I’ve watched it evolve in that time from a blogging platform to a full-fledged content management system and more. There’s a reason it powers 25% of the websites on the internet.
Having said that, WordPress is not without its flaws. Anything that becomes insanely popular attracts problems, and WordPress is no exception. Anybody can call themselves a WordPress developer, even if they don’t know the fundamentals of web development.
Being so popular, WordPress also attracts a lot of hackers. They range from vandals who hack sites just because they can, to those with more nefarious motives. Combine that with outdated installations of the WordPress core and plugins, and you have a recipe for hacked sites and a lot of headaches.
Step One: Discovery
I take close look at the underlying code, as well as the key issues of performance, security and search engine optimization (SEO).
You might have a bloated theme, security holes, poor or non-existent SEO, or a combination of all three. I can’t know without examining how your site is built, configured and optimized.
Of course, there isn’t much point to any of this without knowing about you; your business goals, your values and your audience. I’m a firm believer that these are all deeply interconnected.
Step Two: Development
Once I have a clear idea of where the problems lie and what your goals are, I can get to work developing a roadmap. You might need some fine tuning and a plan to manage your site going forward. Or, you might want and need a full overhaul and redesign.
Either way, I prioritize development like this:
- Security issues, such as weak passwords, outdated core and plugins, or malware. Hacked sites are a major drag, and you want to fix any of these common problems as soon as possible.
- Performance issues that are causing your site to load slowly and your users to get frustrated and leave. This might entail fixing a poorly coded theme and setting up caching or moving to a better web hosting company. You can give your site a quick test here to see how it performs.
- Assess how well your current design, theme and set of features are meeting your needs. Your site may be fine, but chances are there’s room for improvement. If so, I work on building these or developing a plan to do so.
Step Three: Optimization
- Security: Since I fixed the high-priority issues in the previous stage, it’s time to dial it in. This means enforcing strong passwords and keeping software up-to-date. It also means running regular security scans and watching out for malicious traffic.
- Performance: At this point, your site should be performing well, so it’s time for some fine tuning. I like to see a PageSpeed score of at least 90%, and a load time of less than two seconds. Again, run your site through GTMetrix to see how it measures up.
- Search Engine Optimization: With the performance and coding issues fixed, it’s time to take a deeper look at your SEO. This includes both on-site (the structure and composition) as well as off-site (the links pointing to your site, citations, and profiles). Whether you’re a brick and mortar business or strictly online, SEO is as important as ever.
The bottom line is that your website is a tool, and it should be well-oiled and razor sharp. It’s supposed to serve you, not make you a servant. The solution is to fix it right and keep it that way. Which brings us to…
Step Four: Management
In fact, the entire internet only runs smoothly because there’s an army of sysadmins out there fixing stuff when it breaks. While it’s incredibly resilient, the internet is still composed of servers and routers and other complex gizmos that love to have nervous breakdowns.
While a website is far simpler, the same concept holds true. Servers go down, upgrades fail and weird things happen. All the more reason to keep a close eye on everything. Or better yet, because you really should be focussing on what you do best, hire me to do it.
I keep everything up-to-date, secure, running fast and serving your business goals. I’ll be on call to answer questions, plan strategy, add features and fix things that break. I will also send you a snazzy report every month detailing what I did, what I think we should do next, and how we’re doing compared to the previous month.
This builds continuity. It keeps your website in the front of your mind. It reminds you that I’m here to help.
Because the internet was designed to serve. It’s supposed to bring us together, help us transcend our differences and build community. Maybe that sounds hokey, but I honestly believe it. It’s why I got into this gig back in 1997, and it’s why I’m still passionate about it many years later.
The web is a wonderful place full of creativity, authenticity and humanity. It’s also full of the boring, mundane and impersonal. Why not shoot for the former?
Thanks for your interest and for reading this far. Check out my work related blog posts and testimonials from happy clients. Or if you have any questions, comments or you just want to say hi, hit me up with the handy form below.