WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) and blogging platform on the planet. It’s a great example of an open source success story.
Its rise in popularity is due to several factors — its user interface, documentation, plugin architecture, theme layer, security, community support, and even the license its distributed under. Its a great solution to manage content for websites.
However, there are tradeoffs to consider. One is that it’s difficult for businesses with non-technical expertise to evaluate the quality of WordPress development they might receive from a web design agency. This is party due to the extensibility built into WordPress and its liberal software license which allows “custom WordPress themes” to be created without the WordPress developer actually having to write any code at all.
What do you call a PHP developer who builds WordPress websites? Not a developer.
— Gordon Potter (Ruby Developer)
This is a joke and although it’s not 100% accurate, there is some truth behind it. Its funny because there a lot of “web developers” selling WordPress development services even though they might not technically be doing any web development — which is actually kind of a good selling point for the platform’ ease of use. Some of these WordPress developers simply buy themes from a different vendor and resell them as “custom” with minor modifications to meet a projects needs. It’s difficult to know what you’re going to get in terms of a quality website designed using WordPress as a CMS, but you can increase your odds by doing research, attending a WordCamp, and asking the agency your considering a lot of questions about their development and testing process to help you gauge their technical understanding of the platform. Can they explain their development process in a non-technical way? Does their explanations make sense? Do they have or contribute to any open source WordPress themes or plugins? Do they assume your project should use WordPress without considering alternative development options?
It might be the case that using WordPress isn’t the best choice for your project — this is something that needs to be determined on a case-by-case basis. You can shoehorn any website or web application to be powered by WordPress, but it’s not always the right choice. It depends on the individual project requirements. If a web design company only offers WordPress services it might show an area of expertise, but it might also show a lack of depth and aversion to learning and using new technologies or taking the effort to determine the best possible solution.
Using a WordPress as a CMS ads overhead in terms of performance and complexity compared with a static website, but it’s very flexible and a great choice for many web design projects. If you’re considering having a website built in WordPress, please get in touch with us to discuss your project requirements and we will give you our professional recommendations on your available options.