A Truly Customized Website Means Moving Beyond WordPress
In the world of web development it’s hard to find a more recognizable name than WordPress. Before I get on my soapbox, I want to point out that WordPress is well suited for blogging or small websites that do not require much customization. If your company requires more than that I suggest moving beyond WordPress, here’s why.
WordPress launched in 2003 as a dedicated blog platform. Since then it has transitioned into a quick setup CMS due to the ease of customization with plugins and templates. The downside is it becomes cumbersome with larger website structures to manage. WordPress is very easy for non-developers to create websites. This can be a problem. We see lots of sites that were built without consideration to basic programming principles - code copied, pasted, chopped and hacked leaving a mass of 'spaghetti code' which you need to unravel. This makes updates very costly, often requiring a re-write. And although WordPress does power some very large sites, it does so after an extremely large amount of customization and direct developer support.
WordPress lacks the best practices web developers appreciate. The platform has two basic content types, Post and Pages. To create any additional page types, the developer needs to install a plugin or write additional PHP code. To add, edit, or delete content, users are required to go to separate screens where the content is listed. All of this leads to confusion and frustration in larger sites where there are often many posts and pages that must be updated.
Another oversight lies in the security surrounding WordPress websites. Plugins in many ways are the backbone of the WordPress framework. Currently there are 38,655 WordPress plugins. I should point out that plugins or packages are a risk regardless the platform, but considering the large number available for WordPress, there are more opportunities for web attacks since plugins need to be maintained and updated. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a WordPress plugin work one day and not the next. This can cause a frustrating experience for the client and for your visitors.
In my 8+ years of web development with various marketing agencies, I have had the experience of working with hundreds of companies as clients. This experience has taught me that while there are common themes within websites like lead generation, microsites, product or brand focus and eCommerce – are some common examples. However, each brand tends to have unique website requirements. To meet their unique needs requires flexibility and customization beyond the capabilities of WordPress.
If Not WordPress, Then Who?
With my experience using a vast variety of different platforms and Content Management Systems, I have come to love Umbraco as my preferred and recommended CMS. If you’re not familiar, Umbraco is open source and written in C# on the .NET platform and is suitable for small website/blog, to highly customized website applications, to ecommerce. I find it to be far better for larger sites that require true custom development.
Umbraco is about implementing the best solution that fits our client’s needs. Since it’s a CMS platform it’s easy for technology novices to update and maintain after our team delivers the site live. The back office has a very simple user interface that allows for unique page types and easily navigable content tree. The platform also offers flexibility to design unique page types that allow for full control over mark-up and design. I’m not the only Umbraco fan in my office. Our entire Development team is all certified in Umbraco. Our company has also shown its commitment to Umbraco by becoming a Certified Gold Partner.
I know many people have gravitated towards using WordPress as their CMS because they feel it is reasonably priced solution. That may be the case if you’re just using it off-the-shelf. However, if you’re truly looking for a customized website that fits your unique needs – you’ll quickly find that hacking on top of WordPress templates can nickel and dime you beyond the cost of building your site the right way from the beginning. Having a website that works for you means moving beyond WordPress – And you’ll be happy you did.