No exp. designer, client, Wordpress site &...Wix?

I have a client who has an website for their local business that they’ve had for almost 20 years. It’s not well-designed visually, it’s cluttered, and there’s tacky things like the main logo that has been apparently scanned in low res from a photo and then seemingly cut out in Photoshop with the background of the photo still visible! The whole site, while functional, is just messy, cluttered and doesn’t even look “legit.” I personally wouldn’t feel comfortable placing orders through them online, although they have a good reputation and a lot of high-volume online sales.

So the client came to me asking to make them a new website. I don’t know anything about HTML, coding, Wordpress, nothing. Client knows this and said they’d be fine if I could just make them a website on Wix, as they really dislike what they currently have. Money seems to be an issue, which is why they’re willing to go with me, someone who does not make websites, instead someone with knowledge and experience in this particular realm.

Now, I’m looking into Wix, Wordpress, site builders, “SEO,” “ranking on Google,” etc to educate myself, and the client, before going further. I don’t want to take their money and stick them with a site that they’re going to have issues with in regards to things like search results. The client is willing to risk it to just have a better looking site. I still don’t feel comfortable with that, as they no nothing about how the internet works, and I don’t want them to find out the hard way.

So I got to thinking:
Wait a minute. They already have a website that they own and was built with Wordpress. If that website is already connected to the domain, and presumably the previous designer or web person already did what they needed to to do in order to get this website and their business “ranking” and all that on Google and other search engines, why not just redesign that one?

Could I try my hand at redesigning what they already have now on their Wordpress-built site, instead of creating a potentially limiting and faulty Wix site? Keep in mind that they want to also ditch their third-party e-commerce page and handle their e-commerce directly using Wix, which I know is an additional monthly fee ON TOP of all the other Wix fees. It sounds better in the long run to just redesign their current website, cancel their third-party company that currently handles their e-commerce, and get WooCommerce.

Back to me: I know nothing of coding, WordPress, etc. Is it even realistic that I could redesign their existing Wordpress site, changing colors, replacing stock photos with real ones, and stuff like swapping out the ugly low-res JPEG logo with a high-res Illustrated-designed logo that I made? All in a decent amount of time? Say, within a month, give or take? Or is the learning curve just too steep for an absolute beginner in this particular case?

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.

It seems as if you are in the correct realm of thinking, but if money is their concern…well a better more legit website would help with that. It seems to me they may be a little cheap if they don’t want any external help with high-volume of sales. You could work with a web dev, or another company to try to get some experience and knowledge in that field. If they insist on doing it in-house…

You don’t need to know coding with a wordpress site but it can be helpful. I’ve always used wordpress in conjunction with elementor which is a decent WYSIWYG but its not the greatest for SEO but that can be managed with plugin’s such as YoastSEO.

I’d really stick to the basics and make sure you use proper naming conventions, and alt text on photos.
If you have no experience, I’d try to keep it really simple. Home page, About Us, and Shop all with a CTA for contact/ordering.

I’ve found the native wordpress to be more of a hassle than elementor.

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Thanks for the advice. Especially in regards to "proper naming conventions, “alt text on photos,” and all that. I didn’t know anything about that.

I took your advice, while also doing some research on SEO, Wordpress, ranking, etc, to understand what’s at stake. Yeah, the Wix site doesn’t seem like it’ll cut it, even at a local level. I explained what I’ve learned so far to the client, but translated that into layman’s terms, so that they can make a more education decision and not get taken by unscrupulous people if they choose to go with someone else. Apparently, the previous web people they had managing their site and who designed it didn’t mention anything about competing with other sites, competing with search terms, needing to constantly add to their site to get people coming back in order to rank higher on Google, etc, none of that. So they’ve had a static website for like 10+ years.

Anyways, the client actually agrees with what I’m saying and wants to keep me on while getting someone in web developing to collaborate and realize what I’ve given them so far: logos, graphics, photos, fonts, etc. So it works out for everyone it looks like.

Thanks Billyjeanplxiv!

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When you get more advanced you could try to develop a site that works well with google amp. They really like when mobile pages are optimized for use on their platform which…in turn helps SEO.

You’ve taken your first steps into a larger world!

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TLDR: You can do it and bill accordingly. Good luck!

I’ve only made a handful of websites (wordpress mostly, none hard coded) and it is totally doable within a month if you have all needed content upfront and pay for a Wordpress drag and drop content builder. (Elementor, Beaver Builder, Divi, Bridge - uses Qode I think, etc.) Personally, I love Divi or Beaver Builder.

BUT please make sure you are billing your client accordingly. It’s up to you how you want to handle it. Just keep in mind how many hours you put in (including research and education, the build of the website (including if you need to edit or create new content), and any extras the client wants for their site (to me this includes SEO, updates to their e-commerce setup, additional plugins, email setup or migration, etc.))

For example you could sell the website as a basic site without those additions or as a comprehensive package that is of basic website and includes specific additions of the client choosing.

But be careful with SEO. You can certainly add to the site and set it up so the site ranks but it could turn into an additional full time job to make someone’s website rank on the first google page. Even then I wouldn’t promise anything since your new to SEO.

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I don’t like bumping old threads like this, but I didn’t want to create a new one since it seems releated.

I’ve tried to utilize all the great advice I’ve been given by everyone here, but now I have ran into an issue that’s concerning and I was hoping that I could maybe get some advice on how to proceed further:

I’ve successfully reworked/redesigned their website, and it came out pretty good, exceptionally good compared to what they had before. However, it turns out that they’ve trusted incredibly sketchy people to handle things prior to me, and apparently, continue to do so in regards to other aspects of their online presence. I’ve already spoken directly to the tech support of the various big names we use for the website, and they all pretty much confirm my concerns that yes, these actions by other people handling the online aspects are NOT normal or on the up and up. And yet, when I share this with my client, they seem unwilling to believe this.

I don’t know much about ownership of domains, websites, and exactly how all these things work behind the scenes. I’m focused on graphic design, and now, starting to get a handle on Word Press. Is there a person or place I can speak to about my concerns without putting the details out there? Someone who’s knowledgable about this, so when I let my client know what’s going on, I can rely on someone’s expertise, and not just my own common sense?


Can you be more specific for both of these? No need to drop names but without knowing what you and the techs are seeing as sketchy, we can’t know how to advise.