I design .

I'm Ketan ‐ A Melbourne web designer and developer
with over 20 years of industry experience.

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Should I use WordPress for my business website?

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WordPress is an extremely popular content management system amongst web designers and web development because of its easy setup, large community and thousands of plugins to extend functionality. But there’s an array of content management systems out there which may be better suited to your business requirements than WordPress, and they are definitely worth looking into.

WordPress is good, but like all applications, it has its pros and cons.

The Pros

When I first started my website design business in 2007, I always used WordPress for client websites that required a content management system. It was quick to build with, assumed your site only had one content area, which most did in those days, and it was easy for my clients to use. It was also great for search engines by providing clients with the tools to update page titles and meta descriptions, as well as automatically creating sitemap XML files.

Fast-forward to today, and websites are built differently, with more emphasis on speed, performance and conversions.

Here are the pros:

Open source software

WordPress is open-source software which means it’s free to use and is religiously maintained and updated.

Lots and lots of plugins

Because WordPress is open source, it allows web developers to build all sorts of plugins and mods to extend WordPress’s core platform.

Easier to find a web designer

Its popularity and large community make it easier to find a web designer who knows WordPress rather than a CMS such as ExpressionEngine. WordPress developers can be found in all parts of the world, and their skillset with it usually varies.

Cheap hosting

Every hosting company out there supports WordPress websites, and shopping around can help you save a fair bit on web space.

A vast amount of pre-made themes

There are loads of WordPress themes available for all styles and types of websites. Many of them provide all the features you would expect on websites.

Integrated blog

WordPress was initially a blogging platform, so it has all the functionality that you would expect from good blog software. You can write draft posts, schedule articles and update existing content easily.

User-friendly admin

The WordPress admin is very easy to use, and if you haven’t used it before, it’s quick to learn.

Create an online store

Woocommerce is a popular plugin that enables you to create an online store using the basic WordPress platform. It can connect to multiple payment gateways, and because it’s all written in PHP, it can be extended and customised as required.

The Cons

Here are the cons:

Content

WordPress was initially built as a blogging platform but gradually converted into a CMS. Because of this, it still assumes websites have a single content area which can be fixed using a plugin or with custom fields.

Slow performance caused by feature bloat

Over the last few years, WordPress has become increasingly bloated with features to the point there’s a noticeable delay when loading pages causing slow websites. Sometimes this is made worse by third-party plugins and poorly designed themes.

Security

WordPress is always being hacked, which is understandable as it’s the most popular CMS in the world right now. It’s very easy to identify a WordPress website by simply looking at the page source.

Expensive website hosting

Depending on the type of website you are creating and the amount of content you are producing may result in increased web hosting costs. WordPress does use a lot of resources, so an easy way to prevent any performance issues is to increase your server’s CPU and RAM - at a cost, of course. 

All websites look the same

If you look at all the WordPress websites out there, 90% of them have similar layouts and features. This is because web developers use third-party themes to kickstart client projects to save time, which results in the same-looking sites everywhere.

There are millions of small business websites using WordPress, so if you want to stand out from the crowd, ask your web designer to build a custom theme specifically for your company. It should be optimised for your target audience and market and should adhere to your brand guidelines.

The Alternatives

Here’s a short list of other popular CMSs out there which are worth investigating:

CraftCMS

Over the last few years, Craft has grown massively. It’s become very popular with designers and developers, especially WordPress developers requiring more design flexibility. It boasts a great user interface and feature set, including customising your content modal.

ExpressionEngine

ExpressionEngine has been around for a long, long time and has a massive set of features. There’s a large community for it and some great plugins available.

Like Craft, it allows you to create your own content structure with all types of different fields.

I built many websites with ExpressionEngine because of its flexibility. It was one of the first CMSs which allowed you to create your own unrestricted content model.

Concrete5

Concrete5 is an interesting CMS with features like its in-context editor, which makes managing websites very easy.

Contentful

I used Contentful for this website, and it’s my personal favourite. It’s very easy to use, and managing content is a breeze. Contentful is a “headless CMS”, meaning it only has a back-end to store your content, thus allowing your designers and developers total freedom in how your content is presented on the front end.

It makes content available on any device via RESTful APIs using any development language (PHP, Javascript, .NET, Swift, etc.). This means you have total flexibility over your content model and how it is displayed, used and managed.

Go Static with Jekyll/Hugo and Forestry.io

Not too long ago, I wrote about hosting your website for free using a static site, which also uses a content management system so you can manage your content. The website you are currently reading is built with Jekyll, a static site generator, and integrates with the Forestry.io cms so that I can manage my content through an admin interface.

Hugo is another popular static site generator which can integrate with foresty.io.

Website builders: Squarespace, WebFlow

Squarespace and WebFlow are probably two of the most popular hosted solutions available for small businesses. I haven’t used them, but from what I read on their websites, they make creating your website easy by providing “no-coding required” solutions and are designed to be SEO friendly.

Depending on the type of business websites you are creating, it may prove to be a little on the expensive side long-term.

Final thoughts

WordPress is still one of the easiest content management systems to build websites with for developers and non-developers alike, and if it’s perfect for your project, then it’s all good.

It’s best to liaise with your Web Designer/Developer about which CMS is the most suitable for your project, and being aware of the available options will make this discussion more productive for both parties. There is no right or wrong answer, but identifying specific requirements and features early on can help to keep your website running productively.


Sketch sitemap library available for US$14 on Gumroad.