In 490 BC the famous philosopher Confucius was asked by a student
“Master, should I use wordpress or squarespace?”
After staring thoughtfully at a mountain and contemplating the beauty of the Tibetan Rosefinch for two days he replied
“Fcuked if I know mate” (in Chinese)
WordPress sparks a lot of debate online and it can be quite tedious to watch.
“Everything should be coded!”
“Webflow is FAR better!”
“How are all those updates going for you?”
“WordPress is so powerful!“
Watching the handbags get thrown about in the comment sections is entertaining until it’s not…..
Most articles out there on the subject of “is wordpress necessary?” get a bit vague after they say “it depends”
So what do we say?
But hang on there, we’re going to give you some specific use cases and advice.
What’s the difference between wordpress and a full coded site?
Well wordpress is a full coded site, just that most of the code is already done for you and if programmers are honest, they import most of the code for full coded sites anyway.
The other main thing is the plugin ecosystem. This means that anything you need, there is likely a plugin for. Generally anyone can install a plugin over a cup of coffee and a ten minute youtube tutorial.
What’s a plugin?
Plugin: booking system, fancy gallery thingy, social media add-on etcetera etcetera
Even if you want to hire a freelancer to configure a plugin, it will cost you far less to get it done in wordpress than to get it coded into a fully coded site.
The downside is because it’s so popular, there are plenty of automated bots that try to access the site by it’s login URL. The login URL can be hidden and it’s vital you do so.
So, wordpress will have words like versatility, flexibility and (the word we hate most in web-dev) POWERFUL! What does all this mean? It means wordpress is useful and quick to implement a solution.
So instead of paying the higher monthly cost on Wix for a simple feature, or spending money on a developer to implement a booking system on your coded site, you can have it done for a fraction of the cost or even do it yourself on wordpress.
WordPress is useful but it does need constant updates for the software. Having ten or twenty updates per month isn’t that uncommon for a wordpress site. These updates can temporarily break sites if the new versions don’t all work with each other……
So wordpress or no wordpress? Depends on your business.
For example we had a client with a tattoo studio who had a friend with a WP site and so had it in her mind she wanted one. We eventually talked her out of it because a tattoo studio site is basically a glorified portfolio and blog. Think about it, does a tattoo artist let people book their own slots with software? No, they want to talk and decide themselves. Meaning a simple contact form and “call us” button for mobile was all that was required.
Would a hair salon let people book in? Yep! Hair salons, beauty therapists, even hotels and restaurants could justify paying a small monthly care plan to keep the site up and running to take advantage of how easily the site can be modified.
Where we think wordpress is the undisputed top choice is for e-commerce and learning management systems(online learning sites). WordPress and woocommerce with a monthly care plan will cost far less and be far more bespoke than the competition. Don’t get us wrong, shopify is a solid platform but it has it’s bugs and they charge upwards of 2% on top of the payment gateways. That will quickly cost you more than what we would charge for a monthly care plan which includes a set amount of time per month for us to do any tasks you need.
Not to mention we would provide far better software that to pay for yourself would cost you an arm and a leg, especially with shopify.
Now the issue with this is finding a wordpress developer you trust. If you pay peanuts, you will get monkeys. In fact today I was fixing a site for an Australian lady who paid a cheap developer who did not much more than a half-assed job.
Don’t get me wrong, the site was beautiful but to our nerd-eyes we could clearly see plenty of things that needed done on top of what the client said was wrong.
Our advice for different businesses
Take this list with a pinch of salt but this should give you an idea….
Large company with it’s own I.T department: Full, fresh coded site
Tattoo artist: Squarespace or fresh code (you need a blog, a gallery and a contact number) and focus on your social media profiles
Dentist: WordPress: generally anything with a booking system is good for wordpress
Butchers: Shopify or wordpress with woocommerce. We do offer a specific butcher’s website package
Alcohol sales: WordPress with woocommerce: this industry is ever evolving alongside the businesses of their suppliers and customer base so flexibility is vital. Also shopify is problematic for some of the finer, more complex requirements of alcohol shops. In fact we offer a specific package for selling alcohol online
Military surplus/camping: Shopify or WordPress with woocommerce: We would only recommend shopify if you intend to sell locally and not internationally
Local tradesperson(painter, plumber etc): Squarespace or fresh code
If you’re still unsure then give us a message on this contact form and we’ll give you a recommendation. We don’t mind taking a couple of minutes to reply to this as it’s not nice to see someone struggling with a platform they’ve chosen and now is causing them problems.