I’ve said it many times to businesses that I have worked with at the Polaris Centre- “a website should never be static” and “making regular changes to the look and feel of the site can be healthy for traffic”. I acknowledge that website refreshes can be costly and time consuming but if you are using a content management system with a theme or template system (like WordPress) then changing the look and feel of a site could be a fairly simple process. So to put my talk into action, I spent a week or so over the Christmas and New Year “quiet” period to work on a new look and feel with a new WordPress theme for the Polaris Centre website.
Rather than spending up big on bespoke design (which is what our previous site involved), I really wanted to take the path that is a common course of action for small businesses like thosewith which I am often working. The core facets to the refresh are:
· Don’t reinvent the wheel regarding our content, largely use existing images and words (but reduce the use of stock images)
· Use a purchased premium theme to keep costs down and reflect the choice of many businesses (I chose the Enfold theme which I purchased from Themeforest)
· Ensure flexibility for further changes and refreshes by choosing a flexible theme
· Build and test the site locally and then upload the new theme and content to the hosting after approval
· Have a new content focus on programs, calls to actions and usability
· Incorporate our events in an understandable and easily navigable way
I fully understand that WordPress has its detractors (just mentioning WordPress to some of my mates who are hardcore developers is likely to result in a lengthy hopeless debate) and as with any content management system it comes with its fair share of risk (just recently there was a major hack reportedly effecting over 100,000 sites). Having said that, this process has made me feel confident to continue to recommend it to startup businesses as a low cost and relatively easy way to set up a web presence. I still believe that WordPress is a very user friendly and largely quite intuitive tool.
It’s important to note that I do not think that “off the shelf” WordPress themes are the best solution in many scenarios. Also, I strongly believe that beautiful, bespoke graphic design and a focus on user experience is what is essentially needed for the most memorable sites. The important and creative work of web developers and graphic designers is essential for an original and beautiful site. For many businesses, those bespoke sites and creative skills are out of reach due to the cost factor and the current economic climate and a new WordPress theme can provide the necessary elements to get a business up on line.
I welcome feedback on the site and hopefully it will continue to grow and improve over the coming year.
If you are looking for some advice on your business’s web presence, take a look at the new Digital Growth Program page and register to get your free Digital Audit or Digital Start meeting booked in.