We can design and develop a simple 5-6 page WordPress site, or build more complex sites with hundreds of pages and numerous custom menus. Every client and every project is very different.
Who should have a responsive WordPress site?
We strongly recommend WordPress sites for people who want to:
- improve their search engine optimization results
- edit and update their own sites
- build up their site over time by adding new pages and/or blog posts
- have their site display properly on mobile devices
WordPress building blocks
What is WordPress? WordPress is a free application for building websites that includes hundreds of files and functions – more than most people will ever need. We install and configure WordPress on a server. At least twice a year, we need to update your site so the software continues to work. You should expect to do 2-3 major updates per year. The updates replace older versions of the software running your site.
The host you choose is very important because WordPress is vulnerable to being hacked. There is no other copy of your site other than the files on the server. We recommend our managed hosting and backup system, which is monitored daily, located at the Olympic Village in Vancouver.
After installing and configuring WordPress on a server, we build a custom theme based on your preferences. This interface design includes background colours, heading areas, footers, sidebars and other features. Your site will have one or more templates, and one or more style sheets.
PLUGINS and WIDGETS
Most WordPress sites need 4 or 5 plugins – some have 20 or more. These small applications allow you to add features like contact forms, maps, newsletter signups, blog subscriptions, slideshows, photo galleries, social media links and much more. There are also smaller scripts called widgets that are used to organize small tasks, like showing Archives or Latest Posts in the sidebar of a blog.
After WordPress is installed and configured, and after the theme and style sheets are developed, your site is ready for content. The content can be put on Pages, which show in the main menu, or on Posts, which are located in an area of the site called “Blog”, “News” or “Updates” – or any other name you’d like. When you write a new Post, it’s automatically added to the blog area. If you make a new Page, you’ll need to add it to the menu in a second step.
The main menu can be designed as one level, or with drop-down menus. Larger sites often have additional menus in a sidebar.
We recommend videos be uploaded to Youtube or Vimeo, then embedded on your site by pasting the Youtube or Vimeo web address on your page.
As we add content, we test your site in different browsers and on different devices like cell phones and tablets. Adjustments are made to the theme and style sheets as necessary. For example, we need to ensure that images reduce properly and text is easily readable.
It’s important to ask what a developer has in mind when he or she gives you a WordPress quote. Many developers will install WordPress using a one-click installation and leave you to it. This is not what most people have in mind.
After installing WordPress, your developer should go through all the settings and configure them.
If you tell a developer that you “want something simple you can update yourself”, he or she may assume you just want the basic installation of WordPress plus a ready-made theme. However most sites need experienced coding and design to look professional.
Before asking for a quote, discuss the following with developers.
• the extent to which you need a developer to complete your pages – from blank to fully finished
• the extent to which you will need someone to research text, write text, edit your own text, take photos, size your photos, make your photo sizes consistent, etc.
• if you are willing and interested in learning how to use WordPress
• if you are willing to learn some HTML to fix up layouts or links
• if you are able to do WordPress and plugin updates yourself, or will to return to your developer for them
• if you have the software and skills to size images, because WordPress does not work well with images taken directly from a camera
Do not use free themes!
We don’t recommend free themes for many reasons. People who create free themes do not generally keep them updated. A theme that isn’t updated every time WordPress releases a new version can cause problems in the future.
There are also many issues with code snippets and spam embedded in free templates. You may not care about your site enough to use a custom theme, but your visitors can pick up malware or hidden code.
Ask for stable, tested plugins
We only use plugins that we’ve found to be reliable over the long term, and prefer to use ones that we’ve tested. Because plugins are created by independent programmers, they might be incompatible with other plugins or stop functioning after a new version of WordPress is updated.
Ask who creates and adds the content
Your site is now ready to go with blank pages. Again many developers take you only to this point, so it’s good to discuss your expectations ahead of time. We encourage you to let us set up each page with at least a little content, and install a few images in each gallery, just to get you going. We can also research, write or edit your text, create slideshows, install ecommerce shops, make art galleries, add event calendars and set up many other features and content.
Determine who will do your updates
Wordpress sites rely on code that has to be updated. By updating we don’t mean adding new content. We mean updating the code itself: the WordPress installation, the theme and the plugins when new versions become available. The updates fix security breaches in earlier installations and it’s critical they are done. We contact our clients once or twice a year when it’s time for a major update, and also update or install new versions of your plugins that are compatible with the WordPress update.Read more about updates
Ask about training and follow-up help
We provide screen shots with instructions on how to add content at no charge. For complex features, we make step-by-step videos at no charge. We’re available by email or phone any time you need help, at no charge.
Ask about SEO – Search Engine Optimization
Kits Media includes organic search engine optimization with every site we build. It’s important to have an SEO plugin and have all pages optimized properly, or you won’t achieve good results in search engines. The tag feature in WordPress allows you to categorize content for your visitors, but has no effect on search engines.
In addition to on-page SEO services, we make sure your site is submitted to Google and verified so your pages will start appearing in the organic listings. This is a critical final step. Without it, search engines don’t automatically know a new site is online.