Why do I make a distinction between professional websites and basic sites? Well, because basic sites aren’t the effective online advertising tools most people want. For that, you need:
- Effective visual design — Layout, typography, images and colour use all affect sales
- “Responsive” web design — Mobile-friendly layouts that adapt to different screen sizes
- User-friendly navigation — Because “arty” menus that hide content just don’t work
- Search-engine friendly code — Even the prettiest site will fail if people can’t find it
- Great, frequently-updated content — Because content is king.
As a professional web designer, the first four are included in my “basic site” solutions. So it’s the last point that really sets professional websites apart.
Professional websites outperform basic sites in search engines. That’s because visitors prefer sites with lots of quality, up-to-date content. This is the essence of content marketing. So, professional websites provide a Content Management System (CMS) and blog to let you easily add unlimited pages to your site.
Business Sites — Professional Blogs & CMS Websites
A blog is a list of short posts that appears as a single page. Blog posts are great for social media sharing. They make the third-party social media platforms work for you, rather than the other way around.
Also, visitors don’t expect every blog post to be a comprehensive “evergreen” article. So it’s far easier to keep your site active with quick news updates than to craft content for standalone pages.
Finally, creating and deleting pages causes errors that hurt search rankings. So a blog helps you avoid that by shifting outdated content into archives. That way, it’s less obvious to visitors, but can still be found by search engines.
WordPress powers over 30% of websites and almost 60% of all CMS sites. That’s because it’s extremely user friendly and flexible. Thousands of plugins let WordPress (WP) provide advanced e‑commerce, book appointments, run online communities and more. Unless the features you need are unique, there’s probably a WordPress plugin for them.
WordPress also lets true developers (programmers) like me write bespoke plugins to provide features that existing plugins don’t. So, some designers use nothing else.
Still, it’s worth noting that some self-styled “WordPress developers” can’t write a line of code. Don’t take that title for granted. Ask if they can code. If not, they aren’t developers, and won’t be much help when things go wrong.
…and other professional website platforms!
Whilst I’ve been a keen WordPress developer since 2004, I have also built many other types of site, starting in 1996. I had been programming for almost 20 years before that. So, yes, I can code — and I focus on using the best tool for the job. For professional websites, that’s often WordPress. When it isn’t, I’ll either suggest a better platform, or develop a bespoke web application.
Editable websites need strong security, so I build these on my Pro Hosting Plus package.
Community sites are a great way to support a club or promote a cause. Unlike blogs, these sites aren’t limited to a few staff logins. Storing member details makes security and performance even more vital, though. So I build community websites on my Business Hosting Plus package.