The Pros and Cons of a WordPress Site

The Pros and Cons of a WordPress Site

Wordpress logo Recent years have seen a huge increase in the use of CMS (Content Management Systems), such as WordPress, Joomla and Drupal for web site creation. The most common of these is WordPress. I am often asked what exactly these systems are, and how they may help in your business’s online presence, so I’ve created this mini guide to help you understand what they are; the pros and cons of using them, and whether they would be suitable for your own web site needs. For the sake of simplicity, I will talk mainly about WordPress here, but keep in mind that the other platforms provide quite similar functions.

What is a CMS?

Content Management Systems are designed to enable a user to quickly generate a web site with little, or no knowledge of scripting and programming. Originally built as a blogging platform, it was soon realised that WordPress could be used to generate a functional web site—whether there was a blog on the site or not.

The big advantage to the web site owner is that they have the ability to edit the site content themselves, once they get to know how the platform works. This saves having to pay a developer to perform updates, or simple changes to the content of a site. Once the system is set up on a web host, the site owner can access an administrative section where they can create new pages and/or edit the contents of existing ones using a relatively simple interface and a WYSIWYG editor. WYSIWYG stands for “What You See Is What You Get”, and it refers to the ability to type in exactly what you wish to appear in the web page—much like in a word processor, and the platform will translate that automatically into the necessary HTML markup to display on the web page correctly.

Static Versus Dynamic Web Sites

Before we start looking into the relative pros and cons of CMS-based web sites, it is worthwhile talking about the different “classes” of web sites or web pages. I refer to sites and pages as “static” or “dynamic”. Let me explain the difference: A static web site is one which simply presents content that doesn’t change. Think of a simple informational page which may, for instance display some information about a restaurant; some pictures, the address, and a phone number. That page is a static page because it is the same every time a visitor (any visitor) looks at it.

On the other hand, web pages can deliver different content to different users, and even different content to the same user, depending on a number of circumstances. Think of Facebook. Obviously, the content you see on that site is completely different to the content that any other user will see. It is choosing what you see based on myriad variables such as your friends list, the time of day, the posts you have previously seen, your advertising preferences, and who you are! Clearly, a site such as Facebook is highly dynamic. Dynamic web sites very often store their information in databases

It is worth keeping this difference in mind when we consider the pros and cons of a CMS-based site versus a traditional (hand-coded) one.

What are the Pros and Cons Versus a “Traditional” Web Site?

Like all technologies, they often come with some downsides along with the benefits. Deciding on whether a CMS may be suitable for your solution will depend on your exact requirements, your comfort with technology, and how much custom functionality your site requires.



Which Should I Choose?

Hopefully, having gained a little more knowledge about the options available to you, you will be better equipped to decide which route you should take.

Often, the decision comes down to how dynamic your web site needs to be. If there is a lot of specialised functionality which is particular to your business requirements, this usually points to a custom-made site. If your site is largely informational, and you wish to get “up and running” in the shortest timeframe possible, a CMS-based site may be the best option—as long as you prepared for the necessary maintenance.

Of course, you are not on your own! I am here to help with these kind of decisions, and would be glad to guide you based on your own particular needs. Feel free to contact me for a free, no pressure consultation regarding your web site. I’m here to help, and your success is my success.

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