5 Lessons I Learned from Building My First Website
Benefits of WordPress
So, you’re looking for a Content Management System (CMS) for your website? Well, you’re in luck because there are so many options to choose from. You’re probably thinking, how can I possibly choose which one to use when they’re all telling me why their CMS is the best choice? Begin by asking yourself the following questions:
- What’s going to be the best option for my website?
- Do I play the short game or do I look at the long term?
- What about ease of use?
- Will I be able to make changes myself or am I going to have to hire to get everything done?
- Will I be able to create my website within my allocated budget and timeframe?
These are just some of the many questions that you’ll likely have as you look at the wide variety of CMS’s out there. Well, I’m here to tell you that you can stop your search today.
WordPress has been around for almost 20 years having been released in 2003 and according to hostingtribunal.com, powers 35% of the internet today and 60% of the websites that are built on a CMS. That’s a huge percentage of websites! This includes the smallest of companies to some of the largest in the world. Companies like BBC America, Sony Music, The Walt Disney Company, The Rolling Stones, and Microsoft News all use WordPress. You know why? Because it’s powerful and versatile enough for any organization to adopt.
How Does WordPress Compare to the Competition?
I’ll be honest with you. If you want total control of your website, and want to be able to customize the majority of it, control more of the security of your site, and have a leg up on speed, then having your website hand-coded is the way to go. There are significant drawbacks to this route, though.
- It can be FAR more expensive.
- It can take a lot longer for your website to be created.
- This process requires a high level of knowledge to hand-code a website.
- If your business or passion isn’t hand-coding websites, you likely won’t be making a lot of changes on your site yourself. This means there will be more ongoing, long-term costs associated with your website because you’ll need to hire someone that does have the knowledge to make changes for you.
On the other hand, if your primary focus is to get a website up quickly and for a cheap price, then something like Wix may be more up your alley. You basically need zero knowledge of how to build a website to use this system and can have a website up in very little time at a budget-friendly price. As with hand-coding, the drawbacks to Wix are also significant and include:
- Limited customization and design capabilities
- A lower level of flexibility on the type of website you can create
- Limitations to E-commerce sites
- Restrictions on the plugins and extensions that you can use to build out your site
- Little room for SEO friendliness
What about Other “Middle of the Road CMS Systems”?
There are other CMS systems like Drupal, Joomla, and Magento just to name a few, but I would honestly steer away from those systems. Each of them are good in their own way, but I feel that the downsides of those systems are much greater than with WordPress. Either they require a higher level of technical knowledge (Drupal) or they don’t have the functionality or flexibility that WordPress offers (Joomla and Magento).
Now for WordPress
That’s where WordPress comes into play. They are the best “middle of the road” solution between a basic website builder like Wix and hand-coding a website from scratch. It really comes down to the type of site that you want — which can range from simple to complex. I’ve built simple websites in as few as 6 hours and have built complex websites that took months to complete. WordPress can assist in building a cheap site (which is tied directly with the complexity of the site) or an expensive site. The end product and cost is all up to you and your plans for your website.
With WordPress, the sky’s the limit on what you can do with it. There are over 50,000 plugins available on the official WordPress directory. Each of these plugins offers the ability for your site to become something more than it already is. However, be careful about adding random plugins just because you think they would be good for your site. There can be conflicts between plugins and you can’t trust every single person that builds a plugin. With some careful planning and a little bit of research, you can add functionality to your site with a few clicks of a button.
Another great thing about WordPress is that almost anyone can learn to use it. The CMS may seem complex at first glance, but once you get in there and start exploring, you’ll get the hang of it quickly. Give me 30-60 minutes to walk you through your WordPress website, and I bet you’ll be able to navigate like a pro. It’s intuitive and easy to learn.
WordPress Is Very Customizable
Even though using WordPress isn’t hand-coding a website from scratch, you do have the ability to change and edit code if desired. If you want to have a website that is more customized to your needs and not one that seems like a cookie-cutter version of another website, you have that ability. I don’t really recommend doing a ton of this yourself unless you spend some time learning how to master the process, but there are companies like Ironistic that can help you customize your site to the look and feel that you want. You can also check out our portfolio to see just how much variety there can be in a WordPress website.
Don’t Forget the Security Benefits!
Security strength can be a major factor to consider if you are skeptical about making the switch to WordPress. Hackers are constantly trolling vulnerable websites, and sites that are managed on WordPress are no exception. The good news? WordPress routinely evaluates potential threats within the CMS and even has featured automatic updates. WordPress recommends that you use this functionality to stay on top of updates, as older versions are much more susceptible to cyberattacks. As for the security issues that are unrelated to updating WordPress — we hate to break it to you, but most of these are caused by a bit of carelessness on the user’s end. Things like weak passwords and a failure to update firewall rules on your home router can make your site the perfect target. Implement strong website security practices at your business and WordPress will surely be rewarding.
What About Cost?
As mentioned before, the cost is tightly associated with the complexity of the site. There are ways to get a website through WordPress for next to nothing or even free, but I personally would steer away from those routes. Because of the limitations and stipulations tied to a free website like this, I would more closely associate the free WordPress sites with Wix (but Wix is probably better in this case).
WordPress is easy enough to use that you could spend some time learning it yourself and put out a website that will get the job done. Doing it this way will lower your costs, but building a website will come with plenty of nuances. Of course, your cost will be time instead of money with this route, but tutorials and methods on how to build a WordPress website are available on the internet. So if you have the time and energy, you can definitely make use of this option.
Another alternative would be to use a company like Ironistic to help build your website. The cost will be higher, but you’ll get a highly professional, customized website built the way you want it with the look and feel, plus the functionality you need.
You should choose WordPress because you’ll be getting an easy-to-use system. It requires little technical knowledge to use, offers a huge amount of functionality and flexibility for your website, and provides the ability to adapt to both a short term solution and a long term solution. Additionally, WordPress has a price point that is directly in line with the complexity of your project.
I hope my words have helped give you some guidance during your quest to choose a CMS. I know it can be an overwhelming process, but it doesn’t have to be anymore! Contact us today for your website needs.
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