If you’re looking for a great value, affordable business website there are plenty of options to choose from. In fact, it might feel a little overwhelming!
One option you’ve most likely come across is WordPress, and that’s no surprise as it’s reported that over a third of all websites in the world are WordPress websites, which is a massive achievement.
When we started building WordPress websites around 10 years ago, it was largely unknown and had, well, I’ll just be polite, and call them “issues”. But it’s come a long way and now is, in my professional opinion, the easiest website manager (CMS) to use and a great option for any business that wants a cheap option to get started with a new website, but with enough flexibility to upgrade over time to meet changing needs.
Why is WordPress such a popular choice for new websites?
- Faster Development – WordPress isn’t just fast to learn for newbies, the framework reduces the amount of time (read:cost) to build and update your website. Whether it’s changing the look and feel, or adding new functionality, a WordPress developer can roll out new features much quicker than other website setups.
- Well Supported – Just like people buy Toyotas because parts are easy and cheap to come by, you get a WordPress website, you’ll know there are plenty of providers, both here in NZ and overseas, who will have a WordPress expert on the team (like us!) who can help you out when you need it. There’s also a massive community of developers creating add-ons (called plugins) that can make your WordPress website do just about anything. There are also a huge amount of themes (designs) available, but feel free to read our thoughts on them.
- Not just Blogging – Yes, WordPress started primarily as a blogging platform, but now offers everything a fully featured web platform should including e-commerce websites. Due to its popularity, new extensions are being developed all the time so whatever tools you might be using currently – Mailchimp, Facebook, Instagram, Stripe, PayPal, Pinterest, Google etc. – there is bound to be a way to integrate the two.
- Lower TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) – TCO is the cost of something over the long term. Sure, solutions like Shopify are hugely popular, but if you actually calculated the total cost for a subscription service, you’d realise that paying more upfront for a WordPress website is the cheaper option (see our WordPress vs Shopify post). WordPress can be hosted just about anywhere, you can easily take your website with you and switch to a different (cheaper) hosting provider and an easy CMS means you make a lot of changes yourself.
- Flexibility – It’s not just small businesses that use WordPress; it’s also trusted by some big global brands and large multinationals. It’s proven itself to be incredibly flexible to adapt to a huge range of different applications. In the 10 years we’ve been building websites using WordPress, we’ve never come across a client requirement that WordPress couldn’t solve.
- Open Source – This is a key feature that really puts it ahead of popular website options such as Shopify, Squarespace and other closed, proprietary solutions that don’t give you full access underneath the hood. It means WordPress will always be free and the full code available to be modified and upgraded any way you see fit.
As you can tell we are big WordPress fans, and have been for a really long time. We’re glad we stuck with it, and feel like it’s been perfect for helping all sorts of businesses get a really nice, mobile friendly website, custom designed, for a really, really low price.
What’s wrong with WordPress?
Of course, there are some common complaints out there about WordPress, which we’ll talk about now (in the interests of a fair and balanced discussion. 🙂
- Security – This is the one we see mentioned the most and it’s understandable. All websites are vulnerable and if you’re going to build something to attack websites, you’ll target the most popular platform (the reason why Windows was targeted so much more than Apple). Yes, you have to be careful – and make sure your website is setup securely. All websites hosted with us include full SSL security and best practice WordPress setup to minimise security risks. The problem is not so much WordPress but the website owner (or an inexperienced developer). It’s not much different from a car; it can be dangerous with the wrong person behind the wheel.
- Speed – Once again, this is more of a problem with whoever is building the website, than WordPress itself. Lazy or amateur developers often resort to using plugins for everything because it’s fast and easy, without giving any thought to how it’s slowing the website down. They upload huge images without resizing and optimising them for the web. Choose a WordPress provider who understands the importance of building a fast website and you shouldn’t have a problem.
This isn’t to say WordPress is right for every business case. Sometimes a static site is needed, or a framework that uses the MVC setup like Python, Rails or Django. But, nine times out of 10, if you need a reliable, good looking – but affordable – business website then WordPress is perfect for you.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org (or self-hosted)
Lastly, we’d like to cover something that is a very common question simply because it does create confusion for the uninitiated.
WordPress.com is a paid subscription website service, similar to other page builder subscription services like Shopify, Squarespace or Wix. It’s an all-in-one option, and all done through WordPress.
WordPress.org refers to the website software package that you download and install on your own hosting service, and link to your domain (or you can just order our cheap WordPress website package and we’ll do it all for you!).
If you have any questions about building with WordPress, or need assistance with your existing WordPress website, just get in touch!