Custom WordPress Websites
The single most important step in creating a custom WordPress website is the initial meeting you you, the client. At this meeting we look to determine the purpose of the website and must ask some soul-searching questions.
Some of these questions may initially seem a little confronting, but thinking through these issues is the only way to define the parameters of the website such as:
- What is the purpose of the website and therefore how will we measure whether we have achieved the result?
- Has this business got an existing website? If so, what about that website isn’t working?
- What level of involvement does the business owner want to have in the running of the website …especially in the areas of e-commerce and social media?
Once these questions are answered, we can turn the focus to planning the overall design of the website.
Is it time to consider re-branding?
The commissioning of a new website is often a very convenient time to consider re-branding of your business.
By “re-branding” I mean the overall “look” of how your business presents itself to the world. This is just so much more than engaging someone on fiverr to spin up a new logo for you.
Recently, I have been working with Les and Liz Hannaway of Brilliant Branding on a few corporate websites and the difference that a professional rebranding exercise makes to a project is almost immeasurable. I will be writing Portfolio articles about these projects in the near future.
Areas of Expertise
In building custom WordPress websites I have developed expertise in the use of a suite of tools – each of which adds an extra degree of functionality to the sites I develop.
I’ll list a few of these to give me the opportunity to discuss the broad array of custom sites that can be built in WordPress.
Each topic is only covered very briefly here, but links will take you to more detailed treatment and examples within the portfolios section of the site.
- Kadence Theme & Kadence Blocks
- Astra Theme & Elementor
- Toolset – custom post types
- Fluent Forms – wide range of forms
- Fluent CRM – contact relationship manager
- Fluent Tables – wide range of tables
- WooCommerce – selling online
- Presto Player – effective website video
- Cloudinary – Image storage, manipulation and delivery
- Rank Math – Search Engine Optimisation
- SEMrush – keyword analysis and site audits
- Local Search – Google Business Profile and Priority Booster
Kadence Theme & Kadence Blocks
Over the years I have used a number of WordPress themes and page builders. With WordPress’s move towards full site editing and the upgrading of its native editor using blocks, I began to embrace this by using a theme that was specifically aligned towards this new direction.
I’m now building most websites using the Kadence Theme and Kadence Blocks. I have an unlimited lifetime licence for these tools as I expect that their development is closely aligned to the future direction of WordPress.
Using Blocks rather than page builders such as Elementor, Divi or WP Bakery helps to keep the site lightweight and fast.
In recent months I have been delivering monthly tutorials at the local WordPress MeetUp using the Kadence tools to build a website – using only the free tools – no premium paid blocks or add-ons.
Astra Theme & Elementor
The combination of Astra Theme and Elementor page builder is very popular amongst WordPress website developers. I have used this combination for a number of years and continue to keep up-to-speed with these tools.
While Astra can be used with any page builder (even even with the WordPress native editor), it is most commonly used together with Elementor.
The Astra site even list many professionally designed starter templates using this combination.
Toolset – custom post types
Toolset is a suite of tools that facilitates the use of custom post types within WordPress to extend its functionality. The standard post types available within WordPress include Pages and Posts. A custom post type is a post which contains a set of custom fields to fully define elements such as recipes, books, movies. events, tours, businesses, etc, etc, etc.
Toolset includes all of the tools necessary to build “directory sites”, ie websites which list volumes of information about related data which can be searched, sorted, analysed, end edited from the front end of the site.
For example, visitors could add their own business to a business directory for the front end of a site …and then edit it at a later date.
Toolset is also extremely flexible in describing relationships between different custom post types one-one, one-many and many-many.