We here at Drew, get asked a lot of questions around the wonderful world of WordPress. Our favourite content coach, Kate Foster, interviewed our CEO, Elle Moss to demystify WordPress.
What is WordPress?
WordPress, in a nutshell, is a CMS (content management system) website platform. It started out life as a blogging tool, but it’s so so much more. Believe it or not, some of the biggest companies in the world use WordPress, from HSBC to Sony Music and MTV. If you Google ‘Wordpress’ you are somewhat bombarded with the fact it’s a FREE platform, however, what I’ve learnt of the years is ‘free’ is never actually ‘free’...
If it’s free, why do we need Drew?
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of ‘free’ WordPress Themes out there, a theme is how a website looks, see the enormous amount of them here: https://wordpress.com/themes. They tend to be titled by sector, i.e. portfolio, consultancy, publication etc.
Free? Great. That sounds really appealing right? Not so fast, there. Because themes usually come with a whole host of elements you simply don’t need, they can be a mindfield to un-pick, often made more difficult due to sloppy code. Why does that matter? Well, sloppy code can have a negative impact on your all important SEO. There can also be spammy advertising which is hard to remove.
The worst thing about a free theme is the lack of support - you can feel somewhat abandoned once you’ve selected your theme and hit your first roadblock, and that can make you feel confused very quickly—which is beyond frustrating as, let’s face it, time is money. And this is the advantage of working with us at Drew for your WordPress site; we’ve created hundreds. Over the past 13+ years we are known for being not suppliers, but partners to our clients.
Ah, OK, I get that ‘free’ isn’t the be all and end all. So what’s the difference between a WordPress website I build myself and one that Drew builds?
We build from scratch. We look at the vision of your company, your customers’ journey through your site and the all important call-to-actions to ensure your users have a smooth experience.
No two websites are the same. At our core, we are a creative agency, so the design is always exceptional. We build for the future to allow you to iterate as your company/product/brand flexes and grows. And most importantly, we ensure the websites are easy to update, by our clients, allowing them to keep the site content fresh, which always helps the SEO. But if you do need help with content, you need Kate (queen of content through print and digital - reach out to her here)!
So what’s it like to work with Drew on a WordPress website?
It should be an enlightening, exciting experience! Through our customised workshop process the heavy lifting is carried out by us, not the client. Transparency is key here. So, following the technical specifications captured from the workshop, we create a Trello board of actions that our clients have access to, meaning that expectations are managed. This removes any doubts and ensures are clients know where they are on the journey—from a blank screen to launch.
We have a thorough ‘step-by-step’ process from the UX (how a user travels through the website) wireframing, to the UI (design, that encourages the user to enjoy the content), the front end developers then get to work (HTML) with the back-end setting up the technical bits (servers etc).
We use a ‘staging’ site (access through a secure url) allowing us to build the site, make changes, and upload that all important content, prior to pushing to production (otherwise known as ‘going live’). When you push to production, there can often be previously unforeseen issues or bugs that didn’t exist on staging. For that reason, we only push on Wednesdays and Thursdays, which allows our developers ample time to fix the bugs within working hours. Nobody likes working (or a website that isn’t working) at the weekend!
All of our developers are happy working alongside our clients, speaking in plain English and rather brilliantly making the illogical, logical. They are mostly based in our London office, not half-way across the globe, giving our clients the reassurance we can react quickly.
How long does it take?
That’s a tricky one to answer because every site is different. However, given our agile approach we’d expect an MVP (Minimum Viable Product, think ‘website coming soon’ holding page with contact details and an email sign-up) to be up within 1-2 weeks, followed by a fully fledged website in around 6 weeks. It totally depends on the number of stakeholders, we’d always recommend there is one project owner—the person who has the final call on changes.
I still reckon I could put together a WordPress site myself....
Of course, and we won’t stand in your way, but it’s a complicated world and if you fail to keep your WordPress site up-to-date then you could run into problems like cybersecurity breaches—scary, damaging and expensive to fix.
Added to which, there are plugins for just about anything you can imagine on WordPress, which can seamlessly add fantastic features, from CRM services (Salesforce) to LiveChat and Gravity Forms. However, plugins need to be maintained too and if the prior plugin developer/s should vanish, you’re left with an unsupported, dated and quite frankly useless plugin.
So just how good can a WordPress website be?
They can transform a company! Our clients STL Partners, were able to cut the time taken to add a new user from 45 mins to 45 seconds with the WordPress site we developed for them— which was a major step forward! We helped Fund Marketing Network select a number of Plugins that add all-important functionality to their site. And More than my past exists to inspire, challenge perception and share stories of amazing people, which we know it will do very soon with its new WordPress site, which is currently an MVP (or perhaps it’s gone live, dependant on when this post goes live!)
You’ve convinced me. What do I do next?
We are known as being super nice, approachable people here at Drew. We’re problem solvers and solution providers, so simply drop us a line, or even better pop in for a cuppa! Email firstname.lastname@example.org