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What’s the Difference Between WordPress Design & Development?

June 25th, 2023

If you’re like many who are in the stage of finding someone to help with a WordPress website, you may find different terminology used on service provider websites confusing. Figuring out whether you need a designer or a developer or coming to the realization that not everyone does both can be a struggle. Let’s take a look at possible project scenarios and whether they only need a WordPress developer or if a designer may need to be involved, as well.

You likely just need a WordPress developer if:

  • You already have a design showing what your website should look like
    This is not the same thing as having a site you can give as a reference for what you want your site to look like. Even with that kind of example, you still likely need a designer. This is more referring to having something like a Figma file or XD file or comparable showing exactly what you need built. If you have that, you just need to find a developer who can create custom themes from provided design files.
  • You want to convert a site from a different service to a WordPress site and keep the same design
    If your site already exists on another service, like Wix or Squarespace, and you want to move that site to WordPress but retain the same look & feel, you would just need to find a developer comfortable with migrating sites to WordPress.
  • You want to customize an existing theme
    If you’re planning to use an existing WordPress theme to power your website and the only customizations you want to make to it are minor, you likely wouldn’t need a designer. However, you would want to look for developers who are willing to do theme modifications. Some developers, like myself, specialize in custom work so don’t take on those types of projects.
  • You just need some troubleshooting on an existing site
    If you have a website that is largely how you want it but you’re just wanting to fix a couple issues or do something comparable, you just need to find a developer to assist. Knowing the basics about your site like what theme you’re running are helpful in finding someone who is the best fit.

You probably need a WordPress designer if:

  • You only have references sites that are similar to what you’re looking for in a site, but no actual design yet
    A designer would work with you to look at your project requirements, your goals, and the sites you find appealing then create a custom design for your project that meets your needs.
  • You want to migrate your site to WordPress and change its design in the process
    Anytime you are looking to change your website’s design, you’re likely going to need to involve a designer, and not just a developer.
  • You want to make large functionality additions to an existing website
    This would depend on what kind of functionality you’re adding, but if you’re adding something like a store to a website that does not have one yet, a designer would likely need to be involved unless the theme you’re running already has layouts for these pieces.

Understanding that there is a difference between design and development and applying that to your own project’s needs will ensure you’re looking for the right services to meet your needs.

Do you have a design that you need built for WordPress or Shopify? Need an existing project converted into WordPress with the same look & feel it has currently? I’d love to chat about how I can help make sure your project is a success! Let’s build something together!

MORE: WordPress Development

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