WordPress website design: The definitive guide 2020
WordPress is one of the most used content management system in the system in the world. Currently, it powers more than 36% of the entire websites in the whole world use WordPress.
As a company that builds mostly on WordPress, we have written this article to help you understand its power, features, why you should use it and what you need to design the best website for your business.
In this ultimate to WordPress webdesign, we will answer questions.
- What is WordPress
- Type of website you can build with WordPress
- What famous websites use WordPress?
- WordPress web design services
- WordPress pros and cons
- The best WordPress website design company
- Where to find a custom WordPress designer
- WordPress website designer near me
- Why hire us?
- WordPress security
- WordPress SEO
- WordPress speed optimization
- WordPress website design pricing
- How long does it take to build a WordPress website?
- WordPress vs Wix
- WordPress hosting
- Best WordPress plugins
- WordPress integration
What is WordPress
WordPress is an open source content management system powering millions of website around the word. Think of WordPress as an operating system like Android & iOS but powering just websites and various online stores.
According to usage statistics for content management system now reports WordPress is powering 36% of all website on the internet which equals 60 million.
But why use WordPress for your website you may ask? Here are a few reasons to:
Open source software
WordPress is available for everyone to use and contribute to depending on their site requirements. It’s a free content management system that you simply download, install on your website or local machine and start using immediately.
Powering millions of website, WordPress have contributors, users and developers both using the software and suggesting feature updates. It’s hard to find a problem in WordPress without a solution.
Extendable theme and plugin
Because its open source, the core of WordPress can to extended to include out of the box features that’s ordinarily not possible. Thousands of plugins and themes can be downloaded from wordpress.org directory for free with some website offering premium plugin at different cost. There are over 54,000 plugins available today.
We cannot give WordPress 100% when it comes to security but, It’s one of the most secured CMS you will find on the internet. Its active community enables data and security inefficiencies to be spotted and fixed very early.
There are lots of free and paid plugins that will guarantee the security of your website to a very large extent. Sucuri is one of our favourite.
We have written a very detailed WordPress security checklist for you here.
Easy customization and set up
You can set up a WordPress blog in less than five (5). It’s as easy as browsing through a website or using a browser. Most shared and managed WordPress hosting platform will allow you install it in one click.
WordPress allows you to build things very quickly without the knowledge of a geek. Though being able to code is an added advantage, it isn’t a must with WordPress web design.
For very simple websites, use the built-in Guatanbug editor that’s flexible and easy to master.
With WordPress, you can almost build any type of website you can dream off. customizable paid and unpaid theme plus plugins will allow you to create forums, social network, directory, business websites, landing page, blogs etc.
Type of website you can build with WordPress
According to WordPress dot com, WordPress powers 34% of the web. Millions of websites around the globe for both small and big corporations. A major reason has been its cost, flexibility, customization, easy deployment and open-source driven.
- BBC America
- MTV News
- Sony Music entertainment
- Katy Perry
- The official Starwars blog
- Tech crunch
- Angry Birds
- The Walt Disney company
- Usain Bolt
- Microsoft News Centre
- Ted blog
- Playstation blog
- Facebook newsrooms
- The new yorker
- The Mozilla blog
- The rolling stones
- The Obama foundation
- The Harvard Gazette
Our WordPress web design services
At Swicdigital, we use WordPress as our choice content management system for most of our website design projects.
First, we use WordPress instead of writing tons of code because it makes our design affordable. Hands on coding requires more team members than a wordpress website. Most robust and standard web design projects will require a back-end engineer, front-end engineer and UI designer.
WordPress helps us achieve the same goal with fewer persons.
Secondly, we use WordPress because it’s easy to scale and our clients manage it perfectly. At Swicdigital, we build both customized themes and plugins for our users that run on WordPress.
Also, our users find it very easy managing their WordPress CMS without supervision after a brief work through.
Here’s a couple of WordPress web design service we render:
- Landing page design
- Lead generation pages
- Website design for both small and large organization.
- Ecommerce/online store designs
- Portfolio website.
- Real estate websites
- Progressive web-application
- Custom websites with out of the box requirement.
- Learning management website
- Membership sites
- Review websites
- Multi-vendor marketplace.
Our Digital agency offers these services to entrepreneurs, startups and large companies. We work with both local and international businesses using the growth driven methodology.
A concept that puts customer conversion and analytics ahead of site beautification.
We will be glad to discuss your website with you over a call. Click to book a call now.
WordPress pros and cons
Every technology has its pros and cons. WordPress is not an exception. Though very popular, it’s not perfect, hence the reason for constant upgrades and optimizations.
Here are some pros and cons of using WordPress:
- WordPress is free, you can get started with a simple one click install on cPanel or other platform you may prefer. All you need to begin using WordPress is a host and a domain name.
- Its search engine optimization ready. WordPress code output is well optimized and ready for search engines. A few tweaks here and there, you will have no problem with both technical and on page SEO.
- Super easy to customize pages. WordPress comes with a built in page builder that comes in handy when building sites like blogs. It has Low learning curve since it drag and drop.
- Huge plugin and theme repository. WordPress has up to 54,000 themes and plugin for you to choose from. With these added extensions, there’s almost nothing you cannot design with the platform.
- Best integration. It comes integration ready with popular services for email marketing, customer relationship management, analytics, user monitoring and much more.
- You are in charge of everything that happens on your website. WordPress allows you to see and monitor everything that’s happening on your website without contacting a third party.You care in charge of your files, folders and everything in between.
- WordPress provides an easy transition from one platform to another. Should you every get tired of using WordPress or want to move from one hosting provider to another, WordPress makes it very easy.
- Easy integration with social media. Social proof is one of the bed rock of attracting customers to buy your product or use your service. WordPress makes it very easy for you to share your post, product and more using on social media at the click of a button.
- Been in charge of your website comes at a price. You manage design, development and maintenance all by yourself, which is very stressful for most individuals and businesses. That’s why it’s important to have an agency manage your website development and maintenance.
- Though you may not need to be a coder to get started, some basics of HTML and CSS is very necessary when using WordPress.
- It takes time to master. Getting started is quite easy but creating top notch websites requires you to master how to use some paid plugins and themes.
- Optimizing your website yourself can be a lot to handle all alone. Fixing your SEO yourself has a lot of learning curve and takes time to master.
The best WordPress website design company
Finding the best website design company is similar to watching an investigative movie. It just goes on and on and on with the end in mind.
That’s how finding a website design company should be. You start with the end in mind and begin searching for a company that can meet your standards.
In order to find the best web design company, ask yourself all of the questions below:
What do I want my website to be like?
Like it or not, your website will either look terrible or very premium. It’s your choice to decide.
Think through it. Creating a sketch with your pen is a very good way to get started. Another alternative is studying your main competitors’ website.
Check out where they are getting it wrong and right, so you can fine-tune your own website around what’s working.
Who will the website be made for?
Think of this question and the first thing that will come to you mind will be customer persona. A persona is a fictional representative of your ideal customer.
Think about who will be buying your product. For instance, a website for kids will be very playful, colorful and interactive. Meanwhile, a website for busy professionals will be straight to the point.
What is the goal of the website?
So many business people just go ahead and launch a website without first thinking about a SMART goal.
A smart goal is simple, measurable, Achievable, Reliable and timely.
Do you want to generate revenue, increase service visibility, educate your target audience etc. Either way, have a goal before embarking on the journey of building a website for your company else you might not like the result you will get.
What’s my website design budget?
Though not every time, your financial power goes a long in determining the quality of the website you will have.
Having a budget for your website in mind will reduce the amount of time you will spend going back and forth with the creative agency.
Where to find a custom WordPress designer
A simple google search will get you started quickly. What’s important is having a crystal-clear idea of what you need.
As you search go through each design agency’s portfolio, services and brand story to ensure you both are good fit for each other.
Another good way of finding a web designer is to checkout review agencies like clutch. You will find a lot of well curated design agencies that fits your standards and budget.
Web site designer near me
Another very useful search term that will help you a lot is
“web site designer new me ”.
With this query, you will be able to find almost every website design company that isn’t far from your current location.
Google does a very good job of ranking each agency based on user reviews and local authority. Though not always a good way to select your choice design agency, it’s a good place to get started finding one.
10 reasons why we’re the best WordPress web design agency for your project.
1. Free consultation
We know you have lots of questions as regards how to go about developing a website for your company.
Even coming up with a user journey can be a lot to handle. We will help you come up with user persona, buyer journey and a user requirement document all for free without you making any commitment.
Click here to book a free consultation call with us.
2 We give you custom design
All of our designs are custom, we do not rely on customizable themes to build your website for you.
We build your website in stages:
Following these stages ensures we do not miss anything in between.
3. We can code:
Ask us to develop custom plugins for you, we won’t hesitate. Know why? Because our team is able to build whatever custom requirement you might have.
We are always glad and ready to build what you want for you.
4. We do only WordPress:
We don’t stress ourselves doing other things. We don’t want to jack of all trades hence the reason why we focus on our area of expertise when it comes to development.
Among other things, we know we can build website or program that will run on WordPress.
5. Super reviews
Check out our google review profile and our review on clutch. We are one of the best in our category when it comes to WordPress website design.
Our previous customers trust us and are glad to leave reviews after a job well done.
6. Awesome support service
Our website support service is one of the best you will get in the industry. We follow up with our customers before and after our website development services.
Our communication channel include chat, phone call, email, in office visit and video call.
7. We are not location bond
Though we are a web design service company in Nigeria, we also offer our services to businesses in other countries in Africa, Europe and America.
8. We work with both small and large companies
We understand every company both big and small want to get online.
We love working with small companies, helping them generate the much needed traffic that will enable them gain traction and become profitable.
9. We understand search engine optimization
Right from the planning stages of your website, SEO is one of our major consideration. From fixing your sitemaps, page setups, alt tags, description and everything else that will improve your on and off page SEO to optimizing your page for speed.
We always take our time to optimize your website properly.
10. We love charity.
10% of all our company profit goes to charitable work. We support free coding class for kids in Southern Nigeria.
Though word press core features are very secure and hardly penetrable.
Considering its reliability on plugins from external sources to function very well, it becomes very expedient for us to make every website we create as secure as possible.
It’s very good you discuss your website security with your freelance developer or agency.
A WordPress website with high traffic can have more than 10k attacks everyday. Not to be worried, there are lots of premium plugins that will safe you the stress of manually securing your website.
At Swicdigital we recommend using the paid or premium version of Sucuri security plugins.
WordPress is open-source
The WordPress codebase is contributed to by lots of developers from around the globe, updates are very frequent. There are some updates that WordPress CMS fix itself, others you will have to perform manually.
Refusing or forgetting to update your website could lead to security bridges. Hackers exploit vulnerable features in previous build and make you beg to have your website back.
Here are a few things you can do to get your website all secured.
- Change the Default “admin” username
- Disable File Editing
- Disable PHP File Execution
- Limit Login Attempts
- Add Two Factor Authentication
- Change WordPress Database Prefix
- Password Protect WP-Admin and Login
- Disable Directory Indexing and Browsing
- Disable XML-RPC in WordPress
- Automatically log out Idle Users
- Add Security Questions to WordPress Login
- Scanning WordPress for Malware and Vulnerabilities
- Disable unused plugins and delete unused themes.
SEO is one of those words that’s intimidating to a lot of WordPress users. It doesn’t have to be hard for you. Let see what SEO is and how it works.
What is SEO
SEO stands for Search engine optimization. It is the process of optimizing your website for search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and the likes.
It’s not about tricking searching engine to visit your site instead, its making sure your page can be indexed by web crawlers.
Why is SEO important
The goal of creating every website is for it to be found by potential users or customer for your business.
If your content isn’t optimized, your site content will not appear on any of these search engines. This could translate to you loosing tons of paying customers.
Hence, the reason why it is good to understand if not all, the basic of search engine optimization and how to apply it to your website.
What’s the Most important SEO factor?
Google and other search engines consider sites authority and valuable content as the most important when it comes to indexing sites on result pages.
Your site authority is how many other websites in similar niche do you have pointing back to your website. This is called backlinks.
Search engines believe if your website is valuable, other website owners will be glad link back to your website.
Please in all you do, do not buy backlinks or accept SEO lies that lots of scam agency will tell you so you can part ways with your money.
It takes quite some time to get result with SEO
WordPress SEO tips
The following tips will go a long way in helping you have a more optimized website.
- Use friendly url
- Use a good SEO plugin like Yoast. It increases the chances of your site becoming visible by a huge margin.
- Add textual content to your image alt tags and description.
- Make internal likes a habit.
- Make very good use of google listing for local search optimization especially if you are looking forward to attracting potential customers to your shop.
- Add your website to google search console, including Bing, Yahoo e.t.c
How to create valuable content on WordPress
All google is interested in is you answering questions that users of your products or services are always asking.
According to Marcus Sheridan, search is now for only those who will answer peoples questions thereby building credibility, trust in what they do and attracting customers in the process.
Do well to make answers to these questions very detailed and you will be sure to appear in search engine result pages.
Questions relating to price, location, time, how-to, definitions are some of the most used queries on search engine.
WordPress speed optimization
Search engines puts so much attention on your website speed. If it’s not fast enough you might not show up on search engine result pages.
Here are a few ways to optimize you WordPress website:
- All your images should be less than 300kb. This will make sure your images load faster on both desktop and mobile. Use Tinypng, a free website to compress your images before uploading them.
- Take advantage of image optimization plugins to boast your site speed.
- Remove duplicate content from your website.
- Use content delivery network like YouTube for video, sportify for music, amazon aws for images and more to reduce the load on your website especially if your website has very high traffic.
- Make use of illustrations and animation in place of high-resolution images and videos.
- Use very quality hosting provider with high bandwidth and space. A dedicated WordPress host works better.
WordPress website design pricing
The cost of using wordpress for anyone is free. Everyone and anyone can open a browser, go to wordpress dot org and download the open source content management system for personal use or for business
Visit our pricing page to learn about the cost of building a website.
Why do I pay for designs if WordPress is free?
The cost of developing your website depends on your requirement document.
When designing your wordpress website, an agency will put into consideration the following:
- WordPress domain name
- Website hosting
- The website features.
- Cost of plugins and needed integration.
- Total time needed to design and develop the website from start to finish.
To create a website for yourself or for a company, first you will need a web host. Similar to the way you store files inside your drawer, all wordpress files including text, images, videos and anything else you wish to add on your website is stored inside a folder that’s located in your host.
There’s a lot of affordable website hosting plans available for different type of website. Sites like Namecheap and bluehost are very good place to start.
You will have to pick a plan that fits your budget.
Secondly, you need a domain name. just the same way you use a particular name to locate files your folder so also you need a website address. Your users to type in the browser to reach your website (example swicdigital.com, bing.com)
Should you decide to build your wordpress website yourself, there is a large repository of free templates to choose from. All you have to do is edit, add your own content and just like that you have a website.
While you are at it, you will be need additional functionality to enhance your user website experience. WordPress has over 54,000 free plugins for you to choose from.
What’s the cost of a WordPress website?
You can stay on the low side and build a functioning website yourself for as low as $80.
All that’s needed is a hosting provider and a domain name.
$80 will get you a basic functional website especially a personal blog.
A business website or a website with loads of features will cost a lot more because you will be needing mostly premium plugins and themes to give you the kind of site your need.
We will be glad to tell you the cost of building your website for free.
How long does it take to build a WordPress website?
It takes a longer time to build a website using a page builders like elementor compared to customizing a theme with imported content.
On average, it takes between 1 hour to 3 months to build a WordPress website.
Here are a few important stages:
Find out what’s important to your business, who your customers are and customer journey.
You sketch out every page including call to actions you want on your website.
A pen and paper is all you need. You can also use high end tool like Whimsical, Adobe photoshop and figma.
Here, you convert your wireframe to a fine colourful vector design similar to the real website. It will include every detail you want on the website. Put into consideration font size, image size, responsiveness and colors scheme.
A prototype is a clickable mockup. Just like the real website, a mockup allows you to use actual buttons to move from one page to another
During the development stage, using a website builder plus other plugins you convert the prototype into a real website. This is the one your users will visit using their browser when they enter your domain name.
Lookup your website on all modern browser including firefox, chrome, Microsoft edge and on mobile to make sure your website is behaving just like you have planned.
It’s important to follow these stages so you don’t miss anything along the way and regret later. Just like any other aspect of your business, your website should be given all the process it deserves.
WordPress vs. Wix
Believe it when I say there are tons of other tools and platforms to design your website and online store without really needing WordPress.
Let’s compare the most prominent of these tools:
WordPress vs Wix (pros and cons)
A popular competitor to WordPress in Wix. A SaaS platform for anyone looking forward to building a website fast. With all the goodies, wix isn’t without come downsides.
Let’s make a few considerations:
WordPress is free and open source. Apart from hosting and domain name, you don’t need to get anything else to get started. A cash at hand as little as $20 is enough to get started with WordPress.
Wiz has a free plan for everyone using its platform for the first time. But, you cannot add you own custom domain, integrate extensions, publish without Wix branding and other restriction. Wix best plan starts at $4.50 per month.
Wix comes with up to 200 custom integrations. You couldn’t us all even if you want to because of price restriction. Most of Wix plugins have lite versions. To use pro version, you have to pay monthly, which will further increase your cost down the line.
WordPress has the largest collection of plugins currently at 54 thousand and counting. You can almost integrate any tool into your website for free without paying or increasing your cost per month.
WordPress powers 42% of the entire online store in the world. It flexibility allows anyone to build an online store using woocommerce. WordPress is the best choice for you if you intend to sell books, consultation, physical products and anything else.
Woo commerce comes with a range of apps that will help you integrate payment, check analytics, collect invoice and do anything you do at your physical.
Wix does integrate ecommerce well but not on its free plan. You have to purchase premium plugins at extra cost to get the best out of wix. Also, accepting payment using wix is very restricting as it only allows paypal and authorize.net.
Wix has a drag and drop website builder that enable you to build using WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get). All you have to do is move vectors, images and text around on the screen. Wix comes with upto 200+ different themes you can select from.
WordPress comes with its own page builder that’s easy to use. You can extend its functionalities using pro page builder like elementor.
With these builders you can create reusable templates and design anything you can think of. Among other things you will be able to build:
- Online stores,
- Real-estate websites,
- Company landing pages,
- Non-governmental organization websites,
- Paid memberships sites
- Social media sites and a lot more.
You cannot take your website live without hosting it. Think of a host as a folder in a computer where you put all the files on your website.
Here’s a few things to consider before choosing a host:
- Consider what you need.
Think of it this way, the more traffic coming to your site, the more space and bandwidth you will need. So much traffic coupled with a poor hosting plan will affect your SEO and increase your bounce rate.
You can decide to go for any of the following solution depending on your needs:
- Free WordPress hosting
We do not advise anyone to use free hosting because you can’t guarantee the success of your website. Most free hosting provider will without your consent display ads on your website and backend content management system. Also, it’s impossible to predict when the free space provider will cut you off from their servers.
- Shared WordPress hosting
This is by far the most popular among WordPress users because its affordable and easy to use. All you need to get started is a one click installation.
Though most host providers offer unlimited space and bandwidth, you cannot have too much traffic coming to your website with shared hosting else you will have trouble getting users to stay on your website.
- Virtual dedicated WordPress servers
According to wpengine, VPS hosting uses virtual partitions of a dedicated physical server, meaning it’s a shared solution. However, the difference is you have an actual area of the server that’s your own. This can limit scalability, and will often require a full server migration if you need to scale.
Also, apart from ownership, VPS offers better security than shared hosting. It’s not easily breached since all the resource you use is dedicated to your website alone.
Managed WordPress hosting
Ever thought of focusing on your WordPress website without the hassle of doing anything technical? Then, managed WordPress hosting will work just fine for you.
Managed WordPress hosting is a concierge service where all technical aspects of running WordPress is managed by the host.
Some of the advantages include:
- Expert support
- Daily backups
- Automatic updates
- No downtime
With all the above pros, there are still some disadvantages in cost of using a managed WordPress host. Pricing per month starts at $29 for most providers. Also, you can only use this type of service for WordPress and nothing else.
Best WordPress plugins
Plugins are like phone apps that allow you add extra functions to your website. There are currently more than 44 thousand plugins for wordpress.
With plugin, you can easily use to monitor, modify and extend WordPress capability.
Here’s are top 10 essential plugins you must install for wordpress.
- Yoast: improve your sites SEO and help you gain more traffic
- Elementor: Help you build amazing front end including some pre-customized theme to help you get started fast.
- Sucuri: helps you secure your website with ease. Protects it against virus and attacks.
- Constant contact: collect input from your users with ease on any page on your website.
- MonsterInsights: Connect with google analytics and understand how people use your website.
- Contact Form 7: A free plugin that allows you to add contact forms anywhere on your website.
- UpdraftPlus: make sure you never lose your site should anything go wrong with your website or your website get hacked.
- Livechat: quickly add live chat to your website or eCommerce store and respond to your site visitors with ease.
- Insert headers and footers: Allows you to add extra code to your website without needing to know how to code. You can add tracking codes, meta description and more.
- Woocommerce: Turn your website into an eCommerce store simply by installing this plugin. With this, you can sell both digital and physical products right from your website.
WordPress integrates perfectly well with most of the world’s leading platforms for marketing, advertisement, analytics, database management and much more.
Considering how popular WordPress is today, other 3rd party platforms readily plug into. Here are a few platform wordpress can integrate with.
- Zoom for video call
- Calendly for organizing booking
- Hubspot for manager customer relationship
- Zapier for working with external API seamlessly
- Mail chimp for sending mails to your contact list.
As you can see, WordPress is a very user friendly and robust platform to build anything web that comes to your mind.
From been open source, to having tons of plugins, themes and integration with almost any premium services, WordPress is one of the best tool to build websites with.
We will be happy to help further with any question or clarification you might have regarding WordPress.