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WordPress logo with laptop, window, potted plant, and pillows in the background

Why WordPress?

For one thing, I really like WordPress. The longer answer is a bit more involved. Let’s start with the idea that web technologies and developers are kind of like music artists and their fans. Fans of certain musicians or styles of music can be fiercely loyal, but also a little possessive and protective of the aspects of the music they identify with. Different languages, frameworks, and platforms often have a similar effect on web and software engineers. Also like music, the newest is often perceived as the most innovative, or the best available. That having been said, I suggest that Mozart serves as a good example to prove that this is not necessarily the case.

The experienced developer will recognize that different situations call for different solutions, and finding the appropriate tool for the job is more important than just copying what someone else is doing.

What I personally specialize in doing, is building brands and websites using content based marketing. This means that our preferred platform should be excellent at being a hub for writing, editing, and publishing good content. It should also be good at categorizing content. Since marketing is an essential aspect, structuring the way content is stored logically, and served in a way that search engines find easy to index, is of great importance. This also means that having the ability to style the content around a cohesive branded design is also equally important. The platform should be easy to start with, so the focus can be only on design, content, and user experience, if necessary. Any framework, tool, or template should be extremely well supported, with a strong community. With WordPress, we get all of this and more.

WordPress is Open Source

WordPress (wordpress.org) is an “open source” software. This means that it is not owned or distributed by a single corporation, but is instead built and maintained by a team of volunteers who are constantly working to make it better.

The Make WordPress introductory content.

From https://make.wordpress.org

WordPress is very well supported. It is so well supported, that it is estimated that ~30% of the known web is powered by WordPress. The larger the pool of participants, the higher the quality of contributions to the code base. This growth is self-perpetuating, as WordPress continues to improve over time.

Today, WordPress is built on PHP and MySQL, and licensed under the GPLv2. It is also the platform of choice for over 30% of all sites across the web.

WordPress.org

 

WordPress is Built on Proven Technologies

Built on PHP, the server side scripting language that powers sites like Facebook, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Flickr, and MailChimp, WordPress has leveraged the same language and earned its place as a household name.

WordPress can use a MySQL or Maria database for data storage and management, and it can be served on Apache or NGINX. It also makes use of Backbone.js and includes proven tools and jQuery by default.

Linux, NGiNX, MySQL, php logos

WordPress is Extendable

Through plugins or custom themes, WordPress is highly extendable. While being famous as a blog platform, WordPress is being used as a full fledged Content Management System, as a fully featured e-commerce solution, a digital courseware platform, and even as a platform for app development.

A webshop built using WordPress

Screenshot of the e-commerce cart from https://shop.simplehomefinances.com

In short, WordPress is powerful and flexible, able to accomplish what most people and businesses need their website to do.

WordPress is Easy To Use

WordPress was originally built as a platform to write and publish blog content. This means that the focus on user friendliness for writing and managing content is pretty good! WordPress makes it easy for site owners to create, manage, and edit their own content, making it a great business solution. It is important that our clients are able to make small changes or write their own articles. Personal content performs better, so we really encourage businesses to write their own blog content.

the post edit screen in WordPress admin panel

What it looks like to write the post you’re reading right now.

WordPress is Designer and Developer Friendly

Based on open source technologies, being open source itself, with an enormous community, WordPress is a designer and developer’s playground. It is easily achievable to make a high performance, beautiful website that can do almost anything you want it to do. If there is an edge use case that is not supported, it is possible for a developer to build the functionality as a plugin. If a brand has a unique style, quirkiness, or client experience, it is possible to design and build a custom theme without having to throw away the content and code, or start again from nothing.

design and development

WordPress Serves Us Well

Do I use it for everything? No. However, it is safe to say that, for business marketing websites, I use it for most projects. I have been using it for years, and it keeps proving itself time and time again.

Do you love WordPress? Let us know why in the comments below! If you want to put our years of design, development, copywriting, and marketing expertise in your corner, contact us today to start the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you!

laptop open on table in morning light outdoors

Why Your Website’s Design Matters

First impressions are important. Whether interviewing for a job, meeting with a client, or giving a presentation, this common sense conclusion seems to be ingrained in most of us. When the stakes are either not as high, or not as personal, this is often forgotten or misunderstood (wearing nice fall clothes before going for a hike, for example). When it comes to appearance, it doesn’t work to look good if the visual impression doesn’t match the context. This should also be kept in mind when designing a website.

In an age where people use search engines to research a company or organization before making any plans or decisions, the appearance and feel of a website is important. In fact, your website is often the first impression that your potential customers will see. How it looks, and how it makes them feel when they use it each give a conscious or subconscious impression about your brand. Does the design feel clean and fresh? Artistic and alive? Down to earth and practical? How should it feel in order to accurately represent your brand? How should it look to make your clients feel that you really understand them?

Know Thyself

First, revisit your brand’s identity. What is your mission? What are your values? What are you selling? Who are you selling it to? Is there a cultural or sub-cultural context? These should all be considered when deciding the general aesthetic of your website. Once we have a general idea of how it should feel, it’s time to move into the content we are designing for. Related: Getting started with your content strategy

Know Your Audience

What is your message? What makes your brand unique? What kind of a personality does your brand have? These should be woven together when deciding the information architecture, how content is organized and displayed, of your website. Your website should represent your brand in a way that your intended audience can understand and see themselves reflected back in. That is, your website should be relatable.

Be Crystal Clear

The design should make sense. Navigation should be easy. They should be able to tell right away what action they should take. Shop? Call? Order? Email? Read more? Restrict the available choices, and make them simple. The words and the voice of your content should keep them engaged as they choose from the available actions. The design exists to organize and display the content and calls to action. That is, design is the art of solving problems, not art for art’s sake. In web design, the “problem” we are solving is effectively communicating your brand, and encouraging site visitors to take desired actions.

Be Interesting

The design should be interesting, but modest. Clean designs with photographs and white space make sense to visitors without asking them to interpret very much before getting to the message and calls to action. This respects their time, their energy, and keeps their focus where it belongs: on your content. A little interactive design can go a long way to adding interest without adding clutter.

Be Flexible

The design should be responsive. Today, people do more with their smartphones, and depend on them as a primary means of searching and browsing the web. If your website doesn’t look good on a smartphone’s browser, you are alienating a large, and growing, demographic. It’s 2018. Every new website should be ready for a wide range of screen sizes.

Be Familiar

The design should look and feel like it’s from the same family as other assets related to your brand. I might even argue that this is the single most important point to remember. Have you ever gone to a website only to realize that you were in the wrong place just by how it looked and felt? Did you immediately look for the logo to verify that your instinct was right? You don’t want to give your visitors that false negative instinct when visiting a website. Your brand has a personality, which makes sense. After all, business is personal. Your website’s design should represent this personality.

If I Were To Summarize…

While looks alone probably won’t make your business successful, it can go a long way toward helping your future and existing clients. In a sense, your website is taking the place of an elevator pitch, a casual conversation, or a scheduled private meeting. It is available to anyone with internet access any day or time. Creating content that successfully achieves this is important, and the bare minimum we should do with design is to simply not misrepresent the content. Better still, we can support, and even enhance this same great content with good design.

Industrial designer Dieter Rams famously said that good design is as little design as possible. A similar sounding idea that really gets to the heart of good design for a website is this:

“Good design, when it’s done well, becomes invisible. It’s only when it’s done poorly that we notice it.”

– Jared Spool