In the early 2000s, WordPress was created as a platform for bloggers. Today, it’s one of the most popular web development frameworks in use, and there are good reasons for that. It’s relatively easy to get up and running with a WordPress site, it’s scalable, and it offers many plugins and themes to extend its functionality. That’s probably why it still powers 43% of all websites on the Internet, representing a market share of 60.8% of the CMS market. And with powerful integrations like WooCommerce, 14.7% of the world’s top websites have been built on WordPress.
However, people still think of WordPress as only a blogging platform or a simple website builder. Many website owners find themselves stuck at a certain level with their WordPress development, unable to take their sites to the next level. This is especially true if no coding skills are involved.
This blog post will explore ways to push your WordPress development to the next level and reveal how to build next-level experiences on a WordPress technology stack. So if you’re feeling limited by your current WordPress website setup, read on. We’ll look at different strategies for making the most out of a WordPress site, notably how to use plugins and third-party services to create a more robust and flexible website.
Benefits of using WordPress to run your website application
Using WordPress as a framework to develop your website is an accessible and scalable option for any company. Let’s look at some benefits that most website applications can take advantage of.
One of the great things about WordPress is that it’s incredibly flexible. You can use it for everything from a simple blog to a complex e-commerce site. The vast array of plugins, themes, and templates available makes it easy to extend the functionality of your site in any direction you want.
Several ready-made solutions are also available for common website features like forums, membership systems, and social networks. So if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for in a plugin or theme, there’s a good chance someone has already created a solution you can use.
In addition, WordPress is open source, which means that you’re not limited by what the software can do out of the box. If you have the necessary skills, you can customize any aspect of your site to achieve the exact results you want. Keep up with the latest design trends, such as mobile responsive design and React-based, gridded frontend, and more.
Another significant benefit of using WordPress is that it’s very SEO-friendly. The codebase is clean and well-structured, which makes it easy for search engines to index your site. Several plugins are also available to help you optimize your site for search engines. Yoast SEO is a popular option that can help you with everything from keyword research to optimizing your website’s title and meta tags.
The blogging capabilities also make it easy to keep your site’s content fresh, filling it with all the relevant keywords you need to rank high in search results.
Another important consideration when choosing a platform for your website is security. WordPress is a very secure platform, especially if you keep your site up to date with the latest software version. There are also security plugins available to help harden your site against potential attacks, such as Sucuri and WordFence. In addition, WordPress can integrate with Cloudfare and other firewall systems.
Of course, no platform is 100% secure, and there are always risks involved in running a website. But WordPress is as safe as any other big platform out there, and it’s definitely something you should consider when making your decision.
WordPress is accessible for businesses of all sizes. You can start virtually for free with a shared hosting account and a free WordPress theme. And as your business grows, you can scale your site accordingly. If you need more features or storage, you can simply upgrade your hosting plan or add more plugins.
More and more people are using their mobile devices to access the Internet. Nearly 60% of all web traffic now comes from mobile devices, so it’s more important than ever for your site’s front-end to be user-friendly and look good on mobile. There’s no excuse for having a site that’s not optimized for mobile these days.
Fortunately, WordPress is very mobile-friendly right out of the box. The platform is responsive by design, meaning your site will look great on any screen size. You can even preview your site’s look on different devices before publishing it.
Several plugins are also available to help you further optimize your site for mobile. These plugins can help with everything from compressing images to caching your pages for faster loading times.
There’s no shortage of resources available for WordPress users. From tutorials to support forums, you’re sure to find answers to your questions. The platform has a large and active community of developers and users who are always willing to help out.
One of the best things about WordPress is that it is open source. Thousands of people are working on improving the software all the time. As a result, WordPress is constantly evolving and adding new features, essentially acting as an ecosystem on its own.
Standard for developers
Finally, outsourcing your development needs is always an option if you don’t have the time or resources to do it yourself. Because WordPress is so popular, there’s no shortage of developers who are familiar with the platform. This makes it easy to find someone to help you with your project, whether you need a few tweaks here and there or a complete custom site.
You’ll find agencies entirely dedicated to WordPress development and individual freelancers who specialize in the platform. No matter your needs and budget, you can find a developer who can help.
Now that we’ve gone over some of the basics, let’s take a look at some of the more advanced features that WordPress backend has to offer. These features can turn a bland website into a genuinely next-level experience.
A Library of advanced plugins offers infinite possibilities
Most of these features are available through plugins, which is one of the great things about WordPress. You can install these plugins with just a few clicks, and they don’t require any knowledge of HTML or any programming language to use.
Plugins are available for just about everything you can imagine, and new ones are constantly released. Some of the more popular plugins include:
Elementor: This plugin is a powerful drag-and-drop page builder that lets you create custom designs without any coding knowledge. Elementor is one of the most popular WordPress plugins available, with over 4 million active installs. As an all-in-one solution, Elementor allows you to create custom pages, posts, and even WooCommerce products without touching a single line of code, facilitating a seamless workflow. The widgets included in the plugin cover everything from forms and sliders to maps and social media integration.
WooCommerce: If you want to sell anything on your WordPress site, then you need WooCommerce. This plugin turns your site into a fully-functional online store, complete with inventory management, shipping options, and payment processing. There’s also an option for digital, affiliate, and subscription-based products. WooCommerce is completely customizable, so you can design your store to match your brand. And because it’s built on WordPress, it integrates seamlessly with all the other plugins and themes you use.
Google Analytics: Google Analytics is a must-have for any website, and there’s a plugin that makes it easy to set up. This plugin tracks your website traffic, engagement, and conversions in real-time. You can also use it to create custom reports and goals. Simply connect your site to Google Analytics and start tracking your progress. The plugin even comes with a dashboard widget to see your website’s performance at a glance.
Custom plugins and development
Although WordPress has a vast library of plugins available, there are times when you need something that’s completely custom. In these cases, you’ll need to hire a WordPress developer to create a plugin specifically for your site.
A custom API integration, for example, might require a custom plugin. If you need a custom plugin, make sure to hire a qualified developer who is experienced in WordPress. It will ensure that the plugin integrates seamlessly with your site and doesn’t cause any security risks.
Functionality and optimizations that enhance the user experience
User experience is everything when it comes to website design. If your site is hard to use or navigate, people will leave and never return. Before implementing a thousand different bells and whistles, ensure your site is easy to use and provides a good user experience.
Some things you can do to improve the user experience on your WordPress site include:
Use a responsive design: Your site will look good on all devices, from desktop computers to smartphones.
Use clear and concise language: Write in a way that’s easy to understand, even for people unfamiliar with your industry.
Use high-quality images: People are visual creatures, so make sure your site is full of beautiful images.
Use whitespace: Don’t overcrowd your pages with too much information. Use whitespace to break up your content and make it easier to read.
Large, well-known websites developed on WordPress
Still not convinced that WordPress can handle your tech stack? Here are some big brands that are already using WordPress and the standout features they’ve implemented to provide an incredible UX:
The New York Times
One of the most respected news sources in the world, The New York Times, uses WordPress for its blogs. They have a proprietary plugin that allows multiple journalists to work on an article simultaneously, which is a huge time-saver. The Times also uses WordPress’s gated content feature to require readers to subscribe before viewing certain articles. This helps to increase their subscriber base and generate revenue.
The embodiment of high fashion and sophistication, Vogue also uses WordPress to power its website. The site features text overlays on images, which gives the site a sleek and modern aesthetic. They also translated the print magazine feel of their site by adding a “page turning” animation when you scroll down. This makes for a unique user experience that feels luxurious and high-end.
The Walt Disney Company
Entertainment is constantly changing, so The Walt Disney Company needs a website that can keep up. The responsive header menu reacts to your cursor, with the background fading in and out as you move your mouse. The site also uses a host of fun widgets that update in real-time, like a tracker for their stock value.
The popular TED Talks use WordPress to deliver their message to the world. They have thousands of videos to index and organize, which would be a challenge for any CMS. WordPress makes it easy to embed their videos and create a beautiful, responsive website that scales to accommodate all of their content.
As one of the most popular gaming consoles in the world, PlayStation needed a website that could keep up with its demand. The site uses WordPress for its blog and has turned it into a fully-fledged content hub. The blog features podcast episodes, news, game reviews, and even exclusive interviews with PlayStation developers. It’s all in one place, without feeling cluttered or overwhelming.
If you’re ready to scale, you don’t need to abandon WordPress to do it. SWARM can help. Our team of developers and strategists has extensive experience building impressive websites on WordPress and providing ongoing support. We can help you take your website to the next level without sacrificing usability or user experience.
SWARM partners with our clients, resulting in long-lasting relationships and award-winning digital products. We take a strategic approach to every project, ensuring that your website will not only look good but also achieve your business goals.
Contact us today if you’re ready to start your next big project.