Have you ever thought about getting a website that you can easily update in-house without having to spend your valuable time and resources learning the ins and outs of a complex content management system (CMS)? If so, I encourage you to get acquainted with WordPress!
WordPress is sort of like a “diet” CMS when compared to others, which tend to be bulky, difficult to navigate, and taxing to learn. While WordPress has plenty of useful options, it isn’t weighed down by options you don’t need, like systems such as Joomla often are. Below are a few advantages of going with WordPress:
- WordPress is currently used by over 14% of the 1 million largest websites on the Internet, and growing. I admit that this stat is from the WordPress Wiki, but even if it’s not entirely accurate, there is evidence it can’t be too far off. The future of WordPress is secure and development is ongoing. This means there is little danger of WordPress ever becoming outdated or unsupported anytime soon.
- WordPress has an incredibly simple admin interface that makes site updates super easy. You will no longer have to rely on special software like Dreamweaver or other HTML editors in order to maintain or add content to your site yourself. All you need is a connection to the Internet and you are ready to go.
- WordPress is great for SEO. Search engines love it! There are also a large variety of search engine optimization plugins available from the WordPress plugin repository.
- There are many, many premium templates available, all of which can be customized to look completely unique. Your site is only as good as the theme that supports it. I have subscription plans from superior companies with great reputations who provide extremely stable themes. They work on making them as bug-proof as possible, test them in multiple browsers, and if ever there is a conflict with a plugin or app not working well with a theme, support is usually available through support forums.
- WordPress is database driven and chronologically orders news, blog posts, announcements, events, etc. automatically. No longer will you have to manually add news articles or event posts, and then manually shift all older items to a separate page in order to archive them. All older items will be archived automatically!
- WordPress works extremely well with numerous social media applications such as Facebook, Twitter, and more.
More and more companies and nonprofits are moving toward WordPress and away from sites that require extra time and maintenance to keep them current.
Custom or Proprietary Content Management Systems
It might be tempting to go with a company that offers a proprietary CMS, particularly if they have a good sales team. I would advise against this approach unless you have a very specific purpose or need for going this route. While some do perform well, I have had too many companies come to me because they are held hostage by the person or business who installed a proprietary CMS for them. It is terribly risky because you are relying on a program few other people are familiar with and one that is less documented. What happens if the company goes out of business? Or the individual who created the CMS changes careers or retires? You will no longer get support or upgrades, and as a worst-case scenario, you could even get locked out of your site! Additionally, what if the company fails to update the CMS to work with new versions of different browsers as they are released, or fails to patch security holes as they become apparent?
I have assisted several companies who have spent thousands of dollars on a proprietary CMS, only to come to me for a WordPress site after the company that provided them with the custom CMS goes out of business, their tech support specialist becomes difficult to get ahold of, the site quits working altogether, or they never fully understand how to work on the site themselves in-house because it is too complex to learn. Often, they’ll ask me to learn how to work on the site for them (which defeats the whole purpose of having a CMS!), and they will then pay for me to spend time getting acquainted with a system I’ve never heard of, and that I’ll never use again, just to help them with a change on their site that should be simple.
WordPress is open source and extremely well-documented. If ever there is a problem, there are several forums and WordPress professionals out there to step in and assist. If ever Pixel Lunch LLC closes shop, which we certainly aren’t planning on doing anytime soon, you will not miss a beat. Anyone with WordPress experience can easily take over. There are almost always a few WordPress professionals on staff at trustworthy web design studios. You won’t be held hostage by an unfamiliar CMS that no one else in the industry feels comfortable working on.