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WordPress vs. Bespoke

When I’m making a bespoke HTML website I use a very different work method to when I’m making a WordPress site. With the former I make all the pages first, show the client, make alterations and then publish. In the case of WordPress the process is different. You publish immediately and then add, supplement and style.

WordPress is a skeleton installation. The WordPress files are installed using the hosting control panel. Once this is done the site is accessed via the WordPress login page. Editing and altering are done live. WordPress uses a powerful editor that uses php to interact with the main hosting account to make changes to a site.

There are a number of advantages to using WordPress or other content management systems. The main one is that very little knowledge of HTML is necessary to get started. However, to alter font sizes, colours, link colours etc. you often have to go into the editor files and change css and php files. This can be daunting and disastrous as there is no backup to easily ‘step back’.

Another great feature of WordPress is that you can change theme (design template), navigation menus etc. and everything updates automatically. With a bespoke HTML website such changes would mean altering every page by hand.

For this reason with WordPress we find the best way to proceed is to get the content up first and then work on refining the design of the theme.

When I first started internet marketing one of the best bits of advice I received was to focus on putting up content and getting links. It is a waste of time making a beautiful site if no one is finding it. People can get too hung up with appearance. It is common for customers to complain that their site has a high bounce rate (% of people who leave after viewing 1 page). The truth is that people surfing the net often flick from 1 thing to another with little rhyme or reason, and this should not be seen as indicating poor design. It is more useful to compare bounce rates over time. It should be that as a site gains better placement in search engine results and as it gets more content on it the site should naturally start performing better and converting. The average visitor is less concerned about fancy graphics, sliders, logos, buttons etc. then the site owner. They have eyes for other things; a different agenda and perspective.

Although WordPress has a vast amount of themes to choose from – both free and premium – the sites that use WordPress do tend to look similar. For people looking for something original looking, WordPress is not the best option.

The other reservation I have about WordPress and other content management systems is that the php login system leaves a site open to attack form hackers. I have only had 2 html sites hacked, whereas I have experienced dozens of WordPress hacks. Their security is improving but remains intrinsically vulnerable.

We don’t live in a perfect world and the debate as to whether to use WordPress or not just confirms this truism.