Not “Just another WordPress site“
1 Minute Average
On average you have less than a minute to turn a user into a client before they leave for good, this conversion is equality dependant on both the content and how its laid out. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to this if you are developing to proper web design standards.
The most amount of time spent on the project is with the CSS. Once you instal WordPress the default description of your site is “Just another WordPress site”, and that says it all. Unless you change the underlying styling of a site you will end up with the same development as tens-of-thousands of other sites. My standard of responsive design goes beyond just simply re-sizing elements, and each layout is tested and corrected against a multitude of screen dimensions including graceful degradation styling for mobile. The more time a developer spends writing CSS, the more unique a site becomes.
The next part is optimising media and the page as a whole for the web, this is both for the benefit of users and SEO. The majority of this time is spent optimising media not only for the website, but for its section on a page. It also includes adding meta data to media items for SEO and accessibly. This will noticeably increase loading times for pages and has been a corner stone of good SEO since the dawn of the search engines.
Standard SEO practices are next. Apart from you and myself, only one type of viewer will read your entire site cover to cover, search engines. There are many, many ways to mark-up your content to improve SEO. At the very least this means going through each page to make sure the CMS is not adding more than one H1 tag per page, title are actually titles elements, improving key-word density, and adding all the header information exclusively to each page and post. The more time to spend on SEO the more I can optimise the website copy for not only key-words, but phrases.
If you want to rank well for competitive phrases in search engines it takes time, skill and effort. There are no short-cuts without serious ramifications such as being de-indexed.