WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS with more than 74.6 million websites relying on the platform – including The New York Times, CNN and Mashable. The flexible system makes site maintenance a breeze for people with no design or coding experience, while its extensive collection of plugins means powerful features are just one click away.
Agencies can also charge much less by customising a WordPress theme, rather than building a website from scratch – making it a cost-effective alternative. So how does the world’s favourite CMS weight up against custom built websites and are there any down sides?
Easy-To-Use Control Over Your Content
The biggest advantage to WordPress is that it gives you complete control over your content. The platform’s interface allows you to quickly create new pages, blog posts and other content – all without writing a single line of code.
Which means you don’t have to call in the experts every time you need a blog post published, new images uploaded or even minor design changes made. WordPress gives you more control over your site and its content than custom builds or any other platform for that fact – without demanding any real knowledge of web technologies.
The Power Of WordPress Plugins
Although WordPress was originally created as a blogging platform there is much more to it than content management. Its ever-growing library of plugins gives you access to powerful features created by top developers from around the world. One click can transform your theme into an eCommerce site, designed to sell your products more effectively. Another click gives you a helping hand with SEO or a Google Analytics dashboard to help you improve performance.
From better contact forms to stunning photo galleries and email marketing campaigns – if you need something for your website – there’s probably a plugin that can make it happen.
As Customisable As You Need It To Be
A common criticism of WordPress is you can’t fully customise a theme into a completely new, original website – but this isn’t the case at all. WordPress developers can customise frameworks or starter themes to create a custom website that comes with all the control of a WordPress theme.
Which means you don’t need to choose between the benefits of publishing content on WordPress and a unique website for your business. You can have both – but there are some points you always need to bear in mind with WordPress themes.
The Real Downside To WordPress
The only real downside to WordPress themes is that you can end up with a bunch of code you don’t need, an overload of media or too many plugins that slow your site down. But you can keep your WordPress site speeding along if you follow some key guidelines.
- Go to an agency or developer who specialises in WordPress – they’ll be able to make sure your theme isn’t bloated with unnecessary code.
- Choose a good host. There are many like WP Engine that specifically provide fast hosting for WordPress themes.
- Talk to your developer or agency about content delivery networks and how they can boost loading times.
- Only use the plugins you really need and regularly run checks to pinpoint any that might be slowing you down.
- Also talk to your agency about the ways you can Gzip your theme to compress files and increase speed.
- And ask about expires headers, which can make your site quicker for return visitors.
- Always compress any images you add to your theme.
- Always set image dimensions and character sets to save browsers doing the work.
- Be prepared to get in touch with your agency every six months or year for a tune-up.
So that just about covers it. There are times when a custom built website is the only way to go, but the control you get with WordPress makes life so much easier once your site goes live. And if you go to a specialist WordPress agency, look after your theme properly, and keep an eye on loading times, you’ll get the best of WordPress without a sluggish downside.