WordPress Graphic Design – Welcome!

Hi everyone, welcome to my blog about graphic design for WordPress.  You can read more about me here.  Be sure to bookmark me and come back soon as I put together some great information as resources and share with you as I undertake my journey from traditional graphic design into the online world of WordPress and website user interface design.

Hosting

One of the first decisions you’ll have to make about your WordPress website is where and how to host it, and there turns out to be a dizzying array of options.  Certainly, one option is to create and manage your very own internet infrastructure including the servers and network infrastructure, but this options is usually reserved for medium to large sized companies who can afford a dedicated staff.

Unmanaged Hosting

Then there is what most people call unmanaged hosting. Unmanaged hosting means that you are doing all of the work yourself to keep everything running. This includes the servers, software updates, hardware break-fix, etc.

Fully Managed Hosting

On the flip side is fully managed hosting, where a third-party such as your hosting provider takes care of almost everything for you.  They ensure that the hardware, operating systems, and installed software is maintained and updated on a regular basis not only to ensure your site is functional but to protect against security intrusions.   However, the type of managed hosting sold by most big-name hosting providers does not include making any sort of changes, update or modifications to your website which you are sure to need over time.

Semi-Managed Hosting

This brings us to the final option, which is where most companies fall.  In a partially managed environment, you might host your website with a popular provider such as GoDaddy.  They are taking care of making sure the web server itself stays up and running, but your website is your own responsibility.  This means that you have to ensure that WordPress and all of your plugins and databases are working correctly, and you may have to either hire a third-party or pay them extra to perform maintenance for you.

Third-Party Web Providers

To fill that gap, there are a large number of web specialists who select high-quality hosting providers, ensure that your website stays maintained at a technical level, but also contract with you to make any sort content adjustments to your website such as posting new pictures in your galleries, updating your blog for you, and making structural or cosmetic changes to the site over time.

Important criteria for selecting such a provider are their native language and their philosophy about what software and systems they use.  Some providers specialize in using all of the latest and greatest flashy plugins, which can provide a lot of “wow” factor to your website but unfortunately such software plugins are not always properly maintained and can become broken over time as a result.  Other providers specialize more in using only well-known mainstream plugins to ensure the best long term results for your website.  Be sure to ask any potential provider their philosophy about such matters, and be sure you understand their cost structure for making different types of changes to your website.

Design Options

If you are going to hire someone to build your site from scratch, there are countless approaches to this which I’ll get to in a later post.  Unless you have a good budget already allocated, most small businesses will do well by starting with a template website that has a lot of standard information already layed out into an existing design that may be very similar to other websites.  While at some point you’ll probably want to completely customize your website, very often such a more basic website is a very cost-affordable option for a new small business that you should consider if you are just starting out.