It powers a quarter of the web, yet there is a massive range of variance between the quality of sites produced on the WordPress platform.
If you’re a business that takes business seriously (we hope you are), then you’ll have invested a real bit of time before deciding to use WordPress, and probably just as much time when choosing the plugins to help bring your site to life.
When it comes to treating WordPress like an enterprise contender, there are a few areas that you should make a core part of your setup.
The biggest challenge for open source is that as it enters the consumer market, as projects like WordPress and Firefox have done, you have to create a user experience that is on par or better than the proprietary alternatives.Matt Mullenweg, Co-Founder @ WordPress
1. Make content creation simple and fun
If creating and managing content feels like a chore, it’ll likely be reflected in the content you produce. Using a single, Word-style WYSIWYG editor to mange your entire page content will place you in this camp.
WordPress supports the use of custom meta by default, and with the use of custom code or plugins, you’ll find that your content can be set up into logical, easy to manage chunks.
Tools like Advanced Custom Fields not only allow you to choose from many field types but also manage the layout of this content in the admin area to make the data entry process feel light and intuitive.
2. Separate data from design
Building on from our previous point, logical grouping of content serves 2 purposes. The second is the separation of data from design (an important concept in managing data).
Too often, sites aren’t built this way, with styling locked into the same area where content is managed. Not only is this difficult to manage for content creators, but makes updating layouts difficult and doesn’t future proof your site.
With an optimised setup, you’ll have the ability to enter the right data in the right way. For example a date input should provide you with a calendar to choose a date from so that the formatting of the date is kept out of the hands of novice users.
The benefits of separating data from design becomes apparent when trying to update a design. And, if you’re considering a dedicated mobile experience over a responsive one, you’ll find that you can use one source of data to manage templates across all devices.
3. Create heroes and CTAs
Appealing to site visitors and converting them to leads is a must in any inbound marketing approach.
To support this goal, you’ll need to be able to quickly produce rich CTA (call-to-action) blocks on your various site pages as well as quickly manage heroes and spotlights at the top of your content.
Our framework, gUI, provides the ability to create and manage branded Spotlights, Hero Sets and CTA’s by default, with advanced options to change the look and feel on a case by case basis.
4. Support live editing of data
Our article on Form Based vs WYSIWYG editing serves as a foundation for understanding the different forms of data entry available to you. Going down the form-based route is our recommendation. It can however come with the limitation of forcing editing from the admin panel only.
What this means is that users wont be able to relate how their content changes affect the final page without jumping back and forth from the WP admin panel and the front end pages.
There are a range of solutions available to combat that from drag and drop layout builders like Beaver Builder or Visual Composer. The downside of these is that there is a lot that can go wrong.
Finding a best of both worlds approach means designers and developers can rest assured that there code remains intact whist content marketers have the luxury of updating content in real time.
Our WP Framework, gUI supports this by offering a front end editing experience that loads the necessary meta boxes for you to edit each section of content at a time.
5. Support modular content setup
We’ve discussed the importance of separating data from design. Now, lets consider the optimisation of this data and figuring out where there is duplicated content or structure.
In our own site setup at Debunc for example (and for many of our clients), you’ll find that we’re using the same CTA’s on many pages where it makes sense to do so.
Even the data structure for fields or field groups on many content types may be similar. A blog, page and service template using a flexible rich content area is a great example of this.
Does your WordPress setup allow you to add new content sections and content types in just a few clicks?
6. Support a structured admin panel
With too many plugins and custom post types enabled in your WP admin area, you’re backend menu is probably in disarray.
At a minimum, you should be using a plugin like Admin Menu Editor to tidy up your admin area and make it manageable.
In addition, you should consider custom scripting that can improve the usability of WP’s admin panel.
A case in point, we group all admin pages by function; such as areas for content, components, online marketing, social and site configuration (amongst others). We also provide a search within the menu to allow you to quickly find the page you’re looking for.
How is your WordPress setup working for you?
We admittedly approach this article from the viewpoint of a client using a developer or WordPress agency to build an enterprise-ready setup that can cover a range of business and marketing needs.
We’d love to hear how you are using the WordPress admin area to improve your own website and marketing approach. Why not join the conversation and Disqus your thoughts below?