WordPress is easy. WordPress is fast. WordPress can be customized with thousands of templates. Because all of this is true, many virtual assistants are adding WordPress website design to their list of services. It can be a great added value to your clients. It can also be a big mistake.
No matter how easy WordPress may make building a website, if you’re going to offer website design you should be aware that it requires much more than knowing how to install the framework, theme and plugins. I’m contacted every week by virtual professionals who have gotten in over their heads because they thought website design only involved being able to create a few pages on the web.
If you’re considering offering WordPress services (or maybe just building your own site on WordPress) you should be aware of the following :
A good WordPress website designer is going to have skills that allow them to go beyond themes and templates. They will understand the theme they use as well as its capabilities and know how to use them to get the look and functions you need. A really good designer should also know how to use CSS, HTML and PHP coding to do things like position elements uniquely and add functionality. And a great WordPress designer is also going to understand the possibility of conflicts when it comes to plugins and know how to troubleshoot, find the cause of conflicts and repair a ‘broken’ website.
Eye for Design
Another skill they should possess is aptitude with graphic design. This not only includes an eye for color, but an understanding of how those colors as well as fonts, images and other elements effect readability and visual appeal. Just because fuchsia is a your favorite color doesn’t mean it works for your website. A good designer won’t be shy about explaining that to you.
They will also understand the marketing aspects of your website , including SEO, and will be able to utilize the great SEO friendly tools inherent in WordPress and put them to work for you. While you shouldn’t expect your designer to be an SEO guru, they should be knowledgeable and able to add descriptions, keywords and meta to get your site found on Google and the rest with no ‘black hat’ tactics.
Have you ever landed on one of those web pages where there was so much to read that you just clicked away? Or maybe the wording was too technical or clumsy leaving you less than impressed? A good web designer may not need to be a copywriting genius, but they should have stellar language skills and an understanding of what makes good web copy. They should also know how to format it so that your message is eye catching and makes you want to find out more by exploring the other areas of your website.
What about images? Your designer may not need to be a graphic designer by trade, but they do need to know how to create and modify images for the web. They will know that rather than resizing large images on your pages, smaller versions should be created or the bloated images will affect your page load time. They will also use purchased stock images, not just images they find through Google image search, keeping you free of copyright infringement problems.
Tutoring & Advice
A great website designer will also be able to consult with you about the elements that may or may not work for your website. And since the beauty of WordPress is giving you the ability to make changes to website copy easily or post to an included blog they should also be able to give you clear instruction on how to do so. This is an aspect that even html and flash designers never had to consider, but a WordPress designer should either be able to direct you somewhere that does a great job of teaching these things or provide the tutoring themselves.
One of the key rules of being a successful virtual professional is to provide only the services that you are experienced in and expert at. Offering WordPress website creation can be a great service for your clients, but only if you truly possess the skills and knowledge to do so.
“The Creating Your Virtual Professional Website” Modules will be covering everything from soup to nuts when it comes to using WordPress for your website, including the points covered in this post.”