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The articles here will give you everything you need to plan, design, develop, market and maintain your website, if you have the time required – Enjoy.

WordPress Web Design Platform

What is a WordPress Web Design Platform?

 

Meanit Wordpress Web Design Platform NewsWordPress is a free and open-source web design platform based on PHP and MySQL databases to offer the current content management system. Basically, the WordPress web design platform is the single most popular website management system in the world.

The platform supports over 75 million websites or 30% of all business websites.

Because this is open source software, it is designed for anyone to use as a web design platform. It is continually being improved by hundreds, if not thousands of volunteers, who want to make this web design and blog platform better and better.

Released under a general public license, in 2003 by Matt Mullenweg and Mark Little as a fork from the previous b2/catalog platform, WordPress is enjoying 19 years of existence in 2022, as it launches WordPress version 6.0 in April 2022.

WordPress the Web Design Platform

Basically, if you install an iteration of the WordPress web design platform on your hosting you will have a complete website template system with a built-in word processor. The year 2018 saw the classic editor replaced with the Gutenberg editor. The new editor makes it visually easier for people to drag and drop blocks to create pages. Because the platform is free and open source it costs you nothing to buy. And you can also get free hosting if you allow advertisements to appear on your website. You only start paying when you look for custom hosting or to get rid of the advertisements or to have plug-ins added to the website.

WordPress Web Design Themes

Website Design WordPressThere are thousands of WordPress web design themes that have been created for the WordPress web design platform. Many of these design teams are free, but many more are available for a small price. We would recommend that you always pay for your theme and pay for ongoing support to ensure that your design theme continues to work smoothly.

Any developer who sells a theme on an annual license is agreeing to continually update that theme. In essence, you can change the design theme on your website without replacing any core code. And you can keep the same content on the website. You may have to tidy it up if you re-design using a new theme. But again the WordPress web design platform allows you to edit or customise the appearance in real-time with relative ease. The built-in customiser allows you to edit aspects of the page layout in real time.

WordPress Plug-ins

There are currently over 55,000 plug-ins available in the WordPress Repository for WordPress-specific plug-ins. These plugins allow you to create more functionality or add widgets or optimise the website or speed up the website or add advanced custom fields. Once again many of these plug-ins are free to use, but again we would recommend that you pay for your plug-ins. This is in order to ensure that the developer continues to support the plug-in and update it. This will ensure that it works smoothly with new updated versions of the WordPress platform and other plug-ins that happen to be installed.

The WordPress platform and many of the plugins are continually being updated to improve the platform or add additional security. A new update to the platform may add functionality, improve performance or enhance security.

WordPress Website Platform Security

Wordpress.TV Gutenberg EditorIronically every iteration of WordPress that you use is simply a copy of WordPress, so it is the single most popular multi-site platform in the world. For this reason and the fact that so many people are familiar with WordPress, it means that a lot of hackers would like to hack WordPress core.

Vulnerabilities have been found recently in 2020, 2017, 2016, and 2015 but also in 2007 and 2008. In 2017 a vulnerability was found that allowed any registered user of a website to modify any post or page, within that website, if the website was running WordPress 4.7 or older. Once the security vulnerability was identified WordPress developers created a high-priority patch to version 4.7.2 to address this problem.

New vulnerabilities may well be found either in the core code or in very popular plug-ins.

Such as Yoast, but as soon as they are discovered a team of people immediately step in to create a security patch and issue an update. It is critical that platform updates are done to avoid hacking and also to apply updates to any plug-ins being used on your website.
And obviously, if you have plug-ins or themes on your website that are not being used it will be in your interests to delete them in their entirety. Deactivate unused plug-ins or themes, as leaving them on your website is just creating bloat, that you do not need. And it also can create security vulnerabilities, so do remove themes and plug-ins that are no longer in use. Sign up for a WordPress Website Support Plan with a reputable web design agency, to ensure that your website is kept secure and working well. Top Tips on WordPress Security.

WordPress Web Developers

Whilst WordPress foundation owns the trademark to WordPress, many specialist WordPress developers make money by developing and/or selling plug-ins or design themes. Matt Mullenweg himself went on to create a company called Automatic in 2005, but it relinquished any claim to the WordPress trademark in 2010. This company makes money by selling advertising on any free WordPress site that it hosts. You can also pay for hosting with Automatic in order to hide the advertisements. They also sell design themes. For a Glossary of words or terms used in WordPress see either the official WordPress Glossary or  WP Glossary.net by Anders Noren

WordPress Website Design Costs

As mentioned earlier the WordPress web design platform is free and open source, so you can use this platform to create your own website you can even get free hosting. But realistically, if you’re looking to build a website you will need somebody who has the experience and can use these tools to create exactly what you want for your business. So you will need to invest in order to get the use of that same wealth of experience and pay for the time required for these experienced developers to build your website.

Experienced WordPress website developers typically charge based on the depth of this wealth of experience as this is what will add real value to your business. When you see a WordPress design agency that has produced 100+ websites, then you know you have found somebody with the right experience. To make sure that they are currently producing good quality websites have a look at their portfolio and contact two or three of their recent clients to find out if they were happy with the experience and the return on their investment.
WP Elevation

Note: Any kid over the age of 12 could have a little experience with WordPress, but it does not make them competent website developers. Look out for qualifications like WP Elevation to find people who understand how to use WordPress well.

Using WordPress – as an end user client or website owner

When WordPress was nothing more than a blogging tool it had a very simple interface that was easy to use and very intuitive. Nowadays WordPress is so much more than just a blogging tool and it comes with so many more options in terms of plug-ins and themes and functionality. Its core is still simple to use and we would recommend that you have your developers customise your dashboard or view so that your users only see the bits that they need to see, to do what they need to do.

Once this dashboard is reduced in complexity, WordPress all of a sudden looks much more simple to use and is much more intuitive. There is any amount of support on the WordPress.org website and videos on YouTube and WordPress.tv, in countess blogs, or on online learning platforms. You can meet other WordPress users at is and Wordcamps or WordPress Meetups. What is a WordCamp? See here for more.

The Future is WordPress

MEANit-Joomla-WordPressAs of today, it would appear that most developers have voted for WordPress which is why there are almost 60,000 plug-ins currently available for the platform. Obviously, WordPress is going to be the ‘go-to’ platform for the foreseeable future for any small or medium business. It’s worth noting that many enterprise websites are also using WordPress so companies like BBC and the New Yorker and MTV also use WordPress.

CMS Content Management Systems

What is a Content Management System? CMS Content Management Systems – there are loads of them. Drupal, Joomla, WordPress, Squarespace, Weebly, Wix and so many more. Many are not open Source, they are proprietary. That means if you invest time in a proprietary system, you are locked inside their platform. You may have limited functionality. Or you may want to use plugins that do not work with a proprietary system. Which is the best CMS Content Management System for you?

WordPress 5.0 was released on December 6th, 2018

The WordPress platform version 5.0 was released on December 6th, 2018. It was very much expected and ran a bit late, squeezing to 2018, but just about. It came with 15 significant updates and included the new Gutenberg editor. WordPress website owners do not have to update to version 5.0 immediately. Many people will click the update options and hope that all the various plugins will work well together. The date of the release just before the Christmas holidays will probably mean that a lot of people will have to work during the holiday period.

WordPress 6.0 release due in April 2022

The exact date of the release has not been finalised.

Do you want more traffic?

Hi, at MEANit we help 40 ‘Professional Services Businesses‘ to be effective online annually. Will your business be one of the 40 in 2022?

MEANit-Web-Design-Agency-Michael-MacGinty

Written by Michael MacGinty

Michael is a well known speaker, author and coach on how to use the web to grow a business. He is also WP Elevation certified as a Digital Business Consultant.
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A Web Presence Checklist, for the senior partner

12 things to oversee the web presence for your legal practice

LinkedIn including company profile page and personal profile for you and all employees. Post some articles about your services, giving some useful advice, sharing insights or sharing industry news. Connect with logical potentially good connections. No sales pitch, just hello with a short line to make the connection, like swopping a business card at a networking event. Read our Linkedin Guide.

Facebook – keep it a basic entry for the practice just to turn up in Facebook in search or get reviews. You could use it to get reviews from people who spend a lot of time on this platform. Or use Facebook to advertise your services, if it is right for your target market.

Website focusing on the services that you want to specialise in, the ones that make you the most margin and that you are happiest to deliver. Bear in mind that you can offer services that you do not personally have to deliver, but make you margin. You do not have to deliver you do not necessarily have to be involved in the process whatsoever. Who is responsible for your SEO Search Engine Optimisation? Read our Guide.

Include SSL – This is the little padlock that appears on the top left corner, to indicate the site is safe. This is not just for eCommerce websites.

Google Business Profile – Have you got one? Is your Google Business Profile profile populated, as in photos, service details, opening hours, blog items, reviews. Independent Google Reviews are fuel for your practice. Get as many as you can. Remember to reply to every single one of them. These are happy clients or people who are in need of attention. Read our Guide.

NAP – Include nap NAP everywhere that you write your address, search Google to see where you appear and ensure the NAP is exactly the same everywhere, including the Eircode.
Do any Google search of your name in an ‘Incognito window’ to see what people see on their computer when they do a search of your company. Whilst you’re there also do a search for solicitors in your town or area. Also do a search for the legal services that you want to promote in your area. Such as conveyancing in Dundalk or conveyancing solicitors in Dundalk.

Recruitment – Your website can also be used for finding new team members, rather than going through the expense of recruitment agencies. This tactic would generally be known as being a part of your overall content marketing strategy. This is where are you create content on your website that will attract people who are looking for certain things. Whether that be a specific legal service or a job in a legal practice that looks attractive to them.

Google Page Insights is a tool that is free and will give you an idea of the speed of your website. Google gives a lot of weight to a fast loading website, especially on a mobile view. Websites are being measured by Google more and more for their mobile view as a key metric.

Google analytics is also free and will give you an idea of the number of people travelling to your website visiting your website on a monthly basis. Use the overview to see how many people visit your website on a monthly basis to see if it’s going up or down. Google Analytics is a great tool but having a high numbers visit your website does not guarantee a conversion to a customer. In order to get conversions you continually need to add content and optimise content and compete with whoever your competitors are. A very simple search for a legal practice in your area will show you who is ranking number 1, 2 or 3. These are the competitors or people you’re competing with, so you need to be better than them. Read our Guide.

Google – With Google Ads you can spend a fortune easily. So if you want to use this platform, get to understand it or engage a specialist. It can be very useful in the short term or to use whilst you are working on your website and SEO. Read our Google Ads Guide.

Conversion. However, bear in mind even if you are number one and you get click through so people visit your website when they land on a page on your website. You have to work on the content in order to get them to convert from visitor to customer. This is your user experience as in UX through your User Interface referred to as the UI.

Reports – Ensure someone is producing a monthly report to measure the numbers. As Peter Drucker said “What gets measured gets managed — even when it’s pointless to measure and manage it, and even if it harms the purpose of the organisation to do so”. Ensure you get a Google Analytics report. And ideally have a report created, so that you can see the numbers at a glance.

Conclusion:
As a senior partner you do not need to do all of this work. This is not what you’re qualified to do and could be way below your paygrade. Unless you engage someone who can deliver a high return in the long term and needs to be well compensated in the short term. Get a proper Digital Marketing Plan drawn up.

However, somebody has to do the work. It would be good if you could use some of these tools to see if the person, practice manager or web agency is doing a good job with your investment.
The bottom line is the practice should be kept busy. And ideally be able to recruit enough staff to deliver services. As a senior partner if you allocate a half hour every month to review these basic reports, you will then be in a position to see what is being done on your behalf.

Read the monthly reports from your Digital marketer. And if needs be, have a conversation about what needs to be improved. The Digital marketer will need a budget to do the search engine optimisation or create graphics for the website. And possibly doing advertising on LinkedIn or Facebook or anywhere where your potential customers are hanging out. Without sounding like an ambulance chaser you can have your content found when people do a search for chiropractor or osteopath or bad back or medical negligence. Get ahead of the curve.

How much time, hassle and money would it save you to have any and all advertising done online through your own website by a competent specialist agency?
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