50 Shades of Wordpress: Is It Worth a Try?
In all of the World Wide Web WordPress is not a new thing. This website creation software is used quite a lot. Some people overpraise its widespread use and possibilities to power almost all known types of websites. Some consider it rather primitive and absolutely inapplicable software for building websites. Are those two sides of the same coin? Or is the truth somewhere in the middle? Let’s figure it out together!
You probably heard something about WordPress or even worked with it. Thanks to a large community of contributors, this software keeps growing and is globally well-known. Whether you are a tech-savvy person or a newcomer in the world of Internet technologies, this article is meant to help you hammer out the facts about WordPress and set the record straight. We will talk about WordPress as a web tool and content management system and its usage in web design and development. We won’t provide any convincing arguments in favour of WordPress or against it. You will find only verified facts about it below.
Back to the Roots of Wordpress
So, what is WordPress? What are its roots and where does its popularity come from? We will try to cover all these points in this paragraph.
WordPress is a free of charge open-source content management system (CMS) developed with the help of PHP and MySQL. It was presented to the public in May 2003 when two founders Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little decided to build a new platform on top of b2/cafelog (a pretty popular and promising blogging solution of that time). With significant improvements, the first versions of WordPress were accepted well by the community. Shortly, another important update of WordPress plugin architecture was introduced. It allowed embedding existing plugins, developing new ones and sharing them with the community. Because of the high potential of this software, WordPress development gained popularity. Its key success factors were flexibility, stability and promising future in terms of usage, further support and upgrades.
The crucial moment in the history of WordPress was when Moveable Type, a market leader among blogging tools of that time, announced new licensing terms. The majority of users were not satisfied with them and started actively searching for a new suitable blogging solution. It resulted in an impressive increase in the number of WordPress blog users. Along with such a strong bloggers interest, WordPress gained pace in its development thanks to the help of the community of contributors. That is indeed a great example of open source power - tens of thousands of talented people invested their time and knowledge into creating WordPress as we see it now.
WordPress was initially supposed to be used only in blogging. Because of its overwhelming popularity, developers started overlying the basic program with heavy plugins and themes to make it applicable in different areas. So, as they say, nowadays WordPress programming capabilities allow building such websites as e-commerce, membership sites, online business directories etc.
As far as interest in WordPress development service exists, the new solutions for this platform are coming. No one can tell for sure where it will get us after some time, but we should expect new use cases as the community grows.
50 Shades of WordPress
It is time to talk about capabilities of WordPress web development from different perspectives. Going deeply into statistics, we see that more than 27% of websites run based on this CMS. Quite impressive market share, right? Following this, every 3rd website on the Internet is actually powered by WordPress.
It is not necessary to search for specific WordPress website examples as numerous celebrities actively use it for their PR campaigns. Would you be surprised to found out that TechCrunch is also developed with WordPress? Along with it, here are five more popular websites which managed to make the most of this software:
- Facebook Newsroom
- BBC America
- Bloomberg Professional
- Flickr Blog
What makes WordPress so attractive to people who are interested in web development services? Below are its major advantages:
- Free of charge software for designing websites that is easy to install and use
- A large community of engaged users and contributors
- A wide variety of templates for website graphic design
- Possibilities to extend website functionality with the help of available plugins (free and paid ones)
- Easy and understandable website administration
For sure, affordable web design and development are the biggest advantages of this software. So if you tend to use WordPress, you should know the way how to do it correctly.
There are two kinds of WordPress websites: hosted at WordPress.com and self-hosted (WordPress.org). They seem to be equal but there is a conceptual difference between them. At WordPress.com you can host your website for free on their server and under their domain while at WordPress.org you can download different WordPress files and tools to create your own website to host on your server.
And yes, a free WordPress website is not a fiction. So, what’s the catch? WordPress.com is a platform which offers free hosted websites and technical support which means no headaches with maintaining your own website. It may perfectly suit your needs if you:
- Don’t need custom web design and functionality
- Look for the cheapest possible web development and support solutions
- Need to have a simple infopage to go online
So, the only thing you need to do is to select your WordPress design template and add content to your website. You should take into account that in such a case the address of your website will be in the format of yourwebsite.wordpress.com. You need to subscribe for paid plans in order to use your own domain name and get more benefits like more storage space, premium templates, monetization options etc. No specific development skills are needed as a simple to use site designer allows launching your website in a few clicks.
On the other hand, WordPress.org is a home of original and customizable CMS where you can find the latest stable release of WordPress, themes, plugins and even get support from the community. All this makes it possible to create custom website design and develop functions needed for normal operation of your online business. In such a case, you have full power and authority to manage your website on your own and do whatever you want with its look and feel. You decide what hosting provider to choose to meet your marketing needs.
Nowadays it is also possible to make a WordPress app which can mimic your WordPress website. There are several options to do it: with the help of a builder, hybrid solutions (e.g. Ionic framework) or specific plugins like AppPresser. It would be good only in case you aren’t looking for anything custom and need a very simple app to replicate your blog.
In general, despite that the software is opensource with multiple free scripts to use, developers make good money with its help. WordPress development environment is probably one of the easiest to learn for novices in this field. So, there is a quite large pull of vendors interested in making a website for you at an affordable cost. They are ready to design the website, add on themes and plugins required for its normal operation and adjust them specifically to your business needs. The rates of their work are usually attractive and depend mostly on vendor experience and portfolio. It is not necessary to contact a web design firm or have a developer in-house. A large number of freelance WordPress developers offer their services remotely.
50 Shades Darker…
Now let’s investigate the darker side of WordPress. At first glance, everyone gets a feeling that this tool is a universal website builder. Enough is as good as a feast. Many types of websites exist in the world and each of them has its own peculiarities. So, it makes no difference how flexible and many-sided WordPress website builder is, as it still can’t serve equally good all of the existing types.
By all means, new upgrades and solutions for WordPress appear each new day. But it doesn’t change the thing that it was originally created to respond to the demand on blogs and that its architecture was designed accordingly. All add-ons we see now are just extensions to expand website capabilities. You wouldn’t try to build a hi-tech penthouse on a roof of a timber house, right?
For example, if we take Drupal vs. WordPress, we will see that advanced users with advanced needs and requirements will have to install a number of WordPress plugins in order to get what is standard for Drupal. In such a case, there is a risk that with a large number of required plugins your website will work much slower than expected.
Another important thing to consider is uniqueness. You can request custom WordPress development but it requires investment and sometimes it can equal to the budget spent on a product built from scratch. There is a large number of free design templates, but the paid themes are more custom, not to mention that their quality is often better. Still, even paid themes may have some issues and limitations. Before you buy a theme, you should check it out from all angles and make sure that it is responsive, bug-free and SEO-friendly. A custom WordPress template cost depends on its complexity and quality. The same is true for plugins - more complicated plugins or even custom ones will cost you quite a little money.
Developing a website is not the only thing to do on your way to launching an online business. When things come to marketing your brand online, you will expect WordPress to work well in terms of SEO. They say, WordPress is absolutely SEO-friendly. It is so, but when you remove all of the initial issues with permalinks, URL parameters, unacceptable links on a WordPress homepage from free plugins and themes (sometimes from paid ones too) and so on. To feel the real benefits, you need to install plugins for almost everything. As said before, too many plugins will slow down your website load and that is not good for SEO. Seems like there are too many things to keep in mind during WordPress website design and development process in order to configure website right and get its usability up to par.
WordPress, or not WordPress, that is the question… If the choice is still hard and you are not sure about using WordPress for your business, feel free to follow the infographics below. You can visually see whether WordPress is a good choice for your type of project or not.
Final Thoughts: The Shades of Freedom
Of course, you are free to choose what fits and feels best for you and your business. In some cases, it is a winning solution - to build a WordPress website. In case every penny counts, it is a good idea to look around and see which solution will be really beneficial. If money plays a vital role in your decision making, study the pros and cons of all possible options of the project development:
- Develop the full product within your budget (no guarantees for flawless operation and success are possible);
- Launch a working MVP to test the waters and expand the product when you see the real growth;
- Build a prototype for pitching investors or taking part in crowdfunding programs.
Whatever option you choose, you should be focused on your goal and make every effort to achieve it. Сlearly define your goals and the results you want to get. Make sure that you have a working business strategy and that your resources and chosen tools perfectly fit it. Be flexible enough and ready to make a pivot if needed, because that’s the key to survival and success in the modern business world.
Learn more about the benefits of custom web development
Our team has created many custom websites that met all the expectations of our clients and all the business requirements they had. Get in touch with us to discuss your website idea and choose the best way to implement it.