Why Choose WordPress for Your Next Site?
Hopefully you have a relationship with a Web consultant who can help you understand WordPress vs HTML. But if you haven’t gotten that far yet and you’d like to have a little information before you assign your next Web project, I hope this post will help you make a more informed decision.
There is no one correct answer. What you decide to do is completely up to you. Having said that, let’s look at HTML.
Traditional Static HTML
HTML 5 is is now ready for prime time. If you happen to currently have an XHTML 1.0 site, no need to panic but you do need to add an update to your To-Do list. But if you are having a new site built soon, it really should have HTML5 under the hood.
In general, HTML sites are static in that they deliver a finite number of pages. Each page is manually created by your Web developer or designer. There is no database working in the background generating pages when the browser comes a knocking at your Web site’s door. Static sites are simpler. We refer to them as vanity sites or brochure-ware sites that simply translate your printed marketing message to an online presence. Sites like this can be built and serve as your online very presence nicely. The advantage of this type of site is that there isn’t much about it that will interest hackers.
As a rule of thumb, if your site will not need frequent updates, has a limited number of products and/or services, doesn’t conduct e-commerce or need to track memberships, manage blog posts, events or transactions a static site may be fine for your needs.
Things to keep in mind should you choose the HTML route:
- Make sure you keep a copy of the site backed up for the sake of an emergency or a mistake is made somewhere along the way.
- If you decide to edit the site yourself it will need to know how to use an HTML editor or write HTML.
- You will need to upload your files either though a browser application or a FTP client to your hosting account.
- The cost of such a site is no more or less than a WordPress site. But how much it will cost is yet to be determined because your site, like your business, is unique.
WordPress as a Content Management System or Blog
If you want to enjoy features provided by a database driven content management system (AKA: CMS) you should choose WordPress. Yes, WordPress started out being useful for blogging but it now does so much more. Have a look at the WordPress.org site and search through their extend section. There are lots of site features that WordPress makes more convenient. You can (if you have the time) install, maintain and edit it yourself.
But there are a few things you need to keep in mind if you choose to have a WordPress site:
- WordPress is a perpetual work in progress. New versions come out many times each year. It is important to keep WordPress up to date so it will work properly but also for the sake of security. Hackers find weaknesses in older versions of OpenSource applications.
- The WordPress community offers thousands of available plugins (many are free and some for a fee). Some plugins need to be updated almost as often as WordPress itself. Even if you don’t have the plugin activated you’ll need to keep it updated.
- The WordPress community offers thousands of themes (many are free and some for a fee) which may or may not need occasional updates. Themes control the look of your WordPress site and you just might want to customize the theme you choose too.
- You will need to backup your site files as well as backup the MySQL database files regularly.
- Lastly, you should consider putting in place and maintaining security practices to strengthen your sites resistance to hackers.
If your site has a few pages, you may not need WordPress. But if you hope to be able to control the look of your site and extend it in the future with the power of a database, don’t hesitate to use WordPress. The real point of this article is to get you to ask yourself the all important question: What goals do you have for a site? Represent your products or services? Deliver a message or share your thoughts with the world? Collect names and addresses for a mailing list? Create an online meeting place? Sell products?
If you are ready to consider a new or a site update, I invite you to take advantage of my FREE Web Planning Questionnaire which will collect all your site building goals into one documented repository. It could serve as a strong road map for the developer you eventually choose to build your site.
One last consideration, often times I encounter potential clients who have already invested in an HTML site and think that they have a working site that can be used as a foundation for future iterations of a new site. Sadly, only very rarely does that scenario turn out to be true. Often times the person who built the site did so with such poor practices that working from the original site would simply be unethical for a legitimate Web developer to engage.