Are you new to WordPress but can’t decide if you should build your own website, or have someone build it for you?
I’m a graphic designer who uses many computer programs in my business on a daily basis: Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, PDF, Captivate, Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook. After learning and using WordPress for a year, I have come to the conclusion there are 3 ways to work with WordPress:
1. as a user
2. a builder
3. a designer
Which one do you want to be?
A volunteer’s story
A prospective client needed a new website for a softball league. Five years ago he volunteered to design the league’s website in Dreamweaver, but grew weary of the responsibility. He wanted other coaches to be able to update their own pages, however he was the only league coach who owned the Dreamweaver program, and knew how to use it.
He heard WordPress was “easy and intuitive,” but after downloading the program, did not enjoy using it. He’s also a full time engineer working for a Fortune 500 company, and would rather do something “else” with his free time.
A you a business owner who needs a website?
My chiropractor has been a photographer since he was a teenager, and loves using Photoshop. He was happy to sit down with me to help plan his website but had no interest in building it. He also wanted a site that his administrative assistant could easily update.
The advantages of being a WordPress user
There’s no shame in having someone else build your WordPress website. In fact, it may be the smartest thing to do when you’re new to WordPress because while your site is being constructed, you can spend time building your business. After it’s completed, you can learn how to keep your site updated with new text, photos, videos and/or audio, and feel like a pro.
Years ago, my calligraphy instructor told me the average person needs to repeat the same task 17 times before it “sinks in.” Chances are you’ll only build one site, but update it many times.
Learning how to build a WordPress site takes time
My own journey into WordPress began one year ago with a pre-recorded training course by social media expert Christine Gallagher. Wanting to go beyond the basics, I brushed up on HTML and CSS, took advanced WordPress classes online at Lynda.com, attended WordCamp in Providence, Rhode Island, spent (and continue to spend) lots of time on the WordPress Codex, bought a few training manuals, and found a trainer who specializes in my WordPress Framework of choice.
Today I’m a WordPress website designer, builder, and a user. I also train my clients how to use their WordPress site after it’s designed.
What’s the difference between a builder and a designer?
Not everyone who calls themselves a “WordPress designer” has graphic design experience. Many are experienced computer programmers, or former IT professionals who now build WordPress sites for other people. I’ve even met a few English majors who gravitated to WordPress because they set up their own blog, and enjoyed it.
- Can help you choose and setup a web host if you don’t already have one
- Point your domain name to your web host
- Install and configure WordPress
- Help you choose a free or “premium WordPress Theme
- Install your theme
- Add your logo to your web header (client provided logo)
- Setup your pages: i.e. Home, About, Contact, Services or Products page
- Setup and install a contact submission e-mail form
- Add a shopping cart if your selling products on-line
- Install plugins
- Upload your images to your Media Library
- Place your graphics and text into your site
- Train you how to use WordPress
Designers are a one-stop shop. They do what builders do plus…
- Design custom logos
- Design custom web headers, badges, buttons and information graphics
- Design graphics for you contact submission e-mail form
- Find captivating images to work with your brand
- Make your images web-ready, including retouching, enhancing, resizing, and converting from CMYK to RGB, and from tiff to jpg or png
- Provide banners and graphics for social media, i.e., Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+
- Provide marketing materials if needed: i.e., business cards, printed brochures, tradeshow banners, training manuals, advertisements
- Coordinate the look of your entire site with all your marketing materials
- Make your site look professional and gorgeous!
- Help you build your brand
What are plugins?
Plugins are bits of code that integrate with WordPress software and add functionality to your site. Some examples of what plugins can do are:
- add a shopping cart
- add a contact form
- boost your SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Thanks to the enthusiastic group of developers within the WordPress community, there are literally thousands of plugins to choose, to make your site unique.