This week we’re answering your technology questions on creating your website and making things look professional.
As always, everything I recommend is a product that can be set-up and maintained by a non-geek. I also try to select products and services that are low cost and provide great value for the price. In these posts we link to goods offered by vendors to help the reader find relevant products. Some of the links may be affiliate in nature meaning that we earn a small commission if an item is purchased through this link. Please read our full disclosure here.
What do you use to build your website?
We build our websites using WordPress. While WordPress started off as a blogging platform, they have grown into a robust website development platform. Over 450 million websites use WordPress. WordPress relies on themes and plugins to create beautiful, responsive, and high-converting websites. There is a huge variety of themes available to give you the look and capabilities needed for just about any business.
Which WordPress themes do you use for your website?
When choosing a theme for your website, it is very important to consider which “builder” the theme is programmed to use. What is a builder, you ask? A builder in WordPress is the underlying programming, or framework, that provides the tools to create, edit, and maintain the features and content of your site. A builder allows you to create your website without programming in html or css. We recommend the Genesis Framework to serve as your base theme and builder. You might think of the builder as a “parent” theme. You then acquire a “child” theme for that builder that is used to create the website. The child theme provides the style and particular features for your website.
Most of the builders are similar, since they do the same things. The difference is the “learning curve” required to use the tools provided. While there are other builders available, such as Divi or WPBakery, I prefer themes compatible with Genesis. Why? Because that is the first builder I used and learned. If you have never used a theme builder, then I recommend you find a child theme you like and use the builder it was developed for.
For individual child themes, we recommend those from Restored 316. They have a variety of themes at reasonable prices, and their support is excellent. Restored 316 advertises that their themes are “feminine”, but we have found that with a few changes of colors and fonts any of their themes can look neutral or masculine. Contact me if you want to see some examples of sites built on their themes that are neutral or masculine.
What page design product do you use?
A page design product gives you tools to quickly build pages that combine text, graphics, and other elements. These products extend the capabilities that your builder provides, especially for creating pages. Most of these products are available as plugins. We recommend Thrive Architect to create landing and sales pages. Thrive Architect has an intuitive drag-and-drop interface that does not require any HTML or CSS coding. We also recommend Thrive Leads to automate the connection between your landing/sales pages and your email management system. In addition, Thrive Themes has several other plugins that may meet your specific needs.
The Rest of the Series
Check out these posts that cover other technology topics that are important in establishing a robust, stable online business.
Plugins to Make Your Life Easier (coming 5-4)
How to Choose an Email Management System (coming 5-18)
Social Media Management Basics (coming 6-1)