Points to Consider - WordPress Design and Development
WordPress is one on the most preferred CMS across the world. If we talk about all the websites that exist on the internet, then wordpress powers 43% of those website and if we talk about only CMS based websites then wordpress has a whooping market share of 65%. WordPress is preferred due to its ease of use, customization flexibility, thousands of freely available modules that cater to any and every type of functionality.
The ease of developing website on wordpress also brings with it some negatives that need to be handled to keep your website safe and updated. WordPress is an opensource platform and it is ever evolving and new updates keep on coming quite frequently. Being an opensouce and easy to customize it is also open to being hacked and thus frequent new updates to cater to the threat, rectify bugs and loopholes and also add new features and functionalities.
In this article we will look at some of the points that as a business and as developers you need to keep in mind when developing your website on wordpress or upgrading it to latest version.
- Core files manipulation: Never go down this road, even to get the work done quickly. This also is the case sometimes due to lack of knowledge, that lead developers to make changes to the core files of wordpress to achieve a desired result or feature. It is not a recommended approach due to two reasons
- Integrity of platform: All platforms follow a standard and an approach that keep them sable, robust and secure. Manipulating the core structure threatens that integrity of the platform and make it vulnerable to other outside threats related to hacking, data privacy gaps, etc. So it is always advisable to create your own module, function, plugin, etc and plug it with the core so that work is done without compromising the platform.
- Hampers updates: If core files are updated to achieve a desired result then the updates being provide by wordpress cannot be implemented easily as making updates will over-ride the changes done by the developer. So you will not be able to upgrade wordpress versions easily, else you will lose money and time on the functionality you got developed.
- WordPress Module Usage: As a beginner to wordpress development using modules for achieving most of the functionalities is the natural path that most of the developers adopt. Using modules is not a bad approach but what needs to be understood is the support being providing, compatibility and upgrade with new versions of wordpress as well as php. The easy way to understand this is to check on the version history of the module and see how active is the developer in upgrading and updating the module. Also check if a pro or paid version of the module exists, generally f pro version exists then support and upgrade option will be there. At times activating a module breaks the website which is reason of different modules compatibility, this should be seen beforehand and read on the module provider site to check if the module is incompatible with any module that already exists on the site.
- Regular Backups: It is always advisable to keep regular backups of your website and it a best practice before upgrading any module version, php version or wordpress version so that in case of any incident you have the option to go back to the latest working version of your website without impacting business. There are options that backups can be stored on the same hosting that hosts your website by using the service that the hosting provider gives. A good approach is to also connect your website with other file systems like Dropbox and automate the backup so one copy is saved on your dropbox in case of emergency.
- WordPress Upgrades: WordPress sites should always be upgraded and kept on latest version. As mentioned earlier in the article due to ease of use wordpress is also vulnerable to hack attacks but regular updates tend to fill those holes and so having a website with the latest wordpress version as well as the latest version of all modules minimizes the chances of the site being compromised. Again as a standard always take backups of your website before going for an upgrade.
- WordPress Security: Security of website is an important factor that should be taken are of right from the start of the project. Some of the major points that can be catered to easily are:
- Admin url: The url for wordpress admin is “sitename/wp-admin” this should be changed so it makes it difficult for anyone to directly hit on the standard url. It can be made anything like “sitename/our-administrator”
- Browser credential: through htaccess another layer of security that can be added is the browser login i.e. when the admin url is typed in then the person will be asked to enter one extra username and password and only after that they will reach the admin login area
- Two actor Authentication: For admin region put two factor authentication so that gives another layer of security to the website admin access.
- SSL: SSL is almost mandatory on all sites now and in case it is not there the users are warned that data can be stolen from this site. So apart from keeping the site safe for business as well as for data security and to not alarm the users, having ssl certificate implemented on your website is necessary
- Security Module: There are multiple security modules available for wordpress and one of the most preferred one is “Wordfence”. This gives an extra layer of security to the website along with features like – ip blocking, brute force attack, etc.
- WordPress Performance Optimization: Availability of fast speed internet and multiple optimization options available due to usage of different technologies have given the users a taste of high speed sites that open in 1- 1.5 seconds. In case any website opens in 4-5 seconds is now considered a slow site. There are multiple things that can be done to enhance the performance of the site and to meet the 1 second mark.
- Server performance: Always select a high performance server, a server that has high file size, optimal RAM, and core. A slow server response time is the first blockade in website performance.
- Image optimization: There are 3 optimizations that are required for the images
- File Size: Always use light images i.e. file size should be small. There are multiple options to reduce the file size without losing image quality.
- File Format: Instead of PNG or JPG use the modern mage formats WEBP or AVIF
- Image size: Instead of putting image of any size (height/width) put the size that is required
- Minifying CSS and JS: CSS and JS can be minified and there are multiple tools/modules available for getting this. What you need to be careful about is that minifying does not break the website or create issue. So before minifying take a backup of the files so they can be replaced if need be.
- Lazy loading: if your site has lot of images like an ecommerce site then apply lazy loading to your website as that will load images only for the visible section first so that will decrease the load time and user will be able to see the site content faster and as they start scrolling more parts will keep on loading.
- Accessibility: US, Canada, Europe and Australia have come up with Accessibility legislation that requires the websites to be accessible to people with disabilities. There are multiple legislation like ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), WCAG, EN 301549, etc. Non-compliance to these can lead to lawsuits. There are two ways to go about this
- Get the site remade and add the required features by use of modules or manually building each. This is a time consuming and high cost approach
- Get a service that works for you continuously keeping your website safe. One such Web Accessibility service is provided by Tecziq Solutions which is an automated AI based solution. This always keeps your wordpress website compliant with web accessibility laws can you can get it up and read in just 48 hours.
The points discussed in this article are not exhaustive but it covers all the major aspects for having a well-managed, well maintained, updated, secured ad web accessibility compliant wordpress website.
Developing a wordpress website by self is fine as long as you cater to all the requirements as mentioned in the rfp website redesign and follow the best practices. But it is always recommended that website development for your business should be done by a professional team. Website now has become the main brand image for all business, website is the stepping stone for branding now. Apart from branding website helps in getting your business found online. At Tecziq we have experience of developing wordpress website for multiple type of business which takes into consideration design, security, availability, upgrades, web accessibility, etc. For any type of website or web application development please connect with us on email@example.com and we will get in touch and we can discuss your requirement and best possible way to approach the solution.