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Wordpress Web Design | Web Design | G Web Design Cape Town

WordPress Web Design

Introduction

WordPress web design is what we focus on at G Web Design. WordPress is an open source content management system or CMS for short. A CMS allows you to update the content of your website easily from a very easy user friendly interface. All our web design clients in South Africa have this capability. They are all eligible for a free Skype training session on how to use the system.

The best part of this for a customer is that in most cases you do not have to know any web development languages like HTML, CSS, PHP, Javascript etc… That's right, no coding skills required!

This article will look at WordPress web design in terms of :

  1. why
  2. what theme options
  3. what exactly can a plugin do
  4. then finally a few advantages and disadvantages of this great content management system.

Why use a WordPress web design?

So, why use WordPress and not some other CMS? WordPress websites has a 59.5% market share in the CMS world with its competitors like Drupal, Joomla and others having a market share of under 10% each. This means that WordPress websites make up about 26.4% of all websites. As you can see WordPress web design is very popular and it has an active community of web developers constantly improving the system.

For a customer it means that you are getting a system that works for millions of people. As a result it has proven to be the best in its class, not just with market share but also things like :

  1. ease of use,
  2. learning curve,
  3. security,
  4. extendability and so many other factors.

Our clients really benefit as we are just a phone call or email away. Some of our web design clients in Cape Town even have a visit from us for complex requirements.

WordPress started out as a blogging system, but has evolved into so much more. It is a full feature CMS and can create blogs, personal websites, business websites, membership websites or any other custom system you can think of.

WordPress websites include CNN, NBC, New York Observer, Time.com and other big names, so it is a really trustworthy name on the internet. So say about 37 million searches a month for the word “Wordpress” alone.

Theme options

Out of the box it comes with some default themes installed, created by Automattic, the company responsible for the CMS. WordPress web design themes are essentially your website that is plugged into the system.

What is great about this system is that all the add-on pieces to WordPress like themes and plugins are interchangeable.

There are 3 types of themes:

1. Free themes
2. Premium themes
3. Custom themes

1. Free themes

Free themes are available to download from the WordPress repository or other third party sites. Therefore, this is a great starting point to see what your website could potentially look like. Remember that it must still however be configured to attain the desired result. The best part about a free theme is just that, it is free. You have limitations if you do not have a background in WordPress web design and development because certain elements may not be exactly where you want them to be. If you can live with that, then great. A lot a free themes have the option to upgrade to a premium version which usually offers increased functionality and flexibility.

There is normally limited or no support for these types of themes. So, basically you are on your own trying to figure out how to make the theme work for you. Documentation may or may not be available. Generally, free themes goes through a standards audit to make sure they comply with the prevailing coding standards, not so with third party themes.

2. Premium themes

Premium themes are paid for themes and are considered to be an upgrade from a free theme. They are packed with features and are usually well coded and comply or should comply with the standards even though this is not compulsory. Generally, they are well documented making it easier to get to grips with how the theme was set up to be available to navigate to your desired look. They also offer premium support and help with theme installation and modification at an additional cost. If you don't want to do any heavy lifting, the theme support team will normally be able to get your site up and running, at the right price, of course.

3. Custom themes

These are themes that are made specifically for a web design project where the client has exact requirements that cannot be fulfilled by other themes. The client is able to get the theme customized to their taste, while still having the WordPress engine in the background. Which means all other components like plugins, templates, etc can be used to enhance the functions for the WordPress web design.

You can build custom themes from a base theme that comply with all coding standards or completely from scratch. This is the beauty of WordPress as both free and premium themes can also be customized, usually by means of a child theme. A child theme is a customized version of some parent theme. The main reason for using them is that you are able to update parent themes without suffering from any overridden changes that you have made. The sky is really the limit.

Wordpress web design

Advantages and disadvantages

The advantages of using WordPress far outweighs the disadvantages as the statistics speak for themselves. However, I have put together 4 advantages and 3 disadvantages to cover both sections.

4 Advantages

1. Free updates to the WordPress Core and most plugins
2. Extremely active community
3. Well documented
4. Easy to use

1. Free updates to the WordPress Core and most plugins

The WordPress CMS will notify you when there is a new version of the software available. At the click of a button you are able to update it to the latest version at all times. In addition, this has 2 benefits. Firstly, you have the latest version of WordPress with the improvements and enhancements that come with it. Finally, the latest standard is the best way to ensure that the security of the system is at it's best level at that point in time.

The same thing applies to plugins, newer versions are developed and a notification is sent when an update is available. Some non-Wordpress repository plugins or even premium plugins may not notify you via the dashboard that updates are available, but this is mostly not the case.

Time is money and a lot of businesses do not have the time to update or see to this very important part of having a WordPress website. At G Web Design we offer a monthly maintenance plan to take care of these tasks for you. In addition, other benefits include making regular backups of your WordPress website. What a pleasure to have piece of mind and knowing that your online presence is being taken care of, while you do what you do best, running your business.

2. Extremely active community

The forums are extremely active and you will most likely find the answer to your problem by searching the database before you even need to ask a question. This is a great resource with plugin and theme authors generally answering theme and plugin specific questions themselves. Who better to answer your questions than the creator of the product. The community is very helpful and the answers and suggestions are more often than not what you are looking for.

All our WordPress web design clients receive 30 days free customer support when taking any web design product with us, where we will give them 3 minor changes. This ensures that you have a specialist to help you make changes if you change your mind about any display element in your website.

3. Well documented

As you would expect, WordPress is very well documented in the WordPress Codex. This is a great help for developers of themes and plugins. Especially for the latest standards that Wordpress requires. This covers every part of the system, from how to enqueue scripts and styles, how to create child themes, the parameters available for functions, etc… Help and knowledge is just a few clicks away.

4. Easy to use

Once you get the hang of it, which won't take long, a WordPress website is a breeze to manage. Things like changing an image, adding additional text, updating outdated specials, etc. can be done quickly. It all becomes really simple with the system. Even as a novice you will be able to learn how to do these tasks and it includes keeping the system up to date.

3 Disadvantages

1. Needs constant updating
2. Target of hackers
3. Plugins may not be compatible with newer versions

1. Needs constant updating

It can become frustrating to update the system all the time and updates happen on a regular basis. Especially relevant security updates that generally occur in between major versions. You are able to automate the update as new updates become available, so this pain has a solution.

As mentioned in the advantages, all our WordPress web design clients can have piece of mind and be frustration free by taking a WordPress website maintenance plan with us.

Wordpress web design

2. Target of hackers

Since Wordpress' widespread popularity, it has inevitably become the target of malicious people. This means that you have to make sure that your WordPress web design or blog is secure against these threats. Luckily there are great free and premium tools available to help prevent and remove threats.

All our web design clients have preventative measures in place to make sure that their websites are secure. If a WordPress website is infected by malicious code then we are able to rescue the website and harden the security.

3. Plugins may not be compatible with newer versions

This happens every now and then, you upgrade your website to the latest version and suddenly a plugin acts funny or something weird is up. It was working fine before the upgrade and now you are having problems. You will either have to replace the said plugin with an alternative, have a web developer sort out the concerns or wait for the author to update the plugin to be in line with the new version of WordPress. Thankfully I have not come across too many of these. This is something to be aware of though.

What exactly can a plugin do?

The question here is really what can you not do with plugins, with over 40 000 plugins available in the WordPress repository alone. Plugins are programming code bundled into one component that is installed on a WordPress web design. Plugins are used for anything from a contact form, to a hotel booking system, visitor counter, animation effects, page building tools, etc… The list is endless. Hence, if for some reason you cannot find the plugin that you need, a web developer can create one for you.

Conclusion

In conclusion, WordPress is continuing to make great leaps to assist non-technical individuals to publish content online. It has given WordPress website owners the option of getting closer to their online presence by given them the power to change things on their website. Before this it was not so easy unless you had the necessary skills.

Thanks for reading,

Graham Gilbert (Web Designer Cape Town)
G Web Design ( Web Design Cape Town)

"Your partner on the web"

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