Things are never as easy as they seem. I am constantly reminded of this whenever I embark on creating or fixing something in my house. My optimism for an easy and quick fix often times turn into a project that takes much longer or is more complicated than anticipated. The same is true with your website.
The dawn of Content Management Systems (CMS) with drag and drop builders has made building websites a lot easier and faster. Not to mention the ability to access and incorporate all sorts of outside software has made them all the more powerful. While there are multiple CMS to choose from, arguably the most powerful is WordPress.
A Powerful Platform
WordPress powers about 35% of the world’s websites! That equals over 60% of all market share when comparing other CMS platforms! WordPress blows every other platform out of the water in this category, and for good reason. Serious companies, colleges, and organizations are built with WordPress. Check out some examples. While the rest of this article is specific to WordPress, these concepts are still very relevant with regard to managing any web platform.
So Why Hire a Web Expert?
1. Learning Curve
As with most things there is a learning curve, and a person must be willing to take the time to dedicated research and learning. There are actually college courses on how to build and manage CMS websites. Unless you have designer and developer experience, there is a large learning curve to building with and managing the platform well. I remember my first website I built took me way too long for something that was not even that good. An aspiring web designer must take the time to learn and navigate the platform, learn the difference between widgets and plugins, learn how to choose the best theme (don’t decide simply by how it looks in the template), develop a skill for managing blocks, handle media, etc. And this does not even include all the items mentioned below. This is not to say that it cannot be done. If you are motivated, go for it. For most people just wanting to start a business or blog, then maybe seek some help.
You have great content and a great looking theme. But a couple of the blocks do not seem to behave the way you envisioned. Or, maybe you are not thrilled with aspects when viewing it on a mobile phone (very important today). Or maybe you would like a shadowed backdrop that looks sleeker. You need to customize it, but this means going into the code. The best thing to do when altering code is first creating a child theme, and then editing it in there. This way, your theme file remains untouched. You will need to find someone who knows CSS and HTML as well as how to set up an FTP account, the files, and code appropriately.
3. Prevention of Not So Obvious Mistakes
Did you know that your header size affects the way Google reads your site? Many people creating a website for the first time simply choose their header size based on how big it looks on the page. Also, maybe your content should have been a post instead of a page. Speaking of pages, how is your page map? How are your permalinks set up? Are your settings configured in such a way that will be most advantageous for you down the road? An experienced web designer has the perspective necessary to avoid pitfalls (that may happen down the road) and get the most out of a website.
Every piece of software on the internet is threatened by hackers. WordPress is consistently targeted because of its enormous popularity, especially with so many inexperienced users. The power of WordPress is the ability to bring in code that others have created. As Peter Parker’s uncle famously said, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” There is a science to choosing the best theme and plugin for your site. All plugins, activated or not, must be kept up to date. A reliable hosting service should be used, and sensitive data should be stored and deleted appropriately. Don’t forget about using an SSL Certificate. An experienced web developer can make sure your site is set up and maintained with the best chance of keeping it secure.
As mentioned earlier, there is definitely a learning curve when building a website. Although, WordPress makes things a lot easier with avoiding, or at least minimizing the use of code, there is still a lot to learn to do it right. Further more, if things are not set up properly, this can cause a great deal of time and energy down the road. Things come up as well. For example, a plugin may not be compatible with the recently updated WordPress platform. This may cause your site to crash and you now need to navigate finding the issue. A web expert can take care of these things so you can spend your time being an expert in your field.
A web expert will have experience with hosting companies. I recommend using SiteGround. They are fast, provide quality service, and have a friendly interface. Through the hosting company a web expert can set up FTP accounts, email, HTTPS, redirects, manage site migration and more. Staging areas can also be set up for making changes to your site. This way, your visitors will not experience any down time.
7. Professional Look
Websites are the gateway to your business or organization. Think of a potential customer walking into a physical store. If the store is unorganized, messy, hard to navigate, or unpleasing to the eye, that customer is going to feel a desire to leave and go somewhere else, if even visit it at all. Many business decisions today are made based upon a customer’s shopping experience in addition to whatever product they may be selling. Websites must be designed in the same way. A positive user experience will give credibility to the organization and credibility is key when it comes to attracting and keeping visitors.
Backup. Backup. And… backup your site! A professional web expert will do this consistently every day. If something were to happen to your site, or if you simply want to convert it back to the time before you made those changes, you will need it to be backed up.
9. Layout Expertise
An experienced web designer will have a perspective and some advice on how to organize your site content. This, of course, is an area where he will need your input as well. Working with your designer, a map should be made of pages and posts (and when to use each one). You can help him understand your content, and he/she can help you avoid the pitfalls of a less than ideal setup.
Headers, key words, alt attributes, meta data, and more are all areas to learn if wanting to maximize your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). A web expert can help set up your site in a way that Google will appreciate, and in turn help you with your rankings. It is important to note that these things alone do not determine how well you rank. Google, above all else, values your user experience. If your site is good looking, clean, fast, and organized, your users will appreciate it and that will give you a boost in the rankings. Visitors, bounce rate, and connecting with other sites through relative links will help give your SEO a boost.