Source: Adriano Gasparri

Source: Adriano Gasparri

One of the greatest design benefits of using WordPress is how easy it can be to change themes completely. If you don’t know what I mean by that, consider a time when you’ve gone to a WordPress blog you frequent and noticed a significant change in the appearance or way the site works. A theme is basically the design and layout of the site or blog you’ve been following.

There are thousands of free customizable themes for WordPress available, and even more if you are willing to pay for a professional looking skin, and WP is built for these to be almost interchangeable – almost being the operative word.

When you’ve been running a blog through WP for a while, you accumulate a number of widgets and scripts that are used to improve the performance of your site as a whole. They can run from widgets used for tracking and ads to RSS feeds and an assortment of other additions you’ve made to your blog after you chose the theme you are working to replace or change.

When you change themes, it isn’t uncommon for the new themes to run into problems displaying or running these widgets you’ve built int your site. The standard WP widgets like Archives and Pages are almost always safe, but any special scripts for fighting spam, editing sidebars, and anything else that doesn’t come standard can become break down, bogging down or derailing your site.

OnextraPixel writer Jay Adrianna created a list of 15 things designers or site owners need to do when undertaking a change of themes. If you follow every step, all of your widgets, scripts, and plug-ins will remain safe and sound, and you’re new look will be flawless.

Nothing really SEO related on this one.  I stayed up to figure it out (and because my hosting apparently needed to reset the server, yay).  It appears someone from Qatar of all places thought they needed to provoke my YARPP plugin with a bug.  It kind of hosed my blog for a day.  Sadly, I did not notice until tonight.

But now it is fixed.  And with the magic of my web skills, any visits from that particular IP range will now be rejected.  Hopefully not a lot of people in Qatar will really need my services urgently.

It did annoy me because I lost some sleep to fix it.  But I am pleased because I am victorious over the silly attacker.  I might need to contact the plugin designer to have him do an update to fix that bug.  At any rate – blog, live ON!

When it comes to web design, one of the biggest issues is figuring out how to maintain a web site after it’s been completed.  The resolution to this issue is usually what’s called a CMS (content management system).  The trick is finding one that will work and is easy to update with.

When we’ve done Tulsa website design in the past, we’ve tried different approaches to the CMS.  But it’s come down to using one that’s very solid and many people are already familiar with.  And that is WordPress.

WordPress comes with standard templates (known as themes in WordPress) and such, although for web design you’ll want to create your own.  Creating a customized template is much like creating a custom website design, just within the WordPress framework.

The results can be quite good.  We have a Tulsa roofing client that we built their site with WordPress.  They were thrilled that when we were finished they were able to make changes on their own (without needing to call us for help) with this CMS.  It made things easier for both us and them.  It was a little extra work at the beginning for us, but in the end it saved a lot of extra work for us and money for them.

The benefits are several:

  • Lots of plugins to choose from that make putting cool add-ons easier
  • Very easy to edit content, good for both the designer and client
  • Easy visibility from the search engines (Google loves WordPress)
  • Adding or removing pages is quick
  • Editing is done all online, no need to mess with FTP shenanigans and such

There are a couple of bad things, though:

  • There’s no real “dev” area you can easily put together that I’ve found, aside from not linking to all your pages until you’re live
  • WordPress does need to be updated regularly to keep on top of security issues and such
  • Sometimes WordPress can have technical problems that aren’t always easy to solve

If these bad things are worth the risk to you, then using WordPress for website design might be worth trying out, especially if you’re trying to find a good CMS to use.