You may be thinking of having a website designed and developed, that's great, a website is a fantastic face for your company. By now you've probably been doing your research on agencies offering website design, development and by now you'll have seen all the fantastic ads enticing you in with promises of a creative, responsive Wordpress website for less than £400, that seems like a great deal right? Well before you sign up, you should maybe ask yourself why Wordpress websites or any open source websites are that cheap to develop? Well I'll tell you!
You probably already know that Wordpress is a blogging platform and without a doubt the best blogging website on the internet. It offers the user thousands of templates to design their own blog and is so user friendly that my tech illiterate grandma could use it (maybe not, but it's very easy to use). But that's where it should end, it's a blogging platform for a reason, it was never designed to be a CMS (content management system) or to be utilised for anything other than blogging.
Wordpress "developers" that build Wordpress websites know very little about the coding of websites, (code is the framework that developers write to basically tell a website what to do, it's very complicated and it's requires a high skill set). Wordpress developers basically choose a theme (probably picked by thousands of other developers) that is the basic design for the website and use plugins to add functionality. But what happens when you need to change or update something on your website?
This leads me on to my first pitfall:
As mentioned earlier plugins add the functionality to Wordpress websites, they are typically written by third-party developers not linked to Wordpress. As a result there are thousands of plugins that have been written by people for Wordpress, this sounds great doesn't it? In theory yes, but in reality no! They have a tendency to break, this can be due to a lot of things e.g. they work well on their own but when another plugin is installed they conflict, updates can cause the plugins to break, the author of the plugin may forget about it if it does break. As the plugins make up most of the website, if one (or more) break you don't have a functional website compromising the security of that site.
Because millions of websites use Wordpress it makes them susceptible to hackers, which obviously poses a massive security risk. Why are Wordpress websites more susceptible to being hacked? Because Wordpress is used by millions of websites, if a chink in the security can be found in one website it is very likely that it can be found in a lot of other Wordpress websites. Not only this, but it is easy to distinguish whether or not a website is open source, and robots can search the web looking for all the Wordpress websites, making them easier to target than a bespoke website. Lastly, vulnerabilities in Wordpress websites tend to become public knowledge very quickly (as it's used by millions of websites).
Coming from a purely marketing stand point, you want a website to be built around your needs, you're the boss and a website should be working for you not against you. The likelihood is that with a Wordpress website, you would have to slot in with their restrictions, however if you had a bespoke website built for you, it is built around your needs!
Lack of originality
Themes are literally just picked from a catalogue, which means your website is likely to look like every other Wordpress website out there, not good if you're a company looking to stand out. This is where a bespoke website design will always come out on top, it allows you as a customer to have the website design exactly the way you want it, rather than sticking to boxes!
To keep up to date with Wordpress, you will need to update your website every time Wordpress release an update, which is every couple of months. This normally needs to be done by someone who has technical knowledge, which means paying money every few months for updates that would be unnecessary with a bespoke website. Not only this, but with every update there is a chance that the update will affect the site in some way, conflicting with plugins and essentially breaking the site, which is then more cost to fix.
Search Engine Optimisation is marketing talk for improving your websites rankings in search engines, it's not an exact science and changes in strategy are needed every time search engines change their algorithms. With this in mind, it's important that your website is finely tuned to adapt to SEO changes, this is what bespoke websites give you. Don't get me wrong Wordpress do have plugins to optimise your website to some extent, but if you want to be in charge of your SEO it's best to utilise bespoke agencies!
With SEO in mind, latest updates have focused on user's experience and sites have been rewarded with high rankings if the user experience is good. If your website loads quickly then your user experience will be better. Wordpress uses a lot of plugins for websites, if a lot of plugins are used in a site this will slow the loading speeds of your website. These plugins may also be coded poorly, or may conflict with other plugins slowing your site down.
I'm really not knocking Wordpress, like I mentioned earlier Wordpress was not developed for creating web pages, they have been adapted to do the aforementioned. Open source websites (like Wordpress) are good for personal use, they allow users to develop a website fairly easily with minimal skill or knowledge of web development. I also agree the price is tempting, most agencies prices coming in below £400, but why settle for a mediocre website with banal designs, security concerns, sluggish load times and plugins that may break compromising the functionality of your site?
To me it seems like a false economy, you may pay less money at the beginning but at the end of the day, issues that may arise from using open source websites may cost you continually throughout the life of the website, which may in due course lead you to invest more money in a bespoke website somewhere in the near future. Get it right first time and you won't be disappointed!