Going Beyond the “Norm” with WordPress

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When talking through website requirements with clients, we often find there’s a certain stigma around WordPress. Many businesses believe that WordPress is only suitable for the most basic of basic sites, and that if they’re wanting something “special”, WordPress is the not the right option. While there are a number of things which will determine whether we would recommend WordPress over a different CMS, we thought we’d share some of the cool things you can achieve with WordPress – and why you shouldn’t be put off building your website with this CMS.

Ultimately, you can go as far as you want with WordPress. It is far more than just a CMS (although it is quite an easy CMS to use which can be great if you have a number of non-tech team members updating content and images regularly on the site).

Keep reading on to learn more about some of the cool things you can do with WordPress as well as some example websites to give you some idea of just what is possible.

Theme Vs Custom Theme from Scratch

Ok so we all know about the hundreds of thousands of WordPress themes available for use out there. To be honest, 90% of businesses who decide to go with WordPress will probably be able to find a suitable theme which they can then customize to suit their branding and colours. Building from a theme is the cheapest way to create a new WordPress site (and the quickest). Depending on the theme and requirements, you can literally get your new site up and running within a few days or weeks (based on complexity).

The other option is to build your very own custom theme from scratch. (It’s important to note here, that when talking “themes” we’re referring to the design or the look of the website. We’ll get to functionality next). This option involves working usually with a UX designer to come up with a design for your site which is then passed on to developers to build the design. Using this option, you can literally do what you want with the look at feel (of course, staying within normal website principals).

Custom User Interface

User interface refers to the functionality of the website. WordPress does allow for custom user interface where the only limitation is your imagination. As an example, take a look at a site we recently completed for Ablethorpe Recruitment (also a custom theme built from scratch) - http://ablethorpe.com

You’ll get a good idea of what we mean by custom user interface if you open this site on your mobile and navigate to “Jobs”. With knowledge that job candidates are searching for jobs on mobile during their commute to and from work but will create their application from home (or in front of a desktop computer), we made the search function on mobile super easy and very much suited to the needs of a commuter. The Jobs listing on mobile using a “tinder-like” swipe function where you can swipe “Yes” or “No” to jobs that you see. Candidates can then access their “Yes” swipes later when ready to apply.

Animations

Animations are a great way to bring your website to life! Movement on the page can help draw the eye of visitors and encourage them to browse rather than landing and clicking off immediately. Adding animation with CSS keyframes is an easy way to boost the life of a WordPress site.

Take a look at the animations on the Ablethorpe Recruitment website. From the aeroplane at the top of the page to the animation on each navigation box and the lady parachuting down the side of the page, this site catches your eye and makes you want to click further.

Take a look at the site here: http://ablethorpe.com

Dynamic Contact Forms

You can get pretty fancy when it comes to contact forms in WordPress. For example, take a look at the contact form on this page which we recently created for Rachel’s Yoghurt. The contact form fields change depending on the type of enquiry you have selected.

View the page here: http://rachelsyoghurts.com.au/get-in-touch

These type of dynamic contact forms can be really useful if different enquiries or different departments require the customer to enter different information.

Integrations into Third Party Applications

Don’t have/want all your content stored within your site? Maybe you want to leverage off an ERP, CRM or accounting system. WordPress can just as easily get data from a third party application as any other CMS or web application. Use WordPress to make your life easier by integrating third party applications like Job Adder, Sugar CRM, Insightly, Exact Target, MailChimp and many more.

Analytics Tracking Codes

Tracking the performance of your website should be a key task for you. While there are heaps of analytics tools out there (eg Google Analytics), you can get better and more informative data by adding tracking codes to your WordPress site. These can help you gain a better understanding of the types of products or categories people like, the search terms they use both to find your website and when on your website, as well as goal-orientated conversions tracking. Having these set up can give you a much clearer picture as to the performance or your website and success of your digital marketing campaigns – which can really help leverage your efforts in the future.

As you can see, there are a lot of opportunities to use WordPress and spruce it up more than the “average” WordPress site. If you’re not sure what you could do to amp up your site, drop us a line! We’re happy to chat through your brand or business and brainstorm some different ideas to get you standing out from the crowd!

“Once you stop learning, you start dying” - Albert Einstein

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