August 4, 2014 / Leave a Comment
Someone said to me recently they wouldn’t consider a WordPress site because they all look the same … and many web design companies don’t offer a WordPress site because then how could they justify charging thousands of dollars for a site that only begins to function like WordPress (for free) out of the box.
First let me just say, I understand how most WP sites include header and footer sections, with content and sidebar in the middle. This is a tried and true web page layout that functions well with search engines. A web layout with logo in the top left header with contact info in the header right will return higher search engine rankings than a graphic homepage with little or no plain text content for google to index.
Here are a few ways to make your highly functional WordPress site look beautiful, unique and most importantly reflect your personal, business or products brand personality.
Make custom graphics + banners
The header section of the website is my favorite way to incorporates one of the client’s photos, some Photoshop filtering, and a custom vector graphic. Whenever possible I engage the talents of digital artist Josh Rivers to create a custom illustration or background texture.
Choose unique fonts
Tired of seeing everyone use the same google fonts? Yeah, me too! For a small licensing fee (usually under $50), you can get web-ready fonts for use on your site.
Use your own imagery
When I first started out, I used stock imagery for every site. Now I only use it as a last resort. I’d much rather use personal imagery to really make a site feel unique. But make sure your images are great. Don’t post fuzzy, blurred or questionable selfies. Make sure your photos are sized correctly to work in your page layout and optimized for web viewing. This to me is how a website is defined as either having a professional look or being “homemade”, while I’m always a fan DIY, you don’t want this on your website if your looking for credibility in the business community.
Use icons instead of bitmap images
One of the newest tricks in my design arsenal is to use icons in place of bitmap graphics. This free service fontastic.com – allows you to add vector icons to your site.
Not only does this help speed up your site (this technique loads a lot faster than using images) and make it retina friendly – it allows you to change size, scale and color of the icon instead of creating multiple graphics. Not only does this speed up development time, it also makes it easier to update and maintain your site in the future.