Confessions of a WordPress Ninja
To WordPress or Not To WordPress
First things first. What is a WordPress Ninja? I would have to say that I define a WordPress Ninja as being anyone who sets out to design a website using the WP platform while trying to keep it from LOOKING like it was built using that platform. It is hard to argue against the fact that many folks build websites that simply scream WORDPRESS. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does seem to show a lack of originality from an overall creativity aspect.
Now, that being said, does one have to always be successful in hiding the fact that their sites were built in WordPress? No, just like in the movies, ninjas do not always complete their mission. Sometimes they are stopped whether by chance or by an impediment that they never considered. It can be the same when building a site. I have been working on websites where they were looking less and less canned only to have the client request a change that puts it right back into the “WordPress in a box” category.
So what do you do with sites like these? You know; the ones that resist those aesthetic changes that could really help to set them apart? The key can sometimes lie in how you present them to clients. When presenting mockups, you should try offering two choices neither of which have the standard boxy website appearance. Presenting a single mockup can leave the client feeling open to offering a plethora of suggestions. Offering two or three on the other hand can leave them feeling as if they must stick with one of those choices.
This may sound counter-intuitive, right? The key here is to remember that the old adage about the customer always being right is WRONG. It’s our job to help educate the client enough to understand that what they need is often a great deal different than what they want. This can be especially so for web design.
Working within the WordPress platform offers a great deal of flexibility. Unfortunately, many people hear the name WordPress and automatically assume that someone is trying to offer them a blog. In truth, the WordPress platform doesn’t have to incorporate a blog! It is a very strong Content Management System (CMS) that can offer a great deal of power to static sites just as easily as it can to blog sites. I always find it funny (strange, not ha-ha) when someone asks me why in the world they would need a blog site. SEO
Never mind the fact that blogs are continually increasing in power. That WordPress is so SEO friendly should be a key in making the decision to go with that platform when building your site. I have seen innumerable sites – ecommerce sites, static company sites, event planning sites, and more – and helped to build or have built more than a few using the WordPress platform. Every time I am surprised to find new innovations being wrapped into the system whether in the form of updates to the platform itself or through one of the many plugins that are being developed by individuals around the world.
These plugins allow builders and users to customize their WordPress based sites and add all sorts of functionality. Need a specialized calendar, a built in video player, a stock market ticker, need to add real estate or home/apartment rental capabilities? There are plugins for most anything you could imagine. While it is true that all are not created equal, it is pretty easy to weed out the low quality plugins from those that can help make your site awesome.
To me, using WordPress to build websites is a no-brainer. I guess this is why it continually surprises me to hear folks speak out against using it. Whether they say that there are too many updates to deal with, or that it can be targeted by hackers (which other platforms such as Joomla get targeted just as often), they continue to rail against utilizing the platform. It really makes you wonder what their experiences with the platform may be like. I would be willing to bet most anything that their problem is that they simply haven’t found a WordPress Ninja who can get the job done right the first time.
The Bearded Ninja
Danny Hall Bio
Danny Hall is the Content Creation & Web Design Director for Posse Social Media. He also oversees the WP Web Design Experts Tacoma branch office. With a background rich in design work both on and offline, Danny brings a unique touch to the websites that he helps to develop. His background also includes experience working in a traditional print shop in both the typesetting and graphic arts departments. This lends him an understanding of how a business's logo and graphics must remain compatible both online and off.