WordPress Archives - Max Height Web Solutions
Category Archives for "WordPress"

How Long Does It Take To Make A Website?

How Long Does It Take To Make A Website 700 x 350

I am often asked, "How long does it take to make a website".

The time involved in creating a website can range anywhere from a few minutes to several months, depending on the complexity of the website AND the knowledge and experience of the website developer.

If the website has only a few pages with text and images, it can be launched in less than 1 hour.

Choosing the Best WordPress Plugins for Your Site

Max Height Web Solutions WordPress Plug-Ins

Are you ready to start adding plugins to your WordPress site? One of the main selling points of using WordPress for the creation of a website is the ability to easily tailor the site to your business needs through the use of WordPress plugins. There are thousands of WordPress plugins, designed by professional web developers and independent coders.

There are three pricing categories:

  • Free (completely free)
  • Free with optional paid add-ons
  • Premium (requires a fee)

Based on the overall needs of your business and the features that you want to add to your WordPress site, I can help you determine which plugins will work best for you and your business. Below, you will find what I refer to as my beginner “recipe” for building a WordPress site. While every business has different needs, the following are a good starting point; and as we come to understand your individual goals – we can adjust the ingredients.

The Best WordPress Plugins

  • WordFence
  • MainWP
  • Google Analyticator
  • Gravity Forms
  • WP SVG Icons
  • Widget Manager
  • Shortcodes Ultimate
  • WP Super Cache

WordFence Security

The security of your website is important, whether your website will be handling sensitive information or not. This is where WordFence Security becomes useful. It is a quality security plugin with additional features that can help speed up your site. WordFence will scan your entire website for any signs of malicious attacks or viruses. It also provides real-time protection against attackers, so that you get the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your website is thoroughly protected. In addition to security, WordFence includes Falcon Engine – which caches your WordPress site in order to deliver static webpages to your visitors, speeding the performance of your website.

MainWP

If you are going to have multiple WordPress sites, either for different branches within your company or for promoting various products or services, then having a plugin that allows easy multi-site management is a must. MainWP allows you to manage all your WordPress sites from a single dashboard. Handle theme and plugin updates, user management, content creation, and other WordPress features without having to login into different WordPress accounts.

Google Analyticator

Google Analytics is one of the most used analytical platforms for tracking visits to your website and the behavior of your visitors. With Google Analyticator, all of your stats can be accessed directly from your WordPress dashboard. It also allows you to automatically insert the necessary Google Analytics tracking code in all your pages and new posts.

Gravity Forms

How are your clients or customers going to contact you? Every website needs a contact form and Gravity Forms makes it simple to add them to any post or page on your site. It integrates with a large number of different WordPress plugins and has an easy to understand user interface.

WP SVG Icons

One of the biggest drains on website performance is the use of images. Unlike standard image files, SVG files contain a series of points that are read by a web browser to create a scalable image that does not degrade in quality when resizing. WP SVG Icons provides over 400 icons that you can safely without any worry of slowing down your website. Use the included icons or upload your own custom icons. Icons can be used as navigational buttons or to help provide more interest to a bland page or post.

Widget Manager

A major part of designing the layout of a WordPress site is the use of widgets. The WordPress theme that you have installed will determine where and how you can use widgets on your site. By adding Widget Manager, you have more control over how your widgets are used and which pages they appear on. Quickly remove specific widgets from a page or post or add a widget to an individual page.

Shortcodes Ultimate

Shortcodes are small lines of text contained inside brackets that let you instantly add one of your installed WordPress features to a specific part of a page or post. For example, with a shortcode, you can instantly add a pre-built contact form to a page. Shortcodes Ultimate provides you with an additional set of shortcodes to make the process of adding buttons, sliders, videos, or other features to any part of your WordPress website.

WP Super Cache

When adding an abundance of plugins to your WordPress website, you run the risk of slowing down your website. Part of the reason for this decrease in speed is the fact that every time a visitor goes to a new page, WordPress creates a dynamic webpage by gathering information from the website, the specific page the user is visiting, and all of the plugins and widgets that appear on the page. WP Super Cache can eliminate this problem by delivering a static HTML version of the page. WP Super Cache will cache all of your WordPress pages and create static HTML pages from them, for faster page loading times and a better user experience for your visitors.

By utilizing these plugins, you can get a lot more out of your WordPress site, without needing to shell out big bucks on expensive plugins. The majority of the plugins discussed are free to use, with premium upgrades for additional features; and they are some of the most useful WordPress plugins; though, each website is different. Working together, we can go over all of your business needs and goals to come to an understanding about what you want to get out of your website. Based on your criteria, we can come up with the perfect recipe for a spectacular WordPress website to showcase your business and start increasing your online presence.

WordPress vs Wix – A Comparison Review

Max Height Web Solutions - WordPress-vs-Wix

In this modern age, without a website to represent your business online, you are dead in the water. You need an online destination where existing and potential customers can learn more about your business, your products, and the services that you provide. If you have never owned your own website, this may appear challenging. Luckily, there are a couple of popular services out there that make it fairly simple for anyone to begin setting up their own business website. These options are WordPress and Wix – the two leading platforms for easy web design.

The most convenient way to compare these two web design solutions is to break them down into different categories. I’ll offer insight into both options, in each individual category, as we examine ease of use, available themes, additional features and plugins, and pricing.

As we look at both WordPress and Wix, I’ll give you an honest side by side comparison. Read through this article, compare the advantages and disadvantages of each, and then come to your own conclusion about which option will suit your business needs.

I must first disclose my own personal bias. I am a WordPress developer and have been building websites with WordPress since 2005. My preference for WordPress is based on flexibility, variety and quantity & quality of software options. That disclosure made, Wix is also a very good choice for a content management system. Let’s see how they compare.

Ease of Use

Can anyone use WordPress or Wix to create a website? Sure, the tools are fairly easy to understand; though, it may take a little bit of time to familiarize yourself with the controls and options, regardless of which service you choose.

WordPress offers an enormous amount of a features that some may find overwhelming. When editing your site, or individual web pages and posts, there is a text editor with a layout that is similar to using a word processing program. The learning curve to using WordPress comes from all of the options. You can add plugins, adjust your site layout, schedule posts for a later date, and so much more.

With Wix, you are given a drag-and-drop HTML editor that allows you to edit and rearrange the elements on your site without needing any coding experience. This is simple enough to use; though, it does not take long to turn a beautiful template in a large mess of elements. When using Wix, your best bet is to keep it simple – find a template that you like, adjust colors and background, and then start adding your content and business information.

Overall, Wix has a more user-friendly interface. That is not to say that WordPress is extremely difficult. There are thousands of articles and how-to videos, as well as support from WordPress.org, that will help explain every step of setting up your website.

Available Themes

Both WordPress and Wix provide you with a whole slew of themes to choose from. With WordPress, they are referred to as themes, while Wix prefers to call them templates. Either way, there are plenty of options.

Since WordPress is open source, there are thousands of developers just waiting to show off their WordPress skills. With WordPress installed you can look through thousands of free themes. If you want better assurance that your theme will function properly and be compatible with all your plugins, you might want to consider a premium theme. These can range in price from $30 to $200, depending on the amount of features built into the theme.

As with WordPress, Wix has free and paid templates. After creating an account, you can browse through a selection of templates for your website and instantly get to work editing your site. Also like WordPress, the free templates are slightly more limited in features than the paid templates.

Currently, WordPress has Wix outnumbered in the theme department. Wix likes to show off their flashy templates on their homepage, but the truth is – just about any template you find on Wix you can discover something similar on WordPress.

Additional Features and Plugins

When it comes to additional features or plugins, WordPress vastly surpasses Wix. WordPress has been around for over 15 years; and as an open-source platform – there are plenty of developers working away at creating useful or fun plugins. This is great for businesses looking for a specific feature, but you can run into the same problem mentioned about WordPress themes – not all plugins are going to be regularly updated or provide 100% compatibility.

Wix, on the other hand, is not an open-source website builder. All of the plugins and features available at Wix are handled through their own development team or companies that they hire to develop features. Also, most of these extra features require a fee to use. On the plus side, compatibility is hardly ever an issue with Wix.

Pricing

WordPress software, available from WordPress.org, is free to download and use. Getting started with Wix is free and as can be expected you get what you pay for. Regardless of which software you end up going with, the free part of creating your website does not last long.

WordPress itself is a free, open-source software that anyone can use, but you will need to purchase website hosting and a domain name. Hosting will vary, based on which company you choose, with an average of $6 to $10 per month. A domain name will run you about $10 to $15 dollars each year.

Wix.com has a pricing structure, designed to let you choose what level of service you want. With a free account, you are allowed to pick from the free website templates, create and edit your site, and that is about it. In order to use your own domain name (instead of sticking with the default – username.wix.com/your-business), you will need to signup for at least the cheapest plan – at just over $4 per month. From there, you can choose from 4 other plans, which can cost up to $24 per month.

It is technically cheaper to get started with Wix, but we haven’t even begun to cover the use of plugins and premium templates; though, the same can be said about WordPress. You can find many quality free plugins for WordPress; however, the most reliable WordPress plugins and themes often have a price tag. If you are desperate to get a website up and running at the lowest cost, Wix could be the answer. Just remember, you will be severely limited in customization options, when compared to setting up a WordPress site.

Hiring a Developer Versus Doing It Yourself

Even though both Wix and WordPress attempt to make the process of building and maintaining a website as easy as possible, many businesses still turn to professional developers and website designers to handle the creation of their site. There are many reasons for this. Some businesses would prefer to focus on other aspects of their business and allow a professional designer to ensure their site has an attractive layout and proper search engine optimization. Requiring a feature for your site that is specific to your business needs could also require the help of a developer.

With the ease of use that Wix provides, it is hard to imagine you needing to hand over the reigns to someone else. For WordPress users, hiring an expert can give you the peace of mind in knowing that your website is functioning correctly, if you are going to require a lot of plugins or other features, but if you have the time and are willing to do a little research as needed, then you should not really run into many problems creating your own WordPress site. Deciding to hire a developer over handling the project yourself really comes down to your personal goals and needs.

Final Thoughts

Should you choose WordPress for your website or Wix? Well, they both have their own advantages and disadvantages. WordPress has a massive amount of customization features, available plugins, and is part of a large developer community. The greatest strength of WordPress, customization, can also be a hindrance. With so many plugins and themes to choose from, it can be hard to determine which plugins or themes are fully compatible or receive regular support and updates. Wix, on the other hand, carefully controls which features are available. While you may be limited in options when compared to WordPress, there is more stable support and compatibility. Pricing for either service will depend on the add-ons you want for your website. Wix provides a more streamlined, drag-and-drop interface, while the WordPress dashboard may take some getting used to.

When choosing between these two services, you should start by thinking about your needs. Wix could be a great choice, if you want to build a basic website with limited features. In time, we may see Wix increase available customization options and plugins, but for now, WordPress is a smarter solution for those with specific needs.

If you want additional information about using either Wix or WordPress, feel free to leave me a message. I’ll get back to you quickly and would love to help you get your business off the ground.

My Journey With WordPress

By now, most people have heard of WordPress, with more than 200 million websites built using the platform – she has been around for awhile. My own relationship with WordPress goes back to 2006 – WordPress version 2.0. She was awkward and unattractive, but there was something charmingly simple about her. We dated for a bit, but I eventually left her for the elegance and controlled poise of HTML. By 2009 I had grown weary of the constant learning curve and complex maintenance of my HTML girlfriend. I had, however, invested a number of years with her and we had been through the trenches together. I had no intention of leaving her. I loved her… really!

Then I saw WordPress again. She was all grown up, her plugins were full and robust. Her themes were gorgeous and rich, her core was stable and secure. I was weak and in a moment of passionate abandon, I rebuilt my website with WordPress. When HTML found out, it was like the end of the internet. It was a huge emotional mess! Luckily, the three of us worked through this very difficult period and came out on the other side stronger and with more clarity than ever before. We were all maturing.

We now have an understanding. WordPress and HTML both need me and I need them. HTML and I work beautifully together to build sites when the client has no interest in managing content – they are completely happy to send me a text document or folder full of images and let me work my magic. WordPress and I offer a full palette of services for clients who want a more hands-on relationship with their website. We have learned how to make our unique relationship not only work but thrive!

Catering to My Clients Needs

Okay, metaphors aside, I am a freelance front-end designer and web developer. I appreciate the specific strengths and benefits of both WordPress and HTML. In fact, if it wasn’t for HTML and CSS I wouldn’t have the level of control and flexibility over WordPress that allows me to tweak and modify the themes and plugins.

After an initial discussion with a new client, I know which path I need to head down. I have found that they are always pleased that they have the option of a CMS (content management system) or a site built completely in HTML; however, with the advent of WordPress security plugins, like WordFence, and the evolution of its core, WordPress has become a more attractive and economical option for an increasing number of my clients. I now find myself using WordPress for about 9 out of 10 of the sites I build these days.

I now find myself using WordPress for about 9 out of 10 of the sites I build these days. Click To Tweet

My WordPress Recipe

Over the years, I have come up with a starting “recipe” for developing a WordPress website. The main ingredients can be divided into WordPress themes and WordPress plugins.

My most used themes include:
  • Vantage
  • WooThemes Storefront
  • MySiteMyWay
  • Customizr
The WordPress plugins that I tend to use include:
  • WordFence
  • WPMain
  • Google Analyticator
  • Gravity Forms
  • WP SVG Icons
  • Widget Manager
  • SEO By Yoast

Depending on the needs of my clients, I may substitute one ingredient for another. I listen to what my clients want for their website and tweak the recipe to create just the right taste.

Tweak the WordPress recipe to create just the right 'taste' for each client. Click To Tweet

WordPress has truly evolved over the years and I am happy to again embrace her as part of my website development strategy along with HTML and CSS. Informing my clients about the benefits of using WordPress allows me to better serve and assist them as we work together towards their goals.

If you would like to learn more about WordPress, for your own needs or the needs of a client, then take a moment to look at some of the resources available on my site or feel free to send me a message.

Why WordPress is So Popular

Are you looking for a better solution to market your business online? Then learn why WordPress is the answer for so many online businesses. Sure, you have probably heard of WordPress before, and more than likely you have visited websites that have been built using WordPress, but you may not really understand the appeal behind this free content management system (CMS).

WordPress got its start as a simple way for bloggers to quickly and easily get their articles published on the web. Over the years it has evolved to become so much more than just a blogging platform for sharing personal stories or pics of your kids. It is now the most used content management system on the internet. Over 200 million websites have been created using WordPress and it is used by some of the top companies across a range of industries.

Learn why WordPress is the answer for so many online businesses. Click To Tweet

Top Companies Using WordPress

[su_table]
Best Buy Zerox The New Yorker PlayStation
Beyonce Ebay Inc ESPN Nokia
Ford Fortune Time The Rolling Stones
Wall Street Journal Snoop Dog Reuters Sony Music
Dallas Mavericks Mozilla Larry King Live Harvard Business Review
[/su_table]

So, whether you want to sell and promote your products and services or just blog about your feelings and how many puppies Fluffy had last night, let me explain why WordPress should be your first choice.

Easy To Use

You don’t need to be a tech expert to create a WordPress site or manage your own content. If the kid that mows your lawn can setup a WordPress site to share his thoughts on the world, then you should have no problem using WordPress to promote your business and market your brand. The installation process is simple and the popularity of WordPress has led to a large online community full of helpful resources and tips. Anyone can get started with WordPress and the process of creating a website using this platform is quicker than with other solutions.

You don’t need to be a tech expert to create a WordPress site or manage your own content. Click To Tweet

Free Features and Options

Using WordPress is a cost-effective way to increase your online presence and reach more customers. There are lots of free features and options that you can use to make your site stand out or to add more features for your users. WordPress is an open source platform. This means that it is free to use, resulting in a large developer community that is constantly creating new WordPress plugins and themes.

Thousands of Plugins and Themes

Plugins and themes are the heart and soul of WordPress. Starting with a theme, you can begin creating a website that reflects your business. From there, you can browse through thousands of WordPress plugins, offering additional features, that can provide your visitors with a better user experience and help you tweak the look of your website.

Improved Search Engine Optimization

Creating a website is just one part of reaching out to online consumers. Once you have a website up and running, you need to get noticed. Luckily, WordPress has built-in features to help improve search engine optimization. There are also a number of WordPress plugins designed to help with SEO and increase your search engine rankings. WordPress makes it easier to ensure you are following good SEO practices – letting you focus on running your business and delivering helpful content to your potential customers.

Learn More About WordPress

Thanks for taking the time to find out why WordPress is so popular. My name is Jeffrey Atherton, a freelance web developer based out of Denver. If you want to learn more about WordPress, then check out my WordPress classes. I can teach you the basics, offer advice, and help you get your first WordPress site setup. Before you know it, you will be introducing yourself as a WordPress expert – increasing your online presence and reaching new heights while growing your business.