WordPress Website Design Essentials – Why Do We Charge For WordPress?

WordPress Website Design Essentials – Why Do We Charge For WordPress?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade you’ll have heard about the WordPress Content Management System. It powers somewhere in the region of 25% of all websites, online. Latest estimates put that figure close to 80 MILLION websites, by the way. We’ve been working with WordPress, building websites, sales pages, e-comm sites, online courses and membership websites and even custom online marketing mechanisms like Loyalty programs and stock management systems, using WordPress since 2007, so it’s really second nature to us. It’s a fantastic, but flawed system.


WordPress Website Design Costs

Of course, if you have heard of WordPress, you’ll know it’s what is known as an “Open Source” Content management system (CMS), meaning it’s absolutely, 100%, always and forever, free. Also worth noting you can get WordPress themes which install into WordPress for as little as $0 up to $100 for ultra-premium themes. So you can get a WordPress website for your business for free, right? Wrong. There is an important range of differentiations to make here.


1) The Difference Between WordPress.com and WordPress.org

WordPress.com and WordPress.org are not technically the same company,  though they did start out that way and their interface is fairly identical. The difference is that WordPress.com is a hosted platform (“software as service”) with very limited appeal to serious marketers. Functionality and flexibility of themes and feature sets are not really controllable (you basically have to live with what they allow you and that doesn’t always add up to a marketable platform).

Wordpress com and org difference

How you like them apples? WordPress.org on the left

WordPress.org on the other hand is an Open Source CMS with an enormous community of developers behind it, creating and managing plugins, code and software for the community. This is the CMS you need to use for your business website as it is endlessly flexible and provides marketers like us a real, viable way to create custom websites that serve the owner (business) in marketing, generating leads for the business and converting (and remarketing) to prospects.

So, while you can basically get a ‘free website’ without more than $100 outlaid, and install it in likely no more than 5 clicks, why in the world would you (should you) pay a company like ours an average of $4-6k to ‘build’ you a WordPress website? Is this whole thing a scam!? How could we ever justify that price for a WordPress website? Outrage! Lol.

The truth is probably pretty obvious, but in the interests of clarity, I’ll outline it all here so you can move with your best foot forward.


Is Building a WordPress Website Simply Choosing the Right Theme?

First, a ‘website’ is not just choosing a theme, or an aesthetic. Sure, some of the WordPress themes you can purchase for $59 come with demo content and look superb out of the box (we do actually use a select few of these for the basis of clients’ websites, as well as semi-custom designs). However, more and more, in every industry and niche, having a ‘nice looking website’ simply isn’t nearly enough to ensure that your website is a lead-generation magnet for prospects and new customers, or that it competes (and wins) against your competition. And I’m guessing your competition is pretty stiff these days, am I right? How to beat your competition with your website, you may ask?

Wordpress website design for healthcare


In fact, if you watch my free “Pillars of online marketing” training series on my Youtube Channel, you’ll discover that this aesthetic aspect is little more than 1/5th of what you actually need to have a successful website for your brand.

Aesthetics form the first ‘pillar’ of online marketing, so of course you need to make sure your site looks attractive, clean and engaging. But after that, how do people interact with your website? What is their impression of your brand and its’ highly individual story?

The truth is that, in behind the aesthetic first-impression people are met with, you must (MUST) have a succinct, fluid User Experience (UX), User Interface (UI), Conversion Strategy, traffic generating strategies, fulfillment mechanics, analytics and funnel systems in place on your website to appropriately siphon visitors (traffic) into “buckets” from those who are:

  1. Not interested and never will be
  2. Not interested now but could be in the future
  3. Interested right now but need more convincing
  4. Interested right now and want to buy now


So what do you need in order to do this? You need a funnel. A funnel is a strategic, automated sequence of pages, communications and deliverables which engage with your prospects and place them in the appropriate ‘buckets’, as above. It’s basically a segmentation approach that your website should automate. 

Each visitor type might have a very distinct, custom user flow through the website. So those in bucket 1 will leave and never come back (and that’s ok!), those in bucket 2 will want to be added to your marketing list so you can build trust for when they are ready, those in bucket 3 will also need this, but perhaps more of a proactive prompt to purchase through a strategic email sequence, and those in bucket 4 will need to be provided with easy steps to buy from you right now.

So how does this all happen? Hint: it’s not by magic. It’s strategic down to the nth degree. We start out with the process we call “Strategic Systematic Deployment” when building out our strategy and work our way through each component in a pragmatic, logical way. Here’s the exact process we follow to build the ideal WordPress website for our clients (or even our own agency website).



STAGE 1 – Due Diligence.

We get to know the clients’ brand, the products/services, the messaging, the competitors and the marketplace. We offer website design for so many industries that this is an essential component to our process and how we set up sites for success from day one. By interacting with your brand we begin to understand your ideal client type, your products/services, and from there we can retro-engineer the ideal mechanisms to engage appropriately with each of the client types.


STAGE 2 – User Journey Mapping

(UX, UI and Conversion Strategy). We create a unique journey in ‘sketch’ format for each audience type (e.g. those in the buckets above). This is really a skeleton outline of how they will interact with the site, and a step-by-step mapping of where they go, dynamically, when faced with specific decisions or Calls to Action on the site. This MUST be custom to be successful for the client site so this is why a ‘stock theme’ is not nearly enough.


STAGE 3 – Wireframes.

From the ideal, optimized User Experience & user Interface, we plot out content blocks with strategic precision. Why a message should go here or there. Why a button should be placed here as opposed to there. This process plots out the pathway to success on your site and the great thing is that using WordPress.org we can build absolutely anything we desire. Hence a custom process coming to life through intelligent design and programming.


STAGE 4 – Aesthetic Design.

Wordpress website design mobile optimization

So hang on, aesthetic design is the first impression people are met with, but it’s the 4th stage in the process!? Yes, that’s correct and it’s important it’s done this way (assuming a custom aesthetic is required) so that the aesthetic overlays onto the UX/UI and conversion mechanics, and not the other way around. We start with the brand identity, color palette and existing assets, if these are present. This is key because on the website we need to create a consistent messaging and voice for the brand as this will lead to faster trust, better engagement and higher conversion rates, when visitors interact with the site.

This process can be done A) custom (blank canvas), B) Semi-custom (utilizing a premium WordPress theme but customizing key pages on the site like the homepage, to match our custom UX/UI) or C) “stock” (i.e. taking a premium theme and living with its’ in-built UX/UI and populating the site with client content.


STAGE 5 – WordPress Website Development Service.

We take the approved aesthetic designs, built onto of the custom UX/UI and Conversion strategy and bring it to life in the development room on a staging server. Of course, we normally use WordPress and build the site on that CMS, but it’s not a hard and fast rule. This can be done using a stock WordPress Theme or a fully custom website design but it can also be created using other platforms (e.g. Shopify). This process can therefore take anywhere from 3-4 days to many months depending on the complexity and functionality involved in the site, and is ultimately one of the major reasons that a WordPress website can never just be as little an investment as $59 for a theme, rather it takes weeks to form a tailored approach for your business, your customers and ultimately your success, online. 


STAGE 6 – Mobile Optimization, Testing & Migration to Final Server.

Mobile website development

When the desktop version of the site is set, mobile optimization will be mostly done already but this is also the ideal time to fine tune mobile optimization for multiple devices. All sites should be either responsive (i.e. they shift form and layout to best display the site for any and all screen sizes and resolutions) or a separate mobile site should be built (e.g. Amazon.com). Once that’s done, we test all the links & performance of the website (e.g. image sizes, load times) and push the thing live on your desired end server. It’s an oddly exciting and rewarding process for us! 


STAGE 7 – Analytics & Refinement

The bit that most people leave to chance is one of the biggest mistakes they make in online marketing. Without an analytical approach to your online assets you’ll be doing everything blind. Every decision you make post-launch in terms of improving your website should be guided and informed by strong analytics (and the analysis of those analytics, by someone who knows what they are looking for). The sad truth is that most web designers, marketing companies, in this day and age, do not understand how to approach analytics, draw inference from them, or indeed strategically adapt their approach for future performance.

Only by looking at user behaviors on your website, for instance, can you measure the changes you make when compared to that initial baseline. Change some text here or there, add a video in this spot, a call to action button here or there… All those things should be measured so you can ensure you never regress from the point of launch. 

*You’ll also have to factor in hosting costs and website security. We recommend WP Engine or Liquid Web for most uses and would genuinely recommend you stay away from companies like GoDaddy, 1and1, Bluehost, Hostgator and Network Solutions. These companies offer little support, poor security and website performance and are often the sites we see getting hacked, penalized in SEO and lose visitors.


In Conclusion – WordPress Websites Need Us 🤗

… And THAT’S why we charge between $4-6k+ on average for a website. The process detailed above involves multiple layers and strategies that most ‘website designers’ simply are not aware of. The psychological approach to marketing, the essential nature of a fluid, frictionless UX/UI and even a conversion strategy. Those things take time, expertise and crafting to ensure they work for the client in creating a lead-generating home on the web. And if you ignore one or other, well, the website simply won’t be as successful for your business as it should be.

Add to that, the importance of ensuring your website uses a consistent brand messaging and voice that reinforces your Brand/product benefits in a way that is conducive to building trust and that’s a pretty tricky thing to achieve as you can probably imagine. Which is exactly why experts like us have continued to thrive in the marketplace over the last decade, because there just aren’t that many of us around.

Hopefully this helps lay out the features a successful website should have and why a good WordPress agency can make the world of difference to your business if you go the semi-custom or custom route.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below for us and make sure to visit the Youtube Channel for more free training.



6 Essential “Attraction Protocols” Your Website Must Have to Succeed

6 Essential “Attraction Protocols” Your Website Must Have to Succeed

Does Your Website Do These 6 Essential Things?


In this day and age it seems everybody is trying to build their own website. Anyone can do it, with a bit of time, effort and a steep-ish learning curve; it’s true (In fact, we have an entire click-by-click course available here). Especially with so many resources at our disposal.


So, if you are considering creating your own site, or even if you just want to know what you should be paying attention to and including in order for the website to actually work for you, here’s a list of my 6 essential “Attraction protocols” for ensuring it engages and converts your visitors and does the job that it should be doing (e.g. promoting your business and attracting new clients, day in, day out).


1) Aesthetics – Keep It Simple


Simple Website DesignWe’ve all visited websites that blow your mind when you first drop onto them; they have the ‘wow’ factor. This is, of course, what you want.

However, many of these sites also create a fussy, fancy gloss made up of 3D objects, animations and clutter in order to achieve the ‘wow’.

While this is impressive on first glance, it can also create a confusing and faddish interface.


The problem this creates for you as a business is that in 1-2 years, the aesthetic design on your website will likely be ‘out of fashion’ and you’ll need to refresh the design again to keep up with latest trends.


For an example of this, just look at how Apple is redrafting their mobile User Interface (iOS) and icon design to avoid 3D styling – the “in thing” now is FLAT design.


Truth is, flat design has always been ‘in’. All this really means is that icons and backgrounds are simple, without sheen or 3D effects. Sure, you can maybe use the odd gradient to create some depth to the design, but that’s where it ends.


So my advice for you is this – when looking at the aesthetics of your website, try to create/use an aesthetic which is simple, clean and without clutter or fuss. Flat is in now, but always will be, because it’s classic.


For some examples of good, (fairly) flat designs, check out:

They might not all “blow your mind” but they get the job done, and really well.


2) Logical Layout


Website BlueprintHere’s the key to any website – make sure your key product/service is within a single click for anyone arriving on your site. People have very little patience, so you need that link right there, in their face.


If people can’t find the information they’re looking for within seconds, it’s not going to end well. Nobody has any patience on the internet and your site is not an exception to this rule. People will not hang around or go to extended effort on your website to find what they are looking for unless:

  1. Your site is the only site that caters for their needs
  2. Your product or price is completely unique in the market


With this in mind, try to structure your site simply and intuitively – where do your visitors want to go? What information do they need to see quickly (e.g. latest offers, products, testimonials)? How can you best word this information and how do you get visitors to do what you want them to (e.g. call you, buy from you)?


By keeping these factors in mind you’ll find you will focus in on the important aspects of your site and create a more logical, helpful website in the process.


3) Strategic & Effective “Call to Action”


People have come to your site, it looks slick and is logical in its’ layout. Great, but… what action do you want the visitor to take next? Do you want them to click through and buy your product right now? Or would you prefer to get them to subscribe to your newsletter/blog?


You have to think about what action you would like them to take next when structuring your page. Once you have identified this core focus, it’s important to make that action an impulse for the visitor i.e. they “can’t help” but follow the action you desire them to take.


This is done in a number of cool ways… The language, colour and appearance of your call to action can make the difference between succeeding in securing the “click” and not. That could mean the difference between a sale and a never-to-be-seen again visitor, so think carefully about it and test out different options over time.

TIP – Recent studies have suggested that a nice bright orange is the highest-converting colour of call to action button.

Language is important too in your call to action.


The usual ones you see everywhere are: “Add to Cart”, “Click Here” and “Learn More”.

Other effective call to action words that you could try out on your website include:


“Get Instant Access”

“Secure the Deal”

“Watch the Video”

“Checkout Now”


You can see that each has a positive overtone, but is also quite explicit in its’ instruction to the visitor, and it’s important to note that’s generally what works.

Your call to action should be bold and unavoidable also. Using bright colours tends to work – bright reds, greens, blues and oranges are all pretty effective (though, as above, orange seems to convert at a slightly higher rate than others); see below for some examples that we’ve used in the past, on our own sites as well as for clients:

Join-Now-1997 PRO-SALES-BUTTONButton-eg Button-For-Access button free-report-signup-button MGS2012BuyButtons29 REnegadeJOINNOWButton-300x64


4) Get Search Engine Optimised


It still blows me away how many business owners and website managers don’t value search engine optimisation in their marketing budget. It’s crazy and completely counter-intuitive because if you think of it logically, how do people find information in this day and age?


They don’t look it up in the Yellow Pages or phone book any more, they don’t magically have it appear in their lap; they almost always “Google It” (or “Yahoo it” or “Bing it”).


To simply not care where you are coming up in these search results is madness, because these are the most targeted individual visitors you will ever receive to your website (i.e. people looking for your product/service who actually need it RIGHT NOW).


Is your website optimised? Do you even know? If not, wake up and smell the algorithm. It’s important to you, and your business. It’s not easy though and it takes work and time to cultivate a high-performing website when it comes to SEO.

You can do it yourself however; it’s actually part of the training you get at Total Website Blueprint. Visit Now.

Or, if you’d like to know some of the basics of SEO, we have a free report where you can read about it here


5) Get Mobile


Business-Website-Packages-Northern-IrelandIf you want to make sure your website is reaching as many people as possible, you must have it mobile-optimised, and this is more true now than ever before. In fact, it’s truly essential.


Here are some stats for you to prove the importance of this:

  • There are 5 Billion Mobile phones in the world.

  • Out of which, 1.08 Billion are Smartphones (e.g. iPhone, Samsung Galaxy etc.)

  • 85%+ of smartphone users use their phones to browse the web.


The chances are, a lot of your current and future customers are smartphone users who use their device to browse the web for solutions to their problems (it’s easier than opening up a laptop or running to the office computer to do it, right?).

So, the next logical question? Is your website mobile compatible? As in, either responsive (the modern way) or at least it has a mobile version?


If you’re not sure, check your website on a mobile device. If the site is displayed exactly the same as it is on a laptop/desktop screen (e.g. all the icons, text and images are likely to appear very small on the mobile device) then your site is not mobile optimised.


Therefore, a “Mobile” website does not mean that your website is simply viewable, in its’ full form, on a mobile device. Most often “full” sites are too load-heavy (e.g. they take a long time to load on normal mobile connections) or are so information-full and fussy that they are virtually illegible on a mobile device. This won’t help your conversion rates, either.


6) Create Good Content


Your site looks beautiful. It attracts the right type of visitors. It even converts a chunk of them. However, without strong written and visual content (delivered consistently over time), it will never be as productive or visible in search engines as it should/could be.


It’s important you create content that is interesting to visitors so that they stay on your site, refer others to it and share your content on social networks.


How do you do this? The easiest way is simply to create content around your niche/area of expertise/product which cuts out the flowery jargon and technical terms and spells out valuable information and benefits of your product/expertise in easily digestible chunks that anyone visiting your site will understand.


Flowery, technical terms relevant to your industry will rarely impress or interest a visitor, so while you know all the fancy information about your product, always bear in mind what information your visitors are really seeking:


  1. What Are You Selling?

  2. What Are The Inherent Benefits?

  3. Why is it Essential for ME?

  4. How Much Does it Cost?

  5. What Do I Do Now?


By creating your content around these snippets of information and getting to the point quickly, you’ll guarantee a far greater visitor retention and conversion rate, plus your visitors will be more inclined to share out this valuable resource they have found with their friends and colleagues using social media, as well as word of mouth.


Now, you may think some of these are less or more important than others, but the truth is this; these 6 factors are the essential pillars for website success.


Without one or more of these, and your website will not be as accessible, effective, productive or as visible as it should be. If you miss one, you’re therefore only doing your own business a disservice.

Of course, this is only a very brief overview designed to help you develop your thoughts around what your website should include in order that it will be the success it deserves to be.


Do you have any pillars you would add to this list?

Or any questions related to the above? Let us know by commenting in the box below and we’ll post our responses.


The 5 Most Common Hurdles to Succeeding in Social Media (For Business)

The 5 Most Common Hurdles to Succeeding in Social Media (For Business)

The 5 Most Common Hurdles to Succeeding in Social Media (For Business)

Content is Key. So how do you find content to post and how do you manage your time efficiently so you don’t have to dedicate hours every day to your social media profiles?

Almost every client we’ve ever had within the ‘Social Media Marketing’ remit has had the same concerns at the inception; actually physically finding content to share – it’s an area that seems eternally confusing for clients. The main concerns tend to centre around the following five aspects, give or take, so hopefully we can help dispel the myth that social media is somehow a headache in terms of creating content for your profiles. It’s really not, if you just take a moment to stand back and think logically about it you will find a huge wealth of resources out there that you can share, use, reference and even create your own content from.



How To Insult a Good Web Company – 4 x Essential Tips to Find The Perfect One

How To Insult a Good Web Company – 4 x Essential Tips to Find The Perfect One

Don't Be Fooled - Cheap = Cheap


It amazes (and disappoints) me if a client makes the statement “that’s very expensive” or “that’s more expensive than x,y,z” with regard to our web or design services. It amazes me because that couldn’t be further from the truth, and it disappoints me because that statement grossly undervalues the quality of the service and design that we provide.

It’s an insult of sorts, although we know it’s never intentional. It’s not necessarily a client’s fault, and it’s very difficult for the client to know the in’s and out’s of what goes into a successful web campaign without us boring them to death with talk of SEO protocols, design processes and latest technologies. It does happen though and it’s a shame because it’s all down to the confusion & ‘Dumbing-down’ of web services created by inferior (often big-name) companies that blind clients with cheap prices and effective marketing campaigns. Don’t let this be you. It’s more important to ensure that your investment receives maximum ROI and that you are with a company you trust to deliver quality & results.


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