custom web design and development to create a consistent look across your brand.
For clients that don’t have a preference, we typically implement our own proprietary content management system that runs on Adobe ColdFusion.
From time to time, we may encounter a client that is interested in using WordPress for their development platform—and that’s fine. But what’s not OK, is when a client’s interest in WordPress is accompanied by disinformation.
In this blog post, I’ll address three of the most common myths about WordPress that our developers frequently dispel for clients and account executives.
Myth #1: WordPress is like Squarespace, Wix or other hosted template sites.
Ok, maybe this isn’t a ‘myth’ so much as an attitude—but it’s a great place to start because despite these two things being apples and oranges, it’s confusion we see a lot.
And it’s a pretty understandable confusion.
Sites like Squarespace or Wix use templates to allow folks with little to no experience set up sites using pre-built templates that are hosted on that company’s servers. Similarly, WordPress requires little experience to get started on, you can use pre-built themes, and you can host your site on wordpress.com.
At a glance, they seem pretty similar. So what’s the difference?
Well for one, WordPress’s software is free and open-source, meaning it can be downloaded, installed, and hosted wherever you like. Also, the difference between Squarespace or Wix templates and WordPress themes is that you can build your own WordPress theme from scratch.
If you’re just starting your project or business, maybe a pre-built theme or template is great for you. Getting something online could be much more important than creating a custom solution just for you.
But if you have specific, unique needs you’d like to your website to fulfill, you’re probably going to need some sort custom development that will fall outside the scope of prebuilt templates.
Here’s an analogy: if websites were Teddy Bears, then services like Squarespace or Wix are like a build-a-bear stores. You can walk in, pick a bear off the wall, give it a hat, fill it with stuffing and you’re good to go.
But if you want a stuffed Elephant, or maybe a leather teddy bear, or a teddy bear with some other specialized feature that’s pretty important to you and your business… well, you need a more robust set of tools.
WordPress is more of sewing machine and a bunch of patterns: you can use it make pretty much any teddy bear you want, but there’s a little more sewing involved.
Myth #2: WordPress is only for small, DIY sites and blogs.
WordPress exploded in popularity in large part because it was (and still is) a great way to set up a blog.
And because it was open-source, but also has a great dashboard meant for non-developers to use, it has become a favorite tool of freelance web developers. Perhaps because of this, I think WordPress has garnered an unfair image of being for ‘small’ or ‘amateur’ sites.
This could not be further from the truth. In fact, there are numerous very large, high-traffic sites are now built on WordPress.
Maybe as a client looking for web development work, you’re skeptical of a site built on WordPress because it conjures up images of hastily-built websites built by one person in their bedroom. And those wordPress sites exists, certainly. (And god bless ‘em!)
But one of WordPress’s strengths is its flexible and non-restrictive nature: it allows developers to create truly unique robust sites that use WordPress as the core engine that runs them.
If the New York Times is confident that WordPress can handle the web demands of an international news organization, it probably can handle your site too.
In other words, not all WordPress sites are equal. It’s a tool, and you can use to build big or build small.
Myth #3: WordPress development is easy, free, or “no big deal.”
Just as we’ve found misconceptions in what WordPress is capable of as a platform, we also see a lot of misconceptions about what WordPress development actually involves. It’s kind of a paradox.
Clients have an image of building a WordPress site being as simple as choosing and installing a theme. And it can be that simple. But that solution can feel impersonal and often ill-fitting.
So clients want custom design and development, but then are surprised to find that those custom features require time/money to build. After all, it’s WordPress! That’s supposed to be easy, right?
A wonderful feature of WordPress is how many options you’re given in development. You can find plugins others have built, you can write your own plugin, you can write your own hard-coded solution. But any of those options will take time and care to implement.
Again, WordPress is a tool. An amazingly powerful tool. It can be used to build simple solutions, or pretty complex ones. The cost of those solutions depends more on what problem you’re trying to solve than the choice of tool.
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