WordPress Theme or Bespoke Website?
In some form or another, this is another question we get asked a lot.
What’s interesting though, is the tone and therefore the connotation that comes with the question.
Here are some examples…
You don’t use WordPress or anything like that, do you?
This suggests that the person asking believes WordPress to be an inferior solution for their needs.
Our current site is on WordPress, do you work with WordPress?
This person is probably used to using the platform and is reluctant to change to something else.
Do you use WordPress templates or build bespoke?
This person most likely believes that using WordPress means relying on a template (or theme) and that’s not something they want.
There are some even more varying opinions on the WordPress platform and what it means if, as a web developer, we use it.
Let’s debunk some WordPress myths…
Is WordPress just for beginners who use templates/themes?
These days, getting an installation of WordPress up and running on most hosting solutions is pretty straightforward with a lot of providers offering one-click installs or even doing it for you.
Once WordPress is set-up, choosing and installing a free or paid-for theme (template) again, is fairly easy.
Depending on the theme, implementing your own content into the theme shouldn’t be too much of a slog, assuming you want your website to match the theme identically.
With this approach, you could have a new website up and running in a matter of hours.
But …I’ve known numerous people who have been down this route before and hated it!
Because when you add your crappy images, poor choice of colours, amateur logo and minimal text into a theme, it all of a sudden looks terrible and nothing like the theme you chose.
In addition, when you try to change something slightly e.g. move an image somewhere else, you might find that it breaks other things …which you don’t know how to fix.
Let’s not get started on responsive design, SEO, social optimisation, image optimisation, page load speed etc…
In short, yes, an amateur could possibly produce a WordPress website but it’s likely to end in tears.
Is it acceptable for professional developers to use WordPress?
There is a common misconception that if a web design company uses WordPress that they must not be very good.
I believe this stems from the incorrect assumption that WordPress is akin to DIY website builders like Wix, SquareSpace etc.
There’s a reason WordPress dominates the internet.
WordPress has grown from what was a humble blogging platform to the juggernaut of a Content Management System (CMS) you see today because of the platform’s flexibility.
As described above, a complete novice could produce a decent website using WordPress but at the other end of the spectrum, an expert web developer can use the very same platform to code a highly technical website, without limitations.
If you’re still not convinced, here are some names you might recognise who use WordPress for their websites:
- Microsoft (https://blogs.microsoft.com/)
- Sony (https://www.sonymusic.com/)
- Glassdoor (https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/)
- Sweden (Yes, the country) (https://sweden.se/)
- Usain Bolt (http://usainbolt.com/)
Is WordPress right for my company website?
The decision on which CMS (if any) to use will likely be weighed by a number of factors e.g. your chosen web design company’s experience, your own internal CMS preferences and perhaps most importantly, your requirements for managing your website content after it has gone live.
A bit like ‘how big is your web design company?’, unless you are dead-set on using/not using WordPress, ‘do you use WordPress or bespoke?’ shouldn’t be on your top questions to ask a web design company.
Instead, ensure you spend the time to find the right web partner for you based on your desired outcomes and objectives.