The decision over how to build your new website really is split based on your requirements and your budget.

WordPress is without a doubt the most cost-effective of the two but there are pros and cons which I will discuss throughout this post.


 

Custom built websites

A custom build will enable you to have a very tailored, unique and lean site that hopefully fulfills your needs. Custom builds, if your developer is worth their salt, are often more robust, optimised and bullet proof from a security perspective.

The positives
A tailor-made site, custom to your business, unique and optimised with no bloaty code.

The negatives.
The success of a custom-built relies heavily on the experience of the developer. Skills aside, communication from early briefing stages right through the development cycle is so important in ensuring your needs and goals are understood and met.

As a client you also need to be totally clear with the dev company what your objectives are. Make a specific feature list, establish a solid contract and discuss what post go-live support will be included and what level of scope of support you will get.

A lot of custom build websites out there have little to no usable CMS and as a result, businesses find themselves in a situation where they have zero control over their content and are locked into a difficult battle with the development company whenever they need to make changes. You suddenly lose your leverage and unfortunately there are unscrupulous companies out there who will charge a fortune for any additional changes post go-live.

From a business perspective this obviously isn’t ideal and that’s where wordpress joins the party.


 

WordPress

WordPress has grown massively over the years and there are currently 74.6 million wordpress powered sites out there with 22% of new registered domains being powered by WordPress! Not bad for a blogging platform. Like a custom build, it too has it’s pros and cons.

WordPress as a core CMS platform is well supported, constantly updated with a whole community of developers providing plugins and themes to extend the functionality of your site.

Plugins, although very handy at filling the functionality gap is also where the negatives lie. Security is an ongoing issue with wordpress with many holes that can be exploited by a hacker or bot through 3rd party developed plugins.

Fortunately with some careful post launch steps these security holes can also be covered and a hacked wordpress site is often the result of sloppy password choices and not software vulnerability.

WordPress is my personal platform of choice. Outlined below are reasons why I feel this is the best choice for small-medium sizes businesses, whether you’re a new company or perhaps redesigning an old site.

Flexibility
As discussed earlier, to have the ability to build a site, make it look and work perfectly and then hand over to your client to self manage is a real positive, both for your client and yourself.

Being able to white label the backend CMS for your client and giving them the power to manage their own content is very desirable to the majority of clients out there.

As part of tripsixdesigns approach to web design and development we will always build in a few hrs of Skype screen share meetings to go through the wordpress CMS with the client so they understand how to manage core areas.

Occasionally your client will need to come back to perhaps add certain functionality or major changes to the website but the important thing Is you won’t be burdened with making tiny content changes.

Cost
Clients wanting a website will have varying budgets and requirements. The beauty of wordpress is that if budget is a major restriction then you can always suggest a core theme to the client which is close of enough to their required result but can then be heavily modified and branded to their needs.

This approach will massively accelerate production time as most premium themes come with some amazing core functionality out of the box. Adaptive responsivity, modern design, short codes and many other features built right of the box.

The majority of projects we have completed in this fashion have had fast development times, often only a few months (dependent on size and complexity of the site)

Anything that’s not covered through the theme can be covered using carefully selected plugins and/or custom coded page templates and widgets.


Conclusion

I have been heavily involved with designing and building custom wordpress websites and also hand coded custom websites.

I have seen 1st hand the pros and cons of both approaches but time and time again a wordpress powered site wins hands down. It empowers your client, gives them control and frees you up to focus on what you love, design!

I look forward to all the exciting things in the pipeline for wordpress and the overall community and see it continuing to grow in popularity.

If you would like to discuss a potential website project with tripsix design then please get in touch.

dsamwell

Author dsamwell

Damien Samwell, founder of Tripsixdesign and graphic designer. Damien loves design, photography, travel and carving up the mountain on a bike or board!

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