Guide for Building a WordPress Website

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Are you looking to build a WordPress website but unsure of where to start, or feeling overwhelmed by the vast amount of information and choices? In this post, I’ll walk you through the most important aspects of this system step-by-step and assist you in preparing for the endeavor of creating a website. 

WordPress stands as the world’s most popular Content Management System (CMS). Thanks to its widespread popularity, there is a staggering array of templates, plugins, and various extras. This system is user-friendly, intuitive, and constantly evolving, which has played a significant role in its popularity.

Myths About the WordPress System 

I’ve decided to address the topic of myths that unfortunately still appear in the IT environment. Many professionals often perpetuate false information that WordPress is an insecure system and an easy target for “hackers,” but this is not entirely true.

Security 

The most important information is that WordPress, when regularly updated, is a very secure tool. I don’t recall anything so terrible happening in recent years that could lead to losing trust in this system and its creators. In case of any vulnerabilities, we immediately receive the possibility of automatic updates.

The biggest mistake, besides using old versions of the WordPress system, is using themes or plugins that have either been abandoned by their creators or are simply not updated regularly. Updates are often not performed either out of laziness or because people, after purchasing a license for one year, do not extend it for subsequent years.

Another issue is working with agencies or individuals who do not adhere to basic programming principles. Instead of using the solutions described in WordPress’s excellent documentation, they try to invent things anew, which later results in problems related not only to security but also to the ongoing maintenance of such a site. Engaging in such cooperation may unfortunately mean that in the long run, you will spend twice as much on such a site because it will need to be fixed and brought up to standard, if that is at all possible.

The only problem or trap when it comes to collaborating with a company programming websites in the WordPress system (and not only) may be that often people specializing in creating WordPress sites do not have extensive experience in programming broadly defined. It’s not that they are unfit for anything, but they often take on projects that go beyond their skills and try to save themselves with ready-made plugins that are modified in a “cottage industry” manner. Once you receive such a site, I guarantee that problems will start after the first month.

If you’re aiming to create a simple website without any complex functionalities, finding a reputable company to do the job well at a fair price shouldn’t be too difficult. Just remember to obtain documentation and all details about any additional modules used, including whether they are paid and who is responsible for the cost in the first year. I suggest setting up your own accounts and managing such licenses from the start.

An exception might be if a company offers a lifetime license and simply provides you with a single key, or if you sign a proper agreement with the company creating your website.

Using pre-made plugins isn’t a bad approach. The market is full of excellently crafted products that not only come with a plethora of features but also offer fantastic APIs for developers. Therefore, editing these plugins and tailoring them to the needs of a specific project is much easier.

Budget

Budget is one of the key factors because it helps immediately determine which tools to use when creating a specific website. Can I build a website on a low budget? Absolutely, but it all depends on how low the budget is. A simple site based on a good theme with a graphic design project might cost around $2500. This refers to a very basic site without any fireworks, complicated animations, or functionalities.

A more elaborate website featuring numerous templates with an excellent graphic design will cost significantly more. It’s hard to define the scope of work without a discussion, but it’s safe to say that the prices for such websites usually start at around $8000 – $12000. As for stores built on the robust WooCommerce system, the price also depends on the scale, but with a budget of about $12500 Polish złoty, you can create something good, and it’s entirely possible to find companies that will do a great job for this price.

Of course, there’s no upper limit, and a WooCommerce store or an advanced WordPress site might even cost up to $50000. Imagine, in addition to the basic store, having to create an advanced product configurator, write an integration with an external inventory system, and prepare a sophisticated system for tracking events in Google Tag Manager.

Many agencies often use their pre-made solutions or those from well-known companies and create sites using builders. 90% of such “builders” are not suitable for anything, but fortunately, there are already a few products that are well-written and have excellent support.

Our company regularly utilizes the excellent theme from BricksBuilder.io – we use it to create websites with both smaller budgets and very large sites with substantial traffic and many complex functionalities developed by our programmers. Bricks does not use jQuery, is incredibly fast, and offers a very programmer-friendly experience. There’s also a group of clients who, after receiving their website, work intensively on it, often making many changes. Utilizing a system like BricksBuilder significantly reduces costs since changes can be easily made without the need to hire a qualified programmer. The savings can be truly substantial.

One factor that can drastically increase the cost of creating a website is all the expenses associated with what is known as project management and testing. Many “large” agencies will assign you a project manager and claim in their offer that thorough tests will be conducted. Let’s be honest, when it comes to even a highly complex website or a WooCommerce store, there really isn’t a need for writing tests. 99% of things can be tested in a few hours. After all, everything is based on proven systems that really work. The exception might be situations where additional integrations or advanced modules are being developed.

Regarding the project manager, this role is very important. In our case, for small and medium projects, the role of project manager is usually taken on by the programmer assigned to the project. If there are multiple programmers, a lead person is always designated. This approach reduces costs and, in our opinion, often results in a better and more convenient experience for the client. Our programmers have a lot of freedom in their actions and also work directly with clients.

Setting Goals

Once you’ve decided to create a new website for your business, it’s crucial to prepare thoroughly before moving on to the design and development phases.

Defining your goals is a helpful first step.

Your website’s goal might be to generate more leads (meaning, essentially, new potential customers) or to increase traffic to the site. You might want to appear in search results for new keywords that you consider crucial for your business. Sometimes, the purpose of the website is simply to be another element of your brand identity, designed to look great but not necessarily focused on generating traffic or acquiring customers because the company already has a strong market position or acquires customers through other means – indeed, not everyone relies on the internet for this.

It’s useful to prepare a list of websites you like to more easily identify your preferences. Often, the sites or projects clients like are outdated or subpar – in such cases, it’s the role of the agency or company developing the new site to gently persuade and explain to the client why their preferences might not be the best choice. The company should then take full control of the design process and decision-making regarding the site’s appearance, while maintaining constant contact with the client to avoid any disappointment or frustration during the later stages of design.

Graphic Design for WordPress Sites

Some argue that graphic design is the most crucial piece of the puzzle. It’s hard for us to definitively say whether that’s true, but without a doubt, this stage involves making several key decisions that will stick with you for a long time.

I won’t delve into the specifics of web design in this post. However, it’s important to ask ourselves: who is the target audience for the website? The approach to design differs significantly depending on the audience – for instance, a company that creates a website solely to boost its prestige will require a different design than a company producing parts for the automotive industry. Similarly, the design approach for e-commerce varies greatly, and what the store sells plays a crucial role. A store selling painting accessories will look entirely different from a perfume shop.

Once everyone has discussed and agreed upon a direction, we can begin the design process. I strongly encourage thinking primarily in terms of “mobile” design. The reality is that most people will view your sites on mobile devices. While there are exceptions, accommodating mobile users should not pose a problem.

Every section that looks great on “desktop” devices must also look good on mobile devices. I get the impression that people often forget that everyone uses phones to browse websites. Therefore, if you open a web design company’s website and the mobile version looks bad, you can be sure that your site might end up the same way.

Programming a Website in WordPress

A best practice is to start the programming work after the graphic design has been approved and all functionalities have been defined and included as an annex to the contract.

This is crucial because it helps avoid many troubles and misunderstandings later in the project. Don’t even think about approaching these issues with a “we’ll figure it out as we go” attitude because it’s a lesson you’ll remember for a long time. It’s important to recognize that even clients from highly developed industries may not have knowledge about managing and pricing IT projects and might not always know how to approach this.

Consider a company asking you to create a product configuration system that, at the very end, allows scheduling a meeting with a salesperson and generating an order in PDF format. And that’s it. For someone ordering such a website, it might seem obvious that along with the configurator, they’ll get access to all previously placed orders, possibly access to a shopping cart, or options for entering prices with or without tax.

Everyone must be aware that a product configurator might be just one piece of the puzzle, and if you prepare such an estimate, it’s very easy to make a mistake that could cost tens of thousands of dollars.

If everything with the design and functionalities is settled, we can confidently start the programming work. I won’t delve into technical matters here, as there are many possibilities, and each company or developer has their own “workflow” and favorite tools they use while working on a website. It’s also difficult to describe what the ideal approach to creating such a site looks like, as it depends on numerous factors, including whether everything will be written from scratch or if some pre-existing tools will be utilized. During the development process, it’s valuable to monitor progress, divide the work into stages, and continuously check for any arising issues.

It’s important to remember that not everything described in this post will always apply, especially when creating a simple site or landing page for an advertising campaign. In such cases, it’s often unnecessary to pay attention to many of the aspects that would be crucial for a regular website, such as the ability to edit content or various advanced settings for templates.

Summary

WordPress is an excellent tool that can currently be used for comprehensive and complex projects, provided that the person undertaking such a project knows what they’re doing and has extensive experience. The ease of editing and extending functionalities can be a curse, but only if handled by inexperienced individuals.

We believe that in today’s times, WordPress is the most cost-effective and time-efficient solution. Finding individuals to manage or further develop a WordPress-based site is much easier and should not pose any problems. Verifying the skills of developers who specialize in the WordPress system is also much simpler nowadays, thanks to popular platforms and ubiquitous reviews.