WordPress is a well-known standard as a blogging platform but its use for websites has grown dramatically in the past five years. In fact, in 2021 there were over 455 million WordPress websites out of the 1.3 billion websites in the world and growing, so they can’t be ignored.
WordPress is an open-source platform which means it’s available to anyone to use, to modify or update, free in a lot of cases or at low cost. When it first came out there was a massive debate amongst web developers and it was probably fair to say, it wasn’t seen in a favourable light. But there are many benefits WordPress can offer, as the statistics suggest, particularly for small businesses and not for profit organisations, so I thought it would be useful to document some of the pros and cons of using the WordPress platform as your website.
Because it’s open-source software it can offer you a much more cost effective option for a website, so it is very attractive for small businesses and not for profit organisations.
The content management system is generally very good and very easy to use so people with very little web knowledge can pick it up fairly easily. There are plug ins and themes available to help web developers provide just about everything, from eCommerce functionality to an online gallery. And because there are lots of themes to choose from, if design isn’t your strong point, it can help to get you started.
Because WordPress is constantly being updated by lots of people, WordPress websites are popular with the main search engines, particularly Google; it just eats up WordPress websites. WordPress websites can often rank well even if they are fairly new with little effort, which is a big bonus for small businesses. There are even SEO plug ins which help you make your site even more effective.
So there are lots of positives, and here at FIG we’ve been working with WordPress for years, initially as a blogging tool but now most of our websites are built using WordPress. All of our sites are still bespoke, built from the ground up to unique designs around our client’s needs, but the WordPress functionality means that our clients get an easy-to-use content management system and affordable plugin options when they want more functionality.
But as always there are two sides to every story and WordPress does have a few issues that need to be taken into account.
Because it’s open-source software, WordPress can be very attractive to potential hackers and if it is your main business website you should be somewhat cautious. We offer our clients ‘hacker alert’ which ensures vulnerabilities are locked down as soon as possible and we install SSL certificates and work with secure hosting services. We also manage our client’s updates to ensure our websites are up to date and sustainable. That said WordPress website are never fully secure.
Sometimes the themes available through WordPress can be a bit restrictive, particularly on the design side. All of our WordPress sites at FIG have been designed using bespoke themes built by our developers rather than off the shelf themes, to get around this issue, yet still offering great value. But it is something to bear in mind.
There are a variety of eCommerce plug ins available with WordPress, the most common and most effective is WooCommerce but often you don’t get the functionality you’d expect from an eCommerce platform such as Magento or Shopify. It depends on your needs. WooCommerce will certainly offer a small business a very cost effective way of selling online. The limitations will only start to become apparent when your business grows and you have a lot of products to manage.
Overall the general opinion is that WordPress is a great tool for cost effective websites, only limited by your imagination (or plug ins). We’re definitely in the WordPress camp!
At FIG we use what is most appropriate for our client’s needs and budget. If your need is a small business website, with the ability to blog and rank well without spending lots of money, then WordPress is absolutely the perfect choice. Many of our clients want greater functionality, such as a database driven sites, eCommerce platforms, and always want a bespoke design. We still use WordPress as our platform of choice in these cases but we design and build from the ground up.
As a marketing company with a team of professionals, from copywriters, designers, developers to marketeers, we consider a web project from every aspect – usability, purpose, messaging, SEO, design and security – a website that will help your business grow.
Whether you are considering a new website or a website redesign, come and talk through your web project, give us a call on 01457 857111 or take a look at our web portfolio.