I’ve been there during this critical period of deciding whether to use WordPress or build from scratch. And in this article, I’ll share with you tips and reasons to consider.
So, if you have a web project to build, after reading this blog post, whether to use WordPress or just code from scratch will no longer be another nut to crack. Let’s get started!
Things to consider before you are to use WordPress or build from scratch
Before we get into deciding on what method to use to build your website, here’s a list of things you should look into in advance before building your website:
- Purpose; what do you want to depict on your website? What do you want to achieve? What’s the primary purpose for your site’s existence?
- Cost; what’s your budget? how much are you willing to spend on your website for creation, development, maintenance, etc.
- Time; what’s your time frame, how long do you have for this website to be up and running?
- Target audience; identify who your site is meant for because you can’t build for everyone!
- Site objective; answer these two; what actions do you want your audience to perform when they visit your site? And, what actions will your audience perform when they visit your site?
- Content strategy; make sure you have fresh content for your site that will keep people coming back to it. Also, make sure your content is engaging, with lots of photos, shorter blocks of text, multimedia, etc.
- Site Features; It’s important to figure out in advance the features to use on your site to have a more coherent design. These are the elements that will make your site dynamic and interesting, like online forms, donation buttons, embedded video or podcasts, online quizzes, social media buttons/integration, and all other gadgets and widgets.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO); a significant percentage of Internet users start their online experience with a search engine. Meaning you’ll want to make sure your site is optimized for search.
- Site maintenance; make sure you have your people in place and know who is responsible for content creation, content uploading, etc.
If you have the above list all covered, then it’s time to move on to the next phase, that’s building your website. But with the above points in mind, you need to decide whether you’ll be building your site from scratch (custom building) or using a website building platform, in this case, WordPress.
Below, I’m going to share with you an extensive list of pros and cons that will hopefully help you make the right choice on how you can use WordPress or build from scratch
Building A Website From Scratch
Pros of Building a Website from Scratch
- Building from scratch, you’ll be able to make your website as unique as you want it to be while integrating some unique functionality that may not be possible when you use WordPress.
Additionally, you will be able to incorporate your company’s branding in your design, hence making your business stand out from the crowd.
- Your website will be more search engine friendly than a WordPress website. It will rank higher and therefore increase conversions on the internet. This will also make your website highly efficient.
- A custom-built website gives you more control over your code because, well, it’s your code! You have the liberty to add the features you want based on your goal for your site, and you won’t have unnecessary code in there that you may not need or may turn out to be problematic.
- A custom-built site can grow with your business, meaning if you make any changes to your business in the future, you can always redesign your website as well.
- A custom-built website has more support than a website built from already-made templates. Since it’s built by a professional, in case of any bugs or problems, they can easily be fixed by the original developer.
- When you build your website from scratch, it will most likely be less vulnerable to hacking. This is because you will have a more structured and ordered code which is security conscious. Unlike WordPress or other platform-based sites which have the same code, hence highly targeted by hackers.
- A custom-built website will help you grow your skill as a developer (if you’re building it yourself that is). Through the building process, you will find yourself having to research how to improve your code and implement certain functionalities into your site, overall you’ll be learning and trying out new techniques.
Cons of Building a Website from Scratch
- A website built from scratch will typically be more expensive than one built from WordPress. This is because it requires professional expertise for it to be customized according to your business needs.
- Building a website from scratch can be quite time-consuming. The process of creating a customized website takes a lot more time than creating one using WordPress. Also, any changes needed on the site may take time. If you didn’t develop it yourself, you would have to rely on your developer’s time and availability.
- When building a custom website, sometimes even the slightest error in the syntax of the code may turn into a tremendous issue that may affect the website in many ways. For example, the web page might not load properly, or some elements might now work.
- If you’re a beginner in the website-building business, coding might be a bit more tricky to navigate and you might end up having to hire an expert to create the whole website or offer support while you build the website. Some problems in the system might also require someone with advanced knowledge in coding to fix it. This could prove to be quite inconvenient and costly.
Building a Website With WordPress
WordPress is a free website design tool that was originally designed to create blogs. Over the years, it evolved and become a more complex platform for building websites.
WordPress is an open-source content management system licensed under GPLv2, meaning anyone can use or modify the WordPress software for free.
A content management system is a tool that makes it easy to manage important aspects of your website – like content – without needing to know anything about programming.
WordPress makes building a website accessible to anyone – even people who aren’t developers. You do not need to be a pro in coding and programming to create a WordPress website, all you need is basic web knowledge. That’s one of the main reasons people choose this platform to create their websites.
Pros of Building a Website With WordPress
- With WordPress, you will have a secure platform to build your site because it has an extensive community of developers who work together to detect any security loops or bugs in the system and then provide a security patch.
- WordPress constantly rolls out updates which you can always install to make your website more secure and usable.
- WordPress has a bunch of SEO plug-ins that you can add to your website, like Meta Description, H1 tags, Meta Titles, etc. these can will enable your website to rank high on search engines.
- Creating a website with WordPress takes a shorter time compared to building it from scratch. This is because the CMS has already been developed and so you can just concentrate on content and design.
Additionally, WordPress has a library of ready-made themes that you can choose from and use instead of struggling to create your own theme. As well as a wide variety of pre-made templates, features, and elements which can be used with just a few clicks.
You do not have to be a graphics design expert to stitch a visually appealing website
- Aside from the drag-and-drop system, one of the highlights of using WordPress is that it often applies sticky elements that display social media accounts or contacts. Utilizing these plugins can help increase the traffic on your website. It is also very useful to easily establish your online presence.
- Building a website with WordPress does not require users to have extensive knowledge of coding. Its built-in functions and tools make a website builder beginner-friendly.
- WordPress has responsive themes that help you make your site effective on all devices (mobile, tablets, PCs). These themes allow the user to have a positive experience while browsing your site on any device.
- WordPress started as a blogging platform and it still has a built-in blogging feature which allows you to easily set up and maintain a blog.
Cons of Building a Website With WordPress
- While it’s great to pick any theme of your choice from the library, you may find it difficult to customize the theme according to your preferences. In this case, you will require the services of an experienced web developer who understands the functionality of WordPress.
- While WordPress releases regular updates and security patches, it is still vulnerable to hackers who take advantage of the time of building these patches to hack into your site and wreak havoc on your website.
- WordPress requires regular maintenance. They keep on releasing updates and patches each year to combat hackers and pirates which may require some expertise in installing them. If you cannot do it, you will have to hire a professional web developer.
- A WordPress website may lack originality. It can also be restrictive when it comes to creativity since it follows a certain template; which template might be used by thousands of other people on their sites.
In conclusion, both custom web design and WordPress have their own pros and cons. You should decide on which method to use depending on your budget and needs.