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Custom Websites over WordPress: When to Choose

The most popular CMS today

Being the most popular open source content management system, WordPress is used by millions of websites across the globe today. It holds the biggest market share in the global CMS market at around 60% for its 7th-year popularity in a row in 2019, compared to other CMS and custom websites.  As to its usage, this popular CMS powers around nearly 15% of the world’s top 100 websites.

An open source software, WordPress is free and easy to set up. People wishing to set their personal website up themselves find it quite painless without using web developers. With that, WordPress serves its purpose well to beginners and non-tech individuals.

Why use WordPress

Let’s start with what makes WordPress appealing. This is an easy list of reasons why we choose WordPress for our websites:

  1. Again, it’s free. Cost is a number one factor for businesses when it comes to investing in marketing and branding. Custom websites can be a bit costly.
  2. It can be customized using plugins and themes. For tech beginners, it’s the perfect solution. Just download from thousands of free website templates and plugins that you can choose from.
  3. It’s easy to manage. This powerful CMS comes with a built-in updates management system. Basically, it allows you to update your plugins and themes from inside the WordPress admin dashboard.

According to WPBeginner, you can do these types of websites with WordPress:

    • Blog or Personal
    • Business Marketing
    • Simple eCommerce
    • Job Board
    • Business Directory
    • Question & Answer
    • Portfolio
    • Online Communities
    • Auction
    • Non-Government Organization with Multilingual Support
    • Knowledgebase or Wiki
    • Photography
    • School, College or University

Limitations of WordPress

With WordPress, you can clearly make great websites. But you need to identify first what you really want to achieve in having it in the first place. Perhaps WordPress may not the right choice for what you are attempting to build and that you’ll be far better with custom websites built by professional web developers from scratch.

Before making a decision, let’s take into consideration when to and when not to choose WordPress in building your website. Not taking a rational decision, and going with the flow may be costly for you in the future.

Our objective is not to try and deter people from using WordPress and use custom websites instead. Clearly, it has its own place with a lot of confidence and trust coming from big industries that use it.  Rather, it is to educate businesses for them to make an informed decision about what to use for their website.

When to choose custom websites

We’d like to start by enumerating the instances when you might need to choose a custom website over WordPress:

  • Having your own process and procedures embedded in the website.

    This is the primary reason why you need to switch to custom websites. When your website requirements cannot be handled by the popular CMS due to its complexity in customization, it’s time to do away with WordPress.  Examples of this scenario are software-as-a-service websites, web inventory systems, social media platforms, etc.

  • When plugins cannot serve your expectations.

    There are over 50,000 WordPress plugins that you can download and use for your website. However, when no plugin can specifically deliver what you exactly needed in the output you want it done, that’s a different story. It is better to have custom websites instead and get it specifically coded to your liking.

  • Creating a complex platform.

    Sometimes our websites tend to evolve into something more complex than just a marketing tool over time. When the need arises to expand it into a platform that demands a more complex structure, you’ll probably need to switch to custom websites.

  • Prefer to do away with plugins.

    It’s possible that two WordPress plugins will both work without issues independently, yet can conflict and cause issues when installed together. Coupled with the updates, plugins have a tendency to also break.

  • Don’t like updates and anything technical.

    Someone technical has to run the plugin and WordPress core updates for you, which you pay for as an additional maintenance cost. So unless you can handle the updates yourself, it’ll be a factor to consider. Another major downside is that there is always a risk that updates will break your site, especially using customized themes. If you don’t want that hassle, you may opt to choose custom websites instead.

  • Specific web design beyond WP templates and themes.

    Custom websites are your best option if WordPress and its themes cannot handle the specific design you are looking for.

Assess what you need first

In conclusion, WordPress is a still powerful CMS that allows business people and developers with minimal knowledge to set up a website quickly. But in the interest of achieving what you really intend to build with your website, you have to identify your needs first before you decide how to do it.

Unless the budget is really tight from the beginning, it is also good to get custom websites developed properly at the start. This is true if you really plan to embed your process into it as a future strategy. Your invested website is often the first thing people will see about your business online. It’s therefore vital, and more efficient to get it right first time in the long run.

Jonathan Adolfo

About 

As the Business Development Officer for Syntactics and the Executive Director for the CDO ICT Business Council, Jonathan is certainly an IT expert and enthusiast. With years of experience in the industry, he's built up his knowledge and skills and is sharing these through insightful blogs and articles.

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