WordPress Web Design
I am not responsible for the current look of the DWG, Diablo, Curva or Hardrock sites. I am the person who built the original sites that have 95% of the current sites’ foundations. I also established all the feeds that auto-update the product stats and inventory.
Building Large Complex Websites from Scratch
There are lots of tools for building websites and they can be relatively simple to build. They can also be a nightmare for those that don’t understand the scope of the effort. With the web building tools available, the hard part isn’t site building. The hard part is resource gathering.
Imagery, text content and spreadsheets all play an important role in efficient site creation. Once they are set up properly, most of the site can be built in minutes.
Images are typically what clients have ready to go. They are gathered in various formats and often named inconsistently. Images are not great for site SEO, but they can be better when named and meta tagged properly.
I usually spend a decent amount of time naming the files properly using a batch renaming program. If there are products, I try to organize in folders by brand and/or product name. This helps with hyperlink naming which also helps with SEO.
I also tend to run Photoshop actions on everything to set up consistent sizing, shading, cropping, drop shadows or the like. This has the biggest impact on sites that sell variations of the same product type.
I use a script to gather all the file names and ad them to a spreadsheet. I then use formulas to generate a couple of meta tags from those file names in adjoining columns. Those can then be automatically applied when importing.
Writeups and Text Content
For SEO, the most important part of a webpage is the text content. It is also historically what clients never seem to have. Around 300 words of text give search engines something to categorize. There are individuals who make their entire living figuring out the best way to keyword these to rank a site higher.
I’ve been hired to write descriptions for the products I’m adding. It’s not always easy or fun. There are new AI authors that can get you started. I’ve even set up random sentence generators with key words and element replacement. What it comes down to though, is if you want a site to be ranked, text needs to be unique and applicable.
Spreadsheets and/or Inventory Links
What I tend to do most for a client is I organize their data for their site. Some clients use excel. Others have desktop versions of Quickbooks. Then there are those with fully operational inventory management solutions generating API feeds.
For those with less advanced systems, I tend to use Google Sheets to gather and sort info. While sometimes difficult, it is possible to feed data from offline programs like Quickbooks to Sheets automatically on a schedule. Once it’s there, automatic formulas can clean it up however is needed to build and maintain sites.
The spreadsheets contain the building block for every product. All taxonomies, fields, titles, images and more can be generated from them. They can also be used to auto-update products without human interaction.
With the automotive clients I have, they often love having part specs live on the product page. I establish direct links to Google Sheets for this info and it is configured to pull the info from their inventory and accounting method. Once set up, it is an inexpensive way to maintain live info on a site or even generate an API.
Ready for the Next Facelift
In many cases a client wants a facelift to their site every year or so. I tend to build a lot of site foundations that other designers apply different themes to a few years later. My sites usually have custom post types and page blocks that make this incredibly easy for them.
Very little of the content changes. It is only displayed in a different way. That goes back to my point that the only real tough part of website design is content gathering and sorting.