When you run a business building and supporting WordPress websites, you see just about every type of website you can imagine, and one thing is almost always the same. The simpler websites are usually the better ones, especially with WordPress.
One of the strengths of WordPress is that is has a powerful plugin library that will allow you to extend the core functionality of the platform far beyond what comes with it.
But that can also be a weakness, because the more pieces of software, addons, plugins, etc that you use, the more complex, insecure, slow, heavy, and difficult to maintain your website becomes, and all of that adds up to headaches and lost business.
I won’t name any names, but every few months I get contacted by a business owner who is in over their head because someone built them an overly complex website with dozens of bloated and unnecessary plugins that bog down their webserver, are security vulnerabilities, and don’t work well when you try to update them. These websites might do some “cool” things, but they rarely create good user experiences, especially if they’re slow. It happens all too often.
Then what happens is the website ends up performing poorly, and those pieces of software have to be unraveled, updated, and replaced with things that will work and can be maintained – and that all takes a lot of time and effort.
A Simple Example of What to Do
Take the Louisville Web Nerds website as an example. It’s less than 20 core pages, but also boasts some very useful business features, such as secure email forms, the ability to accept credit cards, automated backups, Google Reviews access, server-side caching, a grid and block system, image compression, spam and break-in protection, a fully-functional blog, and more, but is built in a very lightweight manner that is easily maintainable. It uses no more than 12 plugins to do all of this and is under 100 MB in size.
It also explains all of our services in simple, plain English, and aims to keep a conversational tone. Text length is long enough for search engines to benefit from, but short enough for users to not become overwhelmed. Content is laid out in a simple and easy-to-digest manner. And the path for the user to find what they need and get in touch with someone is very clear.
Sure, it’s probably not perfect and could be improved, but it’s a very effective website, and is built in an incredibly simple manner.
What Not to Do
Again, I’m not here to call anyone out, so I won’t go into examples, but on the flip side of that, I’ve seen websites that are an equal number of pages and have less functionality, but because a wreckless designer tried to get cute and built things in a poorly optimized manner, they’re 10x the size, slow, bogged down, insecure, and unfriendly to use.
I’ve even seen websites get taken down by web hosts because they were too complex for their servers to support.
This typically happens with inexperienced designers trying to earn quick cash on the side, or people who are learning as they go. It’s fine. That’s how some people start (myself included at one point in time), but before you choose someone to build your website, you should make sure they’re experienced, have skin in the game, and are going to be there to support the website down the road.
On the web, size matters, complexity matters, attention-to-detail matters, and understanding how the Internet works matters. If a website is not friendly to use, it’s not likely to convert into meaningful leads for your business.
The Louisville Web Nerds Approach
When we sit down to create a website, we make sure to discuss the key features needed with the business owner. Then, we build those in the most efficient way possible for the website to run smoothly without using bloated and poorly supported plugins. These are typically things like contact forms, image galleries, slideshows, pricing grids, document downloads, login systems, etc.
From there, we build simple and easy-to-understand content using a secure and professional framework and themes that are easily kept up-to-date. Unless there is a strong need, we aim to build all of the content using only the most current version of the WordPress core editor and native WordPress features such as menus, widgets, and the built-in CSS customizer. This avoids future situations where out-of-date builder software becomes unsupported.
Then we add a few pieces of software in the background that speed up the site, keep it secure, and help to make sure it stays updated easily over time. And if there is ever a problem with any of it, we’re not going anywhere. We’ll be there to help fix it with our monthly support plans.
It’s actually often far easier to build or rebuild a website from scratch because this process is so refined and simple. This is one of the reasons our pricing is kept so competitive because there is no unnecessary bloat in our projects. They are kept very simple.
If you’re looking for a well-built and simple website for your business, get in touch with us. We’d be happy to help.