Developing a website, especially large website, often requires a team. However, WordPress now has many themes, plugins, and features that have helped to reduce the work required to the point that a single person can develop high quality websites, making it possible to run a WordPress development business by yourself.
This is a look at the people, tasks, and skills involved in developing a website with WordPress. If you’re doing this alone these are some of the hats you’ll wear or some of the people you’ll hire. Every project won’t need all of these people and tasks, but they are typical in one form or another.
Someone needs to be in charge of keeping the project on task. Without a project manager it’s likely the scope of the project will grow (scope creep), due dates will be missed, and budgets will be broken. This person should be able to determine what can be done when and for how much.
Many clients don’t have a realistic idea of what’s possible at what cost. They may think that a website with 1000 items in a store can be developed from scratch by tomorrow for $100. The PM will help set the clients expectations and keep the project on track (both on time and within budget).
There are too many websites out there trying to get everyone’s attention. We can’t just set up a site and expect people to find it. Even if you’re not involved with marketing the website, those who are need to be involved with the web design from the beginning. They will perform tasks such as:
- Set goals for the site. This will determine what the site needs to accomplish.
- Identify the target market. This will determine who the site is designed for.
- This will determine the keywords used for the site’s SEO, ads, partnerships, etc.
This person will determine the pages that the site will need and the navigation structure. They will create a sitemap diagram that will be used to create a wireframe diagram for each of the pages to show the navigation structure. They will test this navigation structure and streamline it according to usability.
The Visual Designer will take the sitemap and wireframes and design the look of the site, with the company’s branding, into the wireframes – modifying the layout as needed. The use best-practices for layout, color, fonts, buttons, animation, etc., to determine the best user experience with the content. It will look great while remaining practical and loading fast. Photoshop is a popular tool for visual design.
The web developer creates the design in WordPress. In many instances this is the same person as the visual designer and many visual designers work with WordPress rather than other design tools (although a lot do use Photoshop to create their wireframe). Many use tools such as Divi, Beaver Builder, or Elementor to create the design.
Once the design is created in WordPress they add the HTML, PHP, and CSS that’s needed to make the site unique. They will use API’s to connect WordPress to other services, integrate with various platforms such as forums and learning platforms, etc. Sometimes they focus on front-end or back-end development.
Also known as content developer, content provider, copywriter, or simply writer, content creators provide what is known as copy. This isn’t the same as print copy. This is copy that is designed specifically for the unique nuances of the web. (this is my profession btw)
This is usually two different tasks or roles:
Content Strategist – also known as a blog manager, they identify the types of text required including articles (which will include text, images, illustrations, etc.), text for buttons, menus, product descriptions, etc. This requires knowledge of SEO, content design (including word choices, sentience and paragraph style, headlines, lists, descriptions, etc.), character limits, word counts, etc.
Copy Writer – they write the text itself. They will use good structure which places the major points first followed by supporting text, laying out the content in a design that’s easily scanable, using action words rather than passive words, making the best use of the word count, and driving the readers toward the call to action.
Media Specialist – they create media such as podcasts and video. These are usually tutorials, interviews, training, etc.
eCommerce Specialist – they create product pages including descriptions, images, video, demonstrations, etc. Online stores can have as few as a single product to many thousands of products. This person may be required to manage the store.
Many soloprelancer’s (solo-entrepreneur-freelancer. I don’t know if that’s a real word, but it is now) have done these tasks for so long that they don’t even think of them as separate jobs. Unless you’re an expert in all of these fields and have the time to invest, don’t try to go at it alone. It’s better to get help in your weaker areas and focus on what you do best. Use tools that we have at our disposal.
WordPress is not hard to learn, it’s in high demand, and the business possibilities are endless. Become familiar with a few good tools, such as an all-purpose theme like Divi and learning CSS, and use them instead of trying to build from the ground up. Fortunately there are many plugins and themes that do much of the work for you.
Whether you focus on just one thing and become part of a team, or become good at several things and start your own solo business, the skills covered here are crucial to a successful WordPress website.
- Do you perform multiple roles or do you prefer to focus on one thing?
- Are there any roles you would add?
- Which role is your favorite?
Thanks for reading and commenting. Please subscribe if you haven’t already.
Featured image by Helloquence