As a professional web designer, I build sites to high standards, with effective visuals, responsive (mobile friendly) and search-engine friendly coding, and user-friendly navigation. That includes my simple website solutions.
Between those and my e‑commerce sites though, there are growth-focused sites that don’t take online payments, but still have features that help them outperform simpler sites as online advertising tools. These are what I call professional sites.
The distinguishing feature of these sites is that they are built to let you add unlimited pages of content. Search engines favour larger sites, with frequently-updated content, and good content attracts backlinks from other sites, which search engines absolutely love. This is the essence of content marketing.
If you want to run a blog, or a news page, you need some sort of content management system, or CMS. A CMS — and the database and systems that enable it — can let you do a lot of other things too, like run membership sites or add new pages to your site menus on the fly. So that’s what these professional websites provide.
Editable websites need security maintenance, so I build these on my Pro Hosting Plus package.
Business Sites — Professional Blogs & CMS Websites
There are quite a few blog and CMS platforms, but the most famous of all is WordPress. Many designers use nothing else. Others won’t touch it, preferring systems like Joomla, Drupal, CraftCMS, OctoberCMS or CMSMadeSimple. I’m happy adapting to a range of systems, but WordPress is usually the most cost-effective and flexible default.
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 quite unique, there’s probably a WordPress plugin for them.
WordPress also lets programmers write bespoke plugins to provide features that existing plugins don’t. “WordPress developers” like me can also dig into the code when things go wrong. It’s worth checking, though — some use the title just to mean they build sites with WordPress, but can’t actually code.
Clubs, charities, events organisers and professional associations often want to share certain content only within their community. Some charge subscriptions for this, whilst others are free, but all such membership sites need a system to let people register, login and manage their on-site profiles. Some run forums to let members chat with each other, or allow members to publish content either publicly, or within specific groups.
Such 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 though, so security and performance concerns are even more vital for this type of site.