In Part I, we shared ideas for deciding what you want in a WordPress project. Here, we’ll show you how to get what you want.

You’ve done some up-front work to get a better handle on what you want the site to be like. Now, we’ll show you how to communicate that to a project team.

This process requires a bit more up-front work, which might seem annoying. But it fits two familiar, proven rules of project management:

  • Go slow (early) to go fast (overall).
  • The only point at which you can save time in a project is at the beginning.

So follow these steps to communicate your ideas to the project team, and to keep things on track:

  1. Write a project brief. A project brief is a brief description of what the site is for and what it will accomplish. It gives a measuring stick for everything else; any new idea can be assessed by, “does it help us accomplish the project brief?”. This reduces the time spent talking and increases the time spent working.
  2. Create a wireframe. Sketch out a rough vision of what the site should look like; use a pencil, and use handwriting. This kind of rough sketch gives room for people to be creative, while communicating your core vision for  the site. It also helps you understand how designers work.
  3. Suggest a color scheme. One problem with typical WordPress themes is that they have a color scheme embedded in them – so the structure you like might come with a color scheme you don’t. Developers can change this easily, though, if you give them a good steer, by providing a specific color scheme.
  4. Cite a few suitable themes. Once you have a wireframe, you can find a few WordPress themes that come close to it, and encourage others to do the same. Again, this puts your general vision of what you want in specific terms that everyone can discuss.
  5. List the plug-ins you want. WordPress is famous for its thousands of plug-ins. List the ones you want – and have others contribute their own ideas. Then cut it down to the four to six or so that people will actually pay attention to on a typical site. If that leaves needed functionality on the table, identify ways to support it in the site itself. And if there’s a plug-in you need that doesn’t exist already, have it created.

It’s really that simple. WordPress is a wonderful framework for getting attractive, useful, relatively bug-free sites up quickly and easily. By setting out a clear project brief, and focusing on a wireframe, color scheme, suitable themes, and specific plug-ins, you’ll greatly enhance your chances of getting a Web site you’ll love – and that your users will too.