordPress work for you.
Frustrated Photo via ShutterstockMore in: Content Marketing, WordPress