Building your own WordPress website

March 9, 2016       The NonProfit Times      

More than 16 million websites use the WordPress platform — nearly a quarter of the entire Internet. A big reason why is its flexibility. Public access to the underlying code and the expansive ecosystem of both free and paid plugins developed and contributed by users, consultants, and software companies makes it extremely customizable for a wide range of needs.

It’s also user-friendly enough to let you build a simple website on your own.

Many higher-quality themes provide a non-technical, What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) interface for tweaking or making small customizations (such as changing colors, headers, and fonts) with little-to-no knowledge of HTML or CSS, the code behind websites. Many nonprofits that have implemented their own WordPress sites recommend using of an introductory guide — either a book or online resource — to help setup go more smoothly.

If you’re interested in going it alone, here’s a checklist to help you think through what it will take to pull it off.

Staffing: You’re likely to need someone on staff who:

* Is comfortable with learning new technology;

* Has the capacity to devote the time to this project (possibly on weekends);

* Has at least a basic understanding of HTML; and,

* Has the ability and capacity to write or create content for the site—likely multiple people.

 

Content: To plan your site, you’ll need to identify:

* What content you want on your website;

* How the website content should be organized;

* A generous timeline for implementing and testing the site before launch; and,

A checklist and schedule for testing and installing updates.

You’ll also need less tangible things such as patience, a sense of adventure, and tolerance for mistakes. Remember, this is not a definitive list of the skills or preparations needed for a successful DIY WordPress implementation, nor is this checklist a guarantee of a successful implementation. But it’s a good starting place.