WordPress has developed over the last decade from a blogging platform to become the tool of choice for creating rich, content managed websites. It is web based software with an easy to use dashboard that makes managing your website simple and straightforward. If you can use a program like Word, then you can edit using WordPress.
At the Cybermill it’s our preferred platform for developing most of our sites, but we don’t just use the basic functionality or apply ready-made templates that are available on the web, we always create our sites to our customer’s exact requirements.
In May 2017, WordPress will be 14 years old and it’s made a plethora of improvements over the years in its transition from a personal publishing platform. At the time of writing, WordPress powers around 27.7% of all websites. It’s still the most used Content Management System with a 59% market share, and on a daily basis over 500 websites are being made utilising WordPress (for the most up to date info see https://w3techs.com/).
Why we use WordPress
WordPress gives our users the easiest way to update their sites. It’s simple to publish new content, update and add new pages. It provides a page structure that lends itself perfectly to Search Engine Optimisation, and with an appropriate plugin, this can be made simple for a client to alter themselves.
This is why we use it. It’s powerful, extendable and doesn’t take much space on the server. It’s free, there are no licensing costs, it’s easy to deploy and relatively easy to maintain (providing the site has been well constructed).
WordPress can be used to create complex ecommerce sites, booking systems and much more, because it is so powerful and easily extendable it can do almost anything. Take a look at some recent sites we’ve built using WordPress to show you what we can do with it:
- Skelf Frames – We created a website with a full e-commerce shop and a custom frame calculator.
- Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership – This is a large information site which needed a custom menu structure, extensive resource sections and interactive Google Maps.
- On Your Doorstep – Their extensive online listings website is created using WordPress.
- Pateley Bridge Tourist Information Centre Touch Screen App – We created an interactive touch screen map application using WordPress.
You can see more of the work we have done with WordPress in our portfolio.
Is there a downside to WordPress?
WordPress it’s not without its problems – the code is open source so there are inherent risks in being hacked. WordPress security has improved dramatically over the years, and we’ve written previous posts about securing a site and the pitfalls of installing free templates and themes.
We address these problems by securing the system as far as possible against hackers, creating our own themes from scratch and writing our own plugins wherever possible. Having said this, there are a lot of tried and tested safe plugins available that allow us to expand the system to build e-commerce sites, collaboration sites, member based websites and such like. Remember, it’s not the only platform with vulnerabilities and static websites are also just as prone to attacks.
WordPress is also constantly updating adding in new features and patching security issues and bugs. As a result the core of WordPress, themes and plugins need to be updated to keep the site secure and to take advantage of any new features. This can sometimes prove to be a big job depending on how many plugins need updating. At The Cybermill we offer maintenance contracts to keep your website updated on a monthly basis, we do all updates on a development copy of your website first and fix any issues that arise, before implementing the update on your live website.
If it’s free, why do we charge so much to build a website using it?
We spend a lot of time designing a custom site and the user interface and make WordPress a fully capable CMS. We build our own theme, plugins and shortcodes as necessary and we organize the site in a systematic way. Our clients are not looking for WordPress, they are looking for a solution. It just so happens that WordPress is where we start.
A lot of the sites that we develop require a large amount of changes to the way WordPress works. Luckily it’s very expandable and configurable. This can be done without reprogramming any of the core, so you can continue to receive updates to WordPress without overwriting any of the changes that we’ve made to your website.
Oh, and the title of this post? When you install WordPress for the first time, the title of your new website is: “Just another WordPress blog”.