Easy Steps to Develop a Responsive WordPress Website

October 20, 2015Diana Lengerson

Content management systems have made the task of web developers a lot easier. You get a platform that offers lots of features, proper stability and top notch security. Though there are plenty of open source platforms out there, WordPress is certainly the most favorite CMS of web developers all over the world.

Not only it comes with unlimited features, but also gives you full freedom in terms of customization. If you are planning a build a site on WordPress to launch your company on web, it is better to develop a responsive website; because Google clearly mentioned a few months ago that mobile responsiveness of a site is a serious SERP ranking factor now.

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So, how do you build a responsive site using WordPress? The biggest advantage of WordPress is that you don’t have to be a genius programmer to create a site. Basic knowledge of CSS and coding is good enough to build a user friendly site.  Let’s take a look at the step by step process of developing a responsive WordPress site.

Start with brainstorm: Assemble your core team and discuss the things you want to place in your site. It can be anything from the search tool to the payment gateway. Once you have a list of the things you need to add in your site, create a storyboard to visualize the look and feel of your site. For example, how the homepage will look, what color you will use, how many pages will be there etc?

Build the mobile UI first: Since fitting the large layout in mobile screen is a challenging task, it is a wise idea to create the mobile layout first. This will help you understand and overcome the restrictions that mobile interface brings. Once you have the mobile UI, you have a clear idea about what will work for all the devices.

Use prototype software: You can utilize Adobe Edge Reflow to design various layouts such as desktop, tablet and mobile. Once created, you can export the CSS to Adobe Dreamweaver for next level of development.

Use Adobe Photoshop: You can now use Adobe Photoshop to create the final UI of desktop, mobile and tablet version. You can transfer the Photoshop file to “Reflow” for refinement and final touches. When you are happy with the output, simply transfer the CSS to Dreamweaver to complete the design.

Install plug-ins: WordPress offers lots of plug-ins which enhance the usability of your site and make it search engine friendly. You can install Akismet, Google XML Sitemaps and many more plug-ins to make your responsive website user friendly.

Pay attention to navigation: When you are developing a site that adapts any screen size, navigation formation becomes even more difficult. Whether you opt for drop down or simple menu style; make sure that the menu buttons are large enough. Don’t forget that people will touch the buttons when they will access your site from smartphones and tablets. Hence, making the navigation thumb friendly is absolutely essential.

Optimize the images: Images add life to a site but too many heavy images also consume lots of bandwidth and thus make the site slow for mobile internet users. Though you are developing a responsive site, not a mobile site, you have to remember the issues faced by phone and tablet users to offer the optimum experience. You should optimize the images before uploading them on website to make it fast.

Test before launch: Before you launch your site for the common users, first test it to ensure error free functionality. If the end users find glitches in your site, for example- the site is not opening in mobile browsers or fonts are too tiny on smartphones, they will get annoyed and may never return to your site.

Follow the steps mentioned above and you will be able to build a responsive website using WordPress. Here is a final suggestion for you. In case you don’t want to go through the web design process, buying a premium WordPress theme is not a bad idea. You can tweak the theme as per your requirements to get the customized look and launch your site very fast.

Author Bio: David Sanders is a web developer based in New York. He has 10 years of experience in this field and during his free time he often visits powerslides.com to create new presentations for his prospective clients.

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