Our short answer: “It depends.” The long answer would be… well, that is why we are writing a whole article on it. It beats trying to repeatedly answer people who
- Do not want to spend a lot of money on a website.
- Believes he or she is capable enough to create something “simple”.
We’re not going to try to convince you to change your mind about how to build your website. What we want to do instead is to give insight as to why we use WordPress as the main builder for all our websites. This article is written especially for those who are looking to start off a website with little to no technical background or experience in WordPress, so you won’t be completely lost with all the terms used.
First Off, What is WordPress
WordPress is one of many content management tools used today. Content management system (CMS) describes a digital system that is used to manage digital content. Not all CMS deals with web building; website building tools like WordPress falls into one category of CMS called web-CMS. We’re not going into great depth into explaining what CMS is. At this point, it is sufficient to know web-CMS a tool to create, build, and manage website content.
It is then interesting to note though that one in every five websites are powered by WordPress, making WordPress the most popular CMS in the world. Which is astounding considering that, in an age where technology can quickly become obsolete, WordPress is still running after being around for more than a decade. Despite the introduction of competition, it seems that you can barely put a dent on the WordPress’s popularity.
So Why We Use WordPress?
Now that we get the background story of WordPress out of the way, let’s take a deeper look at what makes WordPress work so well for us (and why you should consider building your website using WordPress as well) by using the smartphone analogy.
Imagine your basic smartphone when you first bought it from the store. It comes pre-installed with an operating system… and that’s about it. But it is only after installing apps that you actually make your phone truly yours, because everyone would have different apps on their phone, making their phones function specifically to their personal needs.
WordPress works in a similar concept. WordPress is your “smartphone”, where you can download its own version of “apps” called plugins. And after more than a decade of existence, and millions of users and developers, you can be sure that the market for plugins is huge!
That allows a virtually endless possibility of functions for your website, allowing you to change not just how it looks and function on the outside (front end) but how it looks and functions on the inside (back end). This flexibility (and endless possibility) has yet to be beaten.
So you bought your smartphone cheap? $100, $10, $1 or even free? Good for you! But more than likely your smartphone purchase would come packaged with contract tying you up to a service provider. Want to upgrade your phone? No problem! Just extend the contract that you have and you’re good to go!
But what if you find something better? Chances are moving over to another provider comes with costs. Either that, or you’ll be forced to work with a sub-par mobile phone for the next year or two before being able to move on.
Building a website on site builders may be easy, quick and will give you what you think you want, but we have encountered many business owners who find themselves quickly outgrowing the website and is looking to create something that reflects their expanding business.
This is where the trouble starts: Most times you’ll be stuck using the same site builder, with almost zero chance of exporting your site and bringing it to another hosting provider. Wix, for example, is pretty explicit on this restriction:
“Your Wix site and all of its content is hosted exclusively on Wix’s servers, and cannot be transferred elsewhere. Specifically, it is not possible to export or embed files, pages or sites, created using the Wix Editor or ADI, to another external destination or host.”
That’s like saying that if you want to go to another mobile service provider, you can, but we’ll take away your phone.
Suddenly, that two-year mobile contract you are stuck with doesn’t sound so bad…
It will costs you at least US $150 a year to create an e-commerce website on Wix. It will costs at least US $216 a year to create an e-commerce website on Squarespace. And it will costs you at least US $348 a year EXCLUDING domain to create an e-commerce site on Shopify.
On WordPress? About US $120+$10 a year on one of the fastest hosting service available (In the first year, it is less than half the cost!)
Want something lower than that? Click here!
Drag and Drop Building:
So the drag-and-drop functions of Wix, Squarespace and Weebly too attractive to ignore. You’ll be happy to know that you can do the same with WordPress as well!
WordPress can be dressed to look a certain way using themes. They are almost similar to plugins except that they are used to provide the overall aesthetics of the website instead of functions. The good news is that some of the more premium themes offer visual builder functionality.
As the name implies, visual builders allow you to design your site by using visual tools where you can drag and drop certain elements of your website by using a mouse. They may be less intuitive than the other web builders, but it are just as easy to learn. So this makes WordPress a lot less intimidating and certainly a lot more fun than how it was before.
Web Designing has a Learning Curve
We recognise the validity and, most of all “ease”, that web building websites like Wix and Squarespace have touted for themselves. They truly serve a market of individuals who are more than willing to tighten their budget and not afraid of getting their hands dirty. When you’re starting off your business, such websites are handy.
But most business owners are in the business of selling a product or service. They’re not in the business of creating content. So if you are trying to do everything on your own, even your website, you’re not actually concentrating on your business.
In addition, despite the touted “ease of use”, there is still a degree of learning involved in all the site building websites, that requires your time and effort. Also, there is the huge but often ignored fact that real design does not just mean being able to know how to work with tools, but it is also about understanding visual aesthetics, function and interactivity of the website. These are the soft-skills that only an experienced and trained web designer would be able to understand and implement.
WordPress is Great, But…
Also, as much as we like WordPress, it is still a tool to serve a purpose for us. Therefore, it is always good to look back again at the purpose of having a website. Sometimes, WordPress may not be the best tool for the job. Sometimes, you may not even need to have a website!
Armen Rizal Rahman