What is WordPress

What is WordPress

What is WordPress? By now you would assume everyone on the planet knows WordPress, but you would be surprised how many people I’ve built websites for didn’t really understand what WordPress is and the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Hopefully this article will clarify things a bit.

Now I assume if you’re interest in WordPress, there is a good chance you’re also interested in a website. So lets begin with the parts needed to get a website live on the internet.

1. Main components needed

  • Website Files
  • Website Hosting Service
  • Domain Name

The first component we are going to focus on is website files. Without getting too complicated, these files are written in code, which a browser then interprets and displays on your computer screen. These files can be created in many different ways, one such way is with a “Content Management System” (CMS for short). This CMS takes the hard work out of creating web files and makes it easy for those without a web development background to build websites. WordPress is one of the most popular Content Management Systems out there. It’s so popular, 22% of the world’s websites are powered by WordPress.

2. WordPress.org vs WordPress.com

WordPress is an open source free platform that needs revenue to sustain, maintain, and update. One revenue stream for them is hosting websites. WordPress.com is a self contained hosting company that offers both paid and premium plans. However, since they are hosting your website, it does come with several limitations depending on the plan compared to WordPress.org. Below is a comparative chart:

WordPress.com WordPress.org
Self hosted Requires a hosting provider
Limited options to monetize website Options to monetize website
No custom themes allowed Use any custom theme
No custom plugin allowed Use any custom plugin
Easy to use Small learning curve for basic setup
Little to no technical control Full control over database and files
Ads with free plan No ads
Automated Maintenance Manuel Maintenance

WordPress.org is really just a landing page where you get information about WordPress and the place to download the actually files needed to install on the hosting provider of your choice.

3. Using WordPress

Now that you know the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, you can select which ever fits your needs. Should you decide to go with WordPress.org (which I highly recommend), that’s where the next component (Website Hosting Service) comes into play. Most popular hosting providers (e.g., GoDaddy, Host Gator, etc.) actually come with a one-click WordPress install option. So all you have to do is purchase a plan (I personally recommend SiteGround) and a control panel or Cpanel for short will be assigned to your account. Here can locate the WordPress option and follow the prompts to install.

This is not the only way to install WordPress on your server, but it is the most easiest and requires no professional assistance.

4. Benefits of using WordPress?

Aside from the obvious reason (it’s free!), there are many other benefits. Personally I feel the true value lies in having the ability to easily change content. Once WordPress is installed, an administrator can log into the backend or Dashboard and easily created new web pages, update or add new imagery, rewrite or add new copy, or manipulate just about anything with a bit of know how.

Furthermore, being that WordPress is an open source platform, programmers have the means to development plugins that can handle any task you can image. Say you needed a plugin to handle upcoming events, instead of having a programmer develop one form scratch, you can visit wordpress.org/plugins/ and search for a plugin that add ons event options. There are literally over 50,000 plugins developed to date. Most are free while more robusts ones are not.

In addition to plugins, WordPress also has a theme directory that gives you thousands of free themes to choose from. Although these are free, most professional web developers use premium themes or develop a custom one. I personally like to use a premium theme called Divi and modify it to suit my clients needs.

To sum it all up, WordPress is an excellent platform to house your website. I have worked with WordPress for over 5 years now and I have never once had a compliant. Customers love it as do web developers.

Thank you for reading, “What is WordPress”.

Carlos J Montalvo

Carlos J Montalvo

Freelance Web Developer

Hi, I'm a professional Web Developer with over 5 years experience. If you're looking for a new or redesigned website, feel free to contact me anytime. To view my recent projects click here.
Thanks for reading and be sure to check back for upcoming articles.

How to Hire a Web Developer

How to Hire a Web Developer

Websites are often the first impression potential customers get of your business. This is why it’s crucial to have an engaging website. Unfortunately, getting a quality website can be a grueling process. In fact, most business owners may not know where to begin. Follow these steps on how to hire a web developer.

1. What is a Web Developer?

First, what exactly is a web developer? Simply put, a web developer is someone who creates websites. Easy enough, right? Wrong.

2. What to Look For

As much as we think we’re always right, surprisingly there are many times that we’re wrong. Moreover, there can be times when we think a website aesthetic will look great for no reason in particular except we like the color scheme. With this in mind, a good web developer will not be a “Yes Person.” As much as a web developer will want to keep a client happy, they care more about what’s best for the client. Additionally, web developers will focus on the best way to present your brand’s message. What do you want users to understand about your business? A strong web developer will find an engaging way for users to get the message. Also, you should hire a web developer that is focused on functionality. Making sure that the user experience on mobile, tablet, and desktop is similar and good, and that the website itself is easy to navigate are critical.

3. Pricing

Listen, money is important, and people don’t want to waste money. Having said that, you get what you pay for. There is a reason why no food critic ever says that $1 Per Slice pizza places are the best ones around. Now, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to get a high-quality website. Instead, an understanding of the cost of building a website will ensure that your business gets a top-notch site without wasting thousands of dollars.

4. Location

Your web developer’s location is actually very important, which is why I suggest staying within the borders of the good ol’ U. S. of A. Now, this isn’t because there aren’t talented international web developers out there. Of course there are. However, if you want to communicate with your web developer, it’s good to know you don’t have to worry about what the cost of an international call will be. Ideally, you should hire a web developer that you can communicate with easily, if necessary. Trust me, you will have to talk to them. A lot.

4. Portfolio

Finally, you should always view a web developer’s portfolio before you hire them. If you’re sick and you go to a doctor, you don’t ever want to hear, “You’re my first patient ever!” The same thing applies to websites. You want to see that a web developer has done a website within your industry or similar to the design you want. Unless you’re OK with being a test pilot in a plane built by your cousin.

Now that you know how to hire a web developer, start looking for one! The beautiful thing is, you don’t have to look very far!

Thank you for reading, “How to Hire a Web Developer”.

Carlos J Montalvo

Carlos J Montalvo

Freelance Web Developer

Hi, I'm a professional Web Developer with over 5 years experience. If you're looking for a new or redesigned website, feel free to contact me anytime. To view my recent projects click here.
Thanks for reading and be sure to check back for upcoming articles.

How to Make a Great Landing Page

How to Make a Great Landing Page

A landing page is a great way to create a better user experience on your website. Why? Because a landing page immediately takes your customers to exactly where you want them to go. Having said that, it is important to keep several things in mind when designing a landing page. Here are some tips on how to make a great landing page.

1. Call to Action

Honestly, this is the most important part of the landing page. When I say, “Call to action”, I don’t necessarily mean the verbiage (although I will discuss that in a bit). What I mean is, what is your landing page supposed to have the user do? The layout of your landing page should lead a user to do what you want. Moreover, the action taken should be only one. Don’t create a landing page that allows users to download information about your product while simultaneously asks them to watch an instructional video. Focus on one thing–getting the sale, collecting customer data, increasing product awareness–and create your call-to-action (and design your page) based on that.

2. Aesthetics

The aesthetics, or the look, of your landing page is vital. You want to make your page visually appealing. However, a great landing page isn’t just about looking pretty. You need to understand that there needs to be function behind the form. If you’re trying to have users fill out a form, consider using different colors to draw attention to the form. As an example, if your color scheme is blue and gold, you may want to have the landing page be a light blue background. Then, the form can be dark blue, so your eye is naturally drawn to it. The font color can be in gold (full disclosure–I chose blue and gold because those are my hometown colors. I have no idea if they are appropriate for a business, unless your business is in my hometown).

3. Copy

Now, what should you say on your landing page? Besides hiring a copywriter, in which case email me immediately because I’m affordable, there are some things you need to consider. First, the pitch itself. When you’re crafting your sales pitch, consider what you want your customer to feel. If you own an ice cream shop, you don’t just offer great taste. You provide customers with nostalgia, with memories of childhood. Write copy that reflects this! Also, consider what you’re using your landing page for. Are you trying to have the page rank organically in Google? If so, you need to have at least 300 words. Next, you need to know if you’re using this landing page for a Google AdWords campaign. If you are, make sure the copy has keywords you want to focus on. For example, words like “local” and “expert” should be peppered into your content to improve your Google Quality Score.

4. Price

Customers don’t make decisions solely on price. However, you should always include your price. Don’t worry about scaring potential customers off with an exorbitant cost. Why? Because if they’re scared off by seeing the price up-front, they are still going to run away when they hear the price when they’re ready to purchase. Including your price helps ensure that the leads you generate are good ones, ones that are more likely to convert to sales.

A great landing page is a wonderful tool to help businesses increase sales. Create your landing page today!

Thank you for reading, “How to Make a Great Landing Page”.

Carlos J Montalvo

Carlos J Montalvo

Freelance Web Developer

Hi, I'm a professional Web Developer with over 5 years experience. If you're looking for a new or redesigned website, feel free to contact me anytime. To view my recent projects click here.
Thanks for reading and be sure to check back for upcoming articles.

Does My Business Need a Website

Does My Business Need a Website

If you’re asking yourself, “Does my business need a website?”, the answer, without a doubt, is yes. The truth is, all businesses need a website. Here are several reasons why:

1. Credibility

Here’s a scenario–you’re sick, and you need medical attention. Would you go into some person’s van in a back alley because they claim to be a doctor? Of course not! It’s these kinds of situations that are the beginning of horror stories. With this in mind, not having a website and having a small e-commerce business is the same thing. Consider this–a website may be the first interaction your customer has with your business. Additionally, first impressions are hard to overcome. So, if the first impression of a business is that, according to Google, the business doesn’t exist, then sales are going to reflect that you don’t exist.

2. Increase Revenue

Imagine being able to lie on your couch in your pajamas and sell your product to your customers 24/7. Fortunately, you can do this with an e-commerce website! A website gives your customers a chance to shop at all times. This can increase revenue. Work less and make more money–it’s the American Dream!

3. Brand Awareness

Moreover, a website is a great opportunity to clearly explain what your business does and how. In other words, your website is an uninterrupted elevator pitch with an attentive audience. You get to say what you want and how you want to say it.

4. Quality Matters

So, you’re ready to commit to a website. I’ve convinced you, expertly might I add, that it’s time to make the investment for your business. However, this doesn’t mean that you should get any website. As an example, if you want to eat seafood, you don’t order it from a gas station. The quality of your website matters! Now, you may be worried about the price of a good website. Luckily, there are good web developers that do great work without overcharging.

So stop asking yourself, “Does my business need a website?” The answer was, is, and always will be, yes.

Thank you for reading, “Does My Business Need a Website”.

Carlos J Montalvo

Carlos J Montalvo

Freelance Web Developer

Hi, I'm a professional Web Developer with over 5 years experience. If you're looking for a new or redesigned website, feel free to contact me anytime. To view my recent projects click here.
Thanks for reading and be sure to check back for upcoming articles.

Will a Website Help My Business

Will a Website Help My Business

Will a website help my business? Absolutely. We live in digital age where business inquiries are just a Google search away. Having a website not only helps broaden your exposure, but also helps give your business creditability. I mean, I can confidently say most people researching a business via the internet will most likely get discouraged and lose confidence if the business doesn’t have a website.

Nowadays, there aren’t many successful businesses that don’t have a website. Imagine if a multi-billion dollar company like Walmart didn’t have a website. Sure we’d probably still shop their, but wouldn’t it be strange? The fact that we would find it a bit suspect means websites are an integral part of any successful business operation and business owners will be doing themselves a disservice without having a website.

Here are a few reasons why a website will help a business:

1. Generate Leads

I’d like to clarify a misconception I running into from time-to-time. When I first speak to a potential client, they seem to think this 1989 Kevin Costner movie quote, “If you build it, they will come”. Of course “they” represents traffic. This isn’t necessarily the reality. When I say “Generate Leads” I mean there lives the potential to generate possible leads that wouldn’t otherwise exist without having an online presence. In other words, you’ll never know how many potential customers were missed because the business did not a website.

2. Broaden Reach

This applies to both national and local businesses. Having an online presence that can be reached by any mobile device any where in the world already has the potential to tap into unknown geography.

3. 24/7 Accessible

The internet has enabled people to reach businesses that would otherwise be out of reach. As long as you have a reputable hosting provider like SiteGround for example, your website will be available to view 24/7/365, which has the potential to further generate leads.

4. Increase Business Credibility

I can’t stress this enough. Credibility is something invaluable to any business. It helps the consumer trust an establishment, but could get lost before it even begins. In this digital world, not having an online presence could mean strike one for many users. Even if you the business has a website, Strike 2 comes in the form of a poorly designed and hard to navigate website. So it is also important to update a site every 5 years.

5. Decrease Overhead

I predict most successful brick and mortar stores will slowly transition to selling exclusively online. Why? Because it’s simply more cost effective. Think about it, renting a warehouse is far less expensive than renting a store front. Having users use a digital checkout, is far less expensive that hiring a cashier. Although the initial investment for an eCommerce website could run anywhere between $10,000 – $100,000, the long investment benefit the business in the long run.

To conclude, having an online presence will not only greatly improve your reach and exposure, but it will also give a business credibility, which ultimately leads to increased sales.

Thank you for reading “Will a Website Help My Business”.

Carlos J Montalvo

Carlos J Montalvo

Freelance Web Developer

Hi, I'm a professional Web Developer with over 5 years experience. If you're looking for a new or redesigned website, feel free to contact me anytime. To view my recent projects click here.
Thanks for reading and be sure to check back for upcoming articles.

How Much Does a Website Cost

How Much Does a Website Cost

How much does a website cost? To be honest, this isn’t a clear cut answer. But hopefully this article will arm you with enough information to get a sense of what the average cost of a website is and how to determine whether you’re getting a fair price or not.

Average Cost for a 5 page website

Now when I say 5 pages, I mean 5 basic pages that do nothing more then introduce services. Below is a list of common pages:

  • Home
  • About
  • Services
  • Gallery
  • Contact

The most time consuming page out of the 5 will most likely be the homepage. Being the first page your users will see, naturally it should deserve the most attention (remember you only have one chance to make a first impression). But nowadays, web developers are combining these pages into one very long page. I recently used this “one-pager” method on a recent client’s website. Now this method won’t always work for every design and strategy, but they’re becoming very popular and have decreased the overall cost of a website.

Now what is the average cost of a website? Well, there are many variables to consider. Below is a list of different price points I’ve encountered through out my years in the field.

$100 – $500:

These prices might seem like a deal, but I would approach this with caution. Why? Lets do the math. The minimum any decent web developer charges per hour could be between $15 to $25. Now lets break down the tasks involved from conception to working website.

Task Hours Total Price ($20/hr average)
Research and Strategy 4 $100
Design Mockup (5 pages) 16 $320
Build Website 32 $640
Web Optimization (SEO) 4 $100
2 Rounds of Client Revisions 4 $100
Website Migration 4 $100

The latter table is very basic. However, you can see how quickly things can start adding up. The total cost here would exceed $1,300. Now I wouldn’t say there aren’t any highly skilled developers who can’t accomplish these tasks within a shorter time period, but finding one will require some luck. Like with any career, the bad always out weight the good. So thread cautiously if someone claims to build your website for under $500.

$1,000 – $2,000:

This price point is more realistic for most good freelance web developers. More so, it’s usually indicative of what their past clients are paying. But of course, I wouldn’t take this at face value. Ask to see their portfolio and verify their work. Ask for references and search them on the web.

$5,000 – $10,000

These prices are usually quoted by mid-sized agencies or websites that go beyond the basic 5 page design. I personally don’t consider a job unless the budget is a minimum of $2500. But again, price does not mean you will get quality work. At the end, you should base your decision on the quality of their portfolio and speaking to actual past clients.

To conclude, there isn’t a finite price. Each website is unique and requires a different approach. Your needs and the skill level of the developer will ultimately determine your price. But I hope you got a better sense of how much does a website cost and how to determine if the price your getting is fair.

And one last note. Website design and development is similar to art; sometimes it’s worth what a person is willing to pay.

Thank you for reading “How Much Does a Website Cost”.

Carlos J Montalvo

Carlos J Montalvo

Freelance Web Developer

Hi, I'm a professional Web Developer with over 5 years experience. If you're looking for a new or redesigned website, feel free to contact me anytime. To view my recent projects click here.
Thanks for reading and be sure to check back for upcoming articles.