Since I started building websites 12 years ago I have noticed a big shift in how website owners want to interact with their website. At the beginning of my journey I would typically create hard coded websites where all content was added by myself with HTML code. With this type of website, my clients would send me updates on a regular basis and I would usually update it all on a certain day of the week.
Website owners now expect and prefer more control of their website content. They like being able to make changes by themselves without having to wait for a web developer, but they do not want to have to learn HTML coding. The solution is a content management system (CMS) with database driven copy and images, using web based forms to edit the content.
In the past I would create websites that were a combination of hard coded content mixed with dynamic CMS functions. Typically I would build these functions for products, news, events, press releases and other items that changed frequently. The reason we would have hard coded content at all rather then create functions was simple, price. It cost a lot more to build a function to manage content, especially for pages that did not change very often.
What is different now is that we have open source solutions available for free such as WordPress, which allow you to manage all the content quiet easily. The functionality has been build and it constantly updated by 1000s of open source developers. Setting up a WordPress website and applying a custom theme or functionality still takes time and costs money (it also has limitless free themes to choose from). Yet after that is all said and done, the website owner can easily change a page, paragraph, sentence or word without having to wait on their website developer.
If you have a small to medium sized brochure, blog, or even eCommerce website, chances are that WordPress has more than enough features to satisfy your company needs. Some of the features it has that we like include;
- Easy to understand content management tools
- Very SEO friendly (take advantage of the blog)
- It is constantly updated and easy to upgrade
- Access to 1000s of extra features and plug-ins
- Secure user management
- Content ownership and control
In some situations another website solution may be right for you, or a combination of products. You may have a company intranet with very specific security requirements and content management that needs to be either hand coded or handled by a different CMS such as Joomla, Drupal. Your website may be forum based would be better served by using php BB or SMF (Simple Machine Forum). Maybe you have an eCommerce website and require the features that Magento, Shopify or a custom build offer instead of using WordPress eCommerce plug-ins.
Before starting to build your website, even if you are sure of what you require, it is best to sit down with a web design professional and discuss exactly what you need your website to do. With all the technology available today, there is a chance that there is a solution out there to satisfy your website requirements, whether that solution be WordPress or one of the other many options out there.