Accidentally breaking a website for a client can break the relationship itself. How many times have you royally fudged up a website for a client? Whether or not it's fixable doesn't matter if the trust and reputation of a client is tarnished. It’s not a fun game to play, but if you’ve ever built a site without a WordPress staging environment, odds are good that you’ve had at least a couple of doozies…
And let's face it, there is almost nothing worse than that heart sinking moment when you’ve crafted the Rosetta Stone of websites, but your client sees it as just another rock…
So let's grab the med kit and see if we can nurse that heart back to health by adding a staging environment to your design process.
What is a Staging Site?
In essence, a staging site is a perfect duplicate of a live website. This allows web designers and developers to manipulate, customize, and test new features on a demo version of the live site, without making any actual changes to the live page. The best part? If you create or revise a draft that you love, you can easily push these changes to the live site and minimize the risk of downtime or outages.
So basically, WordPress staging is the best thing since Marky Zuck’s decided to launch "thefacebook.com" as a college sophomore. Okay, I might be overselling it, but if you’re in the world of web hosting/design, then WordPress staging is going to be more valuable than any “hot or not” site that some Harvard punk threw together.
Staging is like breathing, you can’t live without it.
There are a few different ways to set-up a staging site. The easiest way to stage your site is through your web host. And if they don’t offering staging services, then you should probably just give us a call at Vendasta…
Staging in the Web Development Process
Staging can play an active role in website design and creation before a site is even up and running. Developers and website strategists take advantage of staging throughout the entire process of building and maintaining sites for clients—drastically improving the entire web development process.
This is how WordPress staging would fit into your web design process:
- Ideation. Determining the goal, scope and purpose of a site for your clients. Right out of the gate, you can also use staging to draft and iterate on the design of a site once these elements have been mapped out.
- Design. Building out a sitemap, generating content and the visual elements of the site for your clients to approve.
- Testing. Naturally you are going to want to test your site with crawlers as well as from a user experience standpoint before you go live. Staging can be implemented at this level of the process as well to try and find any issues with plugins or themes that might exist before the site goes live. It’s much easier to be proactive than reactive in web design.
- Launch! Hitting the go button once you’re ready to push your staging site live.
- Revisions and updates. Websites are living things, so you’re going to be managing, updating and revising these sites often throughout their lifespan. The best way to do this is in a staging environment. Staging allows you to draft your ideas and get customer feedback before you make major (or minor) changes to a live site.
WordPress staging fits in everywhere.
Key Reasons to Use A WordPress Staging Site
With most websites becoming increasingly intricate and complex, having a staging environment for your WordPress site is a vital way to cover your tail when creating drafts or performing revisions.
1. You Don’t Have to Worry About Breaking Sh*t
Breaking stuff is always a bad thing, but it’s especially bad on the internet. That’s because Google, and most of your site traffic are kinda impatient and judgey… If you do manage to break something, whether it be with some funky code, or just a WordPress update gone awry (which has been known to happen), there can be some serious consequences for your clients.
Here are a few:
- Live interruptions for customers or prospects that might be browsing the site.
- Start to build a bad rep (not like in elementary school when it was cool). Downtime, outages, and interruptions can all contribute to a negative image for your clients if broken sites become a little too frequent.
- Damage to SEO. This might be the scariest of all, being that the rank of your clients sites is a primary determiner in prospect volume, conversions, and sales that their sites are able to generate.
2. It Allows You to Build Better Sites
It’s pretty simple. The ability to edit and revise a draft of a site in WordPress is going to lead to a better finished product. Staging also creates an opportune environment for collaboration with your clients, allowing you to communicate ideas in a visual and realistic manner.
3. Easy to Set-Up
Most web hosts have made it incredibly easy to set-up staging for your site. For example, with our web hosting solution (Website Pro), staging can be enabled from the homepage of your dashboard, so it literally requires one click. It’s almost as easy as getting click baited by your favorite emotion evoking headlines.
4. Design Environment for Content Changes
Some sites are highly intricate and design-heavy. If you are working on one of these for a client without a staging environment, making changes on the fly can be really difficult and give your grey hair count a major boost.
Staging allows you to perform major modifications to your website, play with the size and positioning of visual elements, and more, all within the safety of a demo window. And the best part? If you love the end result and have tested it to make sure that it’s bug free, you can instantly publish the staging environment changes to your live site. This means zero downtime and zero stress.
Who Benefits from A WordPress Staging Site?
The short answer is everyone. We know that staging is directly tied to better quality websites, and better websites are better for everyone involved in the value chain. But here are the major stakeholders:
Web Developers, Marketing Agencies & Media Groups
WordPress staging is simplicity at it’s finest. The addition of a staging element was engineered with web developers and media groups in mind.
A staging environment is a critical feature for a serious WordPress development shop. It serves as a place to test, change, and get approval from stakeholders before rolling sites live. It can be a source of insurance with clients that haven't paid (changes won't go live until you pay your bill Bob!) and a huge timesaver in the development process. Knowing you have a safe place to make your changes without breaking your live site is a must have.
The key reasons why devs, agencies, and media groups benefit are as follows:
- Efficiency. Although staging sites may add a couple extra steps to the traditional design process when moving forward, it prevents ALL of the steps backwards that you have to take when a client deconstructs all of your hard work.
- Insurance. As Adam mentioned, staging can also be a means of insuring that your clients aren’t being reluctant to pay their bills, like our good pal Bob.
- Freedom. The design process can get messy at times (but that’s also where lots of the magic happens), and WordPress staging just gives developers and media groups a little more freedom to do what they do best—design without restrictions.
WordPress staging functionality is a large contributor to an improved consumer experience in the web design process. Some key benefits for consumers when their marketing service provider is employing a staging process include:
- Faster service. Less time spent going back and forth between you and your clients leads to faster changes that better meet the needs of your clients.
- Better results. When clients can see a living version of the production/modifications that you’re working, it is much easier for them to give feedback, and for you to accommodate their needs and wants.
- Greater involvement. Staging allows you to foster the spirit of collaboration with your clients and gives you a means to receive active feedback from a live draft of any site that you’re working on.
By adding staging to your web design process, you can better serve your clients by fostering the spirit of collaboration in your interactions.
Reselling White-Label Web Hosting, Creation, and Maintenance with Vendasta
Vendasta offers WordPress staging functionality through our renowned Website Pro hosting solution—managed hosting on Google Cloud Platform. With our world-class infrastructure, your sites will always be secured and protected, Google-fast, and scale to fit any business.
Why should you switch to hosting with Website Pro?
- WordPress. Our hosting is exclusively through WordPress, the most popular Content Management System (CMS) in the world. It gives developers and non-developers alike the customizations and flexibility to build sites of all sizes and varieties—by your own means.
- Single login access through our highly secured business center. You won’t have to worry about anyone brute-forcing their way into any of your sites again because our login portal is much more secure than an individual WordPress login.
- Free SSL and site migrations. Worried about all the hassle involved in switching hosts? We make it so you don’t have to by completing the migration for you, free of charge, and we’re even throwing in SSL certifications.
- More than just hosting. With Vendasta, you get access to streamlined reporting, one-click set-ups, and access to the wealth of website products and add ins that can be found in the Vendasta Marketplace.
Ready to start staging your sites with our state-of-the-art web hosting solution? You’re only a click away.