Understanding what you need

When planning for a new WordPress site, You must identify what you want your site to do, first. The requirements. Then you can determine what it will take to accomplish your goals. Web firms will all have opinions about building custom coded sites vs. using out of the box themes. We fall  somewhere in the middle of these two. We do use out of the box software for affordability for small business websites, and there are times adding custom code to accomplish something unique is necessary.

Ecommerce vs. Brochure Website

Also, a small business website compared to an ecommerce website have very different requirements, so your needs will be different. Document everything you want your site to do before you have a meeting with a web firm. When you present your ideas to a web team, you should get some feedback and questions about what is needed for your project.

Ask about off-the-shelf WordPress themes, which have their own set of native features, some being baked into the design and function, while others with minimal functions so you can bolt on only the technologies that are needed, and nothing more. Some out of the box have have small licensing fees, while others are quite steep. We choose WordPress and like Divi as a theme, due to it’s ease of design. We can add custom code if needed too.  We can do literally anything with WordPress, and get great value with design using the Divi theme.

Some important considerations when weighing your platform and development options:

1. Are products or content the focus of your?

2. Will a database be connected to the site? One that will change and grow at least once per year?

3. Is a custom dashboard needed at the back end for users, managers or owners, with custom reporting options?

4. Are Product Updates going to be a regular occurrence, such as descriptions, pricing, availability, specials? 

5. Will online purchases require various shipping options and tax parameters for various states?

6. Do you have an idea you have never seen before on a website? 

7. Will you have a growing number of users who register with the site?

8. Will you serve multiple countries and use multiple languages?

9. How much site traffic will you have?

How you answer these questions will be a good start to the website development planning process.

Problems with Custom-Coded Websites

Custom code is necessary when your site needs to do something that existing software cannot accomplish. Done right, it can be very successful. When it’s not, you may have to rebuild your entire sire. Example: When a major WordPress and PHP update was required, and we all had to update sites, a neighboring web development company (and friend) reported having to rebuild multiple custom-coded sites. That was pretty shocking. During the same period, only two sites had plugins issues that had to be updated. No permanent code failures!

Good code shouldn’t fail.  You need to understand HOW the code will be written, and need so any developer can make changes. Most lay people won’t know the languages or how they will effect the code, so reviewing examples of existing custom-coded sites is smart. So is calling the client and discussing the experience. 

If have any questions, feel free to reach out. hello@private-tank.flywheelstaging.com