Most people still think of WordPress as just a blogging platform. Although that’s how it started back in 2003, it’s since grown to become a solution for large scale media portals, eCommerce sites, business sites, portfolios, classifieds, social networks and more.
From time to time we get asked why we include WordPress in our repertoire. While we don’t recommend it for everything, we’re still impressed (after all these years) by its flexibility and ease of use — both from a development standpoint and for the client.
Hit the ground running
This is our number one reason for using WordPress, and most probably the number one reason our clients end up loving it. They can take control of their website from day one. We want to make it as easy as possible for clients to control their content, whatever their level of technical literacy, whatever the size of their team – and we’re able to structure it to suit the specific needs and ability of every client. From early on we’ve found that just an hour of WordPress training is enough to enable a client to get up and running, and very little (if any) ongoing support is required.
Flexibility — more than you’d expect
What do we mean by “flexibility”? All modern content management systems let you switch themes, add your own content labels, and customise a variety of settings. WordPress does all that.
WordPress also provides infinite flexibility for content types, content structure and data management. So, while we may use the basic platform as a starting point, we can manipulate it in ways that turn it into something remarkably different to meet very unique content requirements; for example, a custom content type with custom fields and information specific to function rooms.
Or a streamlined admin tool that allows a client’s front desk to manage the processing of walk-in and phone-in customers.
It’s the limitless development potential that keeps it at the forefront of our recommendations. We’ve integrated WordPress with many third party systems including Salesforce and Onyx CRMs; SendGrid, MailGun, MailChimp and Campaign Monitor transactional email systems; remote APIs provided by media and content outlets; Sharepoint calendars, external systems proprietary to our clients among many other APIs and platforms.
Sustainable SEO made easy
Out of the box, WordPress comes with basic search engine optimisation features like friendly URL structures, categories and tags, internal and external link configurations, fields for accessibility metadata, and automatic thumbnail generation. So, even with minimal customisation we’re starting from a solid foundation.
With additional (custom) development and robust third-party plugins, we can add even more tools for, say, keyword optimisation, readability analysis and custom social media parameters. Users with only basic SEO knowledge can still maintain an optimised website because we can cut every new feature to fit the authoring workflow.
The reality of ongoing operational costs kick in after a web project ends. This is where WordPress wins on a number of fronts. Besides the base platform being free and open source, it’s also widely supported by development houses and web hosting providers. This means you gain significant cost savings in licensing fees and specialty (read: expensive) service providers.
If you’ve ever been burned by proprietary content management systems that simply become obsolete after a few years, this easily maintained platform is an obvious choice. Upgrading is simple and, in some cases, can be completely automated to ensure smooth running over the entire lifespan of your site.
Yet, we don’t recommend it for everything
For example, very large scale and highly complex eCommerce environments are often better off on the Magento infrastructure. Portals and intranet-type sites may be better served by a CMS like Drupal or SilverStripe. For web applications, we’d recommend a framework like Laravel. Meanwhile, simple landing pages and brochureware, or sites with irregular content structures, are often delivered faster and cheaper without any content management system at all. As always, it comes down to the objectives of your site and projects.
And if that’s not enough…
As of this post, WordPress is the most popular CMS across the web. It powers over 50% of websites that use a CMS, and that figure is growing. After years of working with it ourselves, we can see why big sites like Time.com, Bloomberg Professional, Sony Music, Quartz, The Walt Disney Company, Snoop Dogg, Mercedes-Benz and the official site of Sweden run on it too.
Given it handles just about everything, from small personal blogs to massive eCommerce and media hubs, we’re fairly confident about recommending this platform to our clients.