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How to Have a WordPress Website that Looks Like Mine

Here are the details of my recent WordPress redesign and why.

Every time I change my site design, I get asked about the products and services I use. Introducing website version: July/2021.

My last change was in January of 2019, so this is the longest I've gone without switching this site's design. When I do a switcheroo, I share with you what the bones of my site are as of right now.

I always review my stats (I wish I could do it more) before a redesign to focus on visitor intent — not just what I want them to know. This data contributes to the homepage layout and menus that cater to that.

The homepage is only a scroll-and-a-half (one screenshot and half of another) featuring only the most sought-after info. Same with the menu –not every page, area, or topic that exists — just the top areas of interest.

New Look & Focus

I never know when I'm going to flip my look. So no matter how much in love I was with the latest theme, it will eventually start bugging me. In addition, this time, I needed an updated theme that would cater not only to the layout that the data indicated visitors were looking for, but we also have the Google Page Experience Update algo rolling out through August to consider. And let's not forget WordPress 5.8 coming out later this month.

Over the last 18 months or so, probably due to the pandemic, I noticed a direct shift in the type of clients seeking me out. There was also a transformation in the level of support they wanted and knew they needed to succeed.

The difference was so dramatic that I go in the direction that the data and direct communications dictate. However, this approach required that I cut a lot off the home page and menus to make things simpler and more focused. You can click on the site image above to see specific notes about the changes I made.

PREMIUM WORDPRESS THEME:

I am currently sporting:

  • Kadence Theme. It's free, but I always go for the Pro and Premium/Membership (aff) versions so that I can have everything at my fingertips and the support to back it up. In my view worth every penny.

Previously on TheIStudio.com:

I used to exclusively use StudioPress' Genesis Framework with a Child Theme for all my sites and recommend the same to my clients. Until I discovered Kadence, you can read about why here.

The Genesis and Child Theme combo is still a viable and recommended solution. However, I tend to move forward when I've been in the same space for a while.

KADENCE PLUGIN LINEUP:

  • Kadence Blocks – PRO Extension
  • Kadence Blocks – Gutenberg Blocks for Page Builder Features
  • Kadence Custom Fonts
  • Kadence Pro – Premium addon for the Kadence Theme

PREMIUM WORDPRESS PLUGINS FROM WPMUDEV

  • Hummingbird Pro: Hummingbird zips through my site finding new ways to make it load faster, from file compression and minification to browser caching – because when it comes to page speed, every millisecond counts.
  • Smush Pro: Reduces image file sizes, improves performance, and boosts my SEO using the WPMU DEV WordPress Smush API.
  • Forminator Pro: Capture user information (as detailed as you like), engage users with interactive polls that show real-time results and graphs, “no wrong answer” Facebook-style quizzes, and knowledge tests.
  • WPMU Dashboard: Provides a control panel for all WPMU Member plugins and a support interface.

PREMIUM WORDPRESS PLUGINS

  • Anti-Spam by CleanTalk:  Premium anti-spam plugin. My forms were getting hammered. This plugin put an end to those bots. No comment spam, no registration spam, no contact spam, protects any WordPress forms.
  • Pretty Links Beginner Edition: Shrink, track and share any URL using your website and brand. This plugin also provided insight into the products and services site visitors were most interested in.
  • Real Media Library: Organize uploaded media in folders, collections, and galleries: A file manager for WordPress. Media management made easy — love it.
  • Yoast Premium SEO: Cannot live without the Yoast readability guide. Combined with my Grammarly subscription (browser extension), I know both have made me a better writer.

PLUGINS FROM THE WORDPRESS PLUGIN DIRECTORY

The above is the basic setup and what I have integrated as of now. I'm still tweaking as I play with Kadence as it is so feature-rich on a block-level that I've yet to discover all the options available. This is the kind of stuff I call fun.

At your service,

WordPress Consultant Judith