6 WordPress Customization Tips to design like a Pro

WordPress is a great platform to make amazing websites. While reading my favorite blogs, I came across article of Managewp with title "3 Simple Tips That’ll Have You Customizing WordPress like a Web Design Pro". Although Nathan give great suggestions but I found that article somewhat incomplete. So today I decided to complete that post here, first I decided to post a comment on his post, but the comment was too long that I made a post out of that.  So here are major consideration for designing a WordPress website and few WordPress customization tips :-

#1 Layout

A website's layout describes number of elements and it's placement. Layout is like blueprint of your website. As you can't make a house without a blueprint, you can't make a website without a blueprint. Even while making a WordPress website by using a theme, you should know the basic layout. Every website has its own needs. As in case of Designrapid.com I need medium size thumbnails ( 600 *230 pixels )  with center alignment but my theme had smaller thumbnails with left alignment. In case your theme is too far from your desired layout, its time to search for another theme. In case you are not able to find anything that suits your need then its time to make it from zero or hire someone to make it for you. Layout is the base, more good it is, less you need customization to your WordPress website.
youtube layout

Go can read this fantastic post from Instantshift to read more about website's layout and wireframing.

#2 Navigation

Navigation is an important part of any WordPress website. It should easy to navigate to all parts of your website. Navigation is the most important part of your website. As in this website I used separate CSS for each category. Using images in navigation menu is in trend. There is no need to use heavy jQuery in navigation menu, CSS3 is quite powerful and can replace JavaScript. I have already "Three principles for navigation menu", you can find it on Designzzz

#3 Responsive design vs Mobile theme

This is hot topic around the world today. Although there are endless plugins available on WordPress plugin repository to make a mobile site of your WordPress website still outcome of these plugin is not satisfactory. One of the plugin I am using Wptouch, although very popular, it looks really bad on mobile devices. I always recommend to use responsive themes, mobile is the future of internet so invest few bucks in responsive WordPress themes. There are endless WordPress themes are available in various marketplaces.

#4 Branding

Branding doesn't only means having a logo on header, it means a combination logo, favicon, color combination and further the author or owner. Branding is a process to find place in target audience mind so that they can become direct visitors instead of referrals. One of the biggest myth is getting a logo made by a freelancer is very expensive. Trust me I spent nothing to get the Designrapid logo, that too with 2 revisions. You can find people on facebook or fiverr to make one for you for $5. Give a look to Wpbegginner, this website, after watching this for 10 seconds, close the window. What you can remember? It's the color combination and use of orange color everywhere. Whenever anybody think about Wpbeginner, that orange color comes into mind. Twitter did their branding by use of their logo. You can make brand of your website by using related color combinations, interesting logo or just making it simple yet useful.

#5 Speed up your WordPress website

Speed matters a lot. So while customizing your WordPress website, it is very important remove useless widgets and plugins. Slow speed of your would irritate visitors and thus would lead to high bounce rate. Websites that loads quickly have edge over other in search rankings. Before optimizing your website for speed, it is very important find matrices on which you are going to measure it. Although page load time is the important factor but you should consider Google page speed and Yslow. Thanks to Gtmetix, you can find them all at one place.

designrapid speed

Simplest way to find plugins that are slowing down your website is using P3profiler by Godaddy. This plugin reveals the culprits. Number of plugins doesn't matter but there are few plugins that slow down the WordPress websites.

While optimizing this website, I was not was not successful even after removing many plugins. Using "Network" tool from "Inspect elements" in Google Chrome was a life saver. I was using "Custom CSS" from Jetpack, that slow down my website by whooping 1 sec. Further I did not include some of my theme image files in theme folder, I was using them from media library. Within few minutes speed of my website dropped from 8.47 seconds to 2.47 seconds. After further tweaking it is now less than 1.36 seconds. You would be surprised to know this website is hosting on HostGator shared web hosting.

speed up wordpress

I will write a detailed post on this topic, it's time to go deep into design part.

#6 Dive into colors

Choosing right blend and pallets of colors is important for any website design. I love to use lot of white spaces with blend of some dark colors. In this website you can see i used lot of white spaces with black and green. Using too many colors makes a good design weird. Limited colors should be used with right blend. Following things should be considered before choosing colors schemes :-

1. What is the purpose of website

You should find answer of whom you are designing and what is the purpose of website. Is it for a gaming company, then it should be dark, as it is the gaming industry culture  industry culture to use dark colors in gaming websites and marketing materials. Although there is the exception of Mario series.  You can read details about using color psychology here.

2. More white spaces

Simple is always beautiful. Using white spaces helps dark colors come out nicely and beautifully. Doing too much with your design makes it ugly. Try to use less than 4 colors in your design, although industry experts suggests 5 colors but in my opinion 5 is too much.

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  1. Great post ramandeep sir!!... i am very happy that this post was not to be made as a comment or else .... i could't know the main aspects :D

  2. Ramandeep Singh8 June 2013 at 10:20

    I wrote the main aspects of making a website more user friendly and thus seo friendly :)

  3. really nice ,keep up the good work

  4. Yogesh Mankani10 July 2013 at 03:07

    One of the best article I have seen on WordPress customizations. You have written each point in a very detailed manner that will not help only the advanced WordPress users but can be easily done by newbies also.

    Keep it up buddy and waiting for more informed articles on your blog.