Imagine your business unmonitored. Imagine allowing the public access to the inner workings of your business, access to your customer information. Imagine your technology naked, exposed...vulnerable.
Vulnerable. Not a word you want associated with your business technology. Generic. Unsupported. Limited. Could we use these words in reference to your website? Should you?
If your business' website is front and center in your mind, as it should be, then you'll want to read on. There seems to be a “free” trend these days with regard to website development. If you are new to online technology, you might even be convinced WordPress is one of the only options out there for creating a blog or a website. You can find a plethora of sites stating the advantages. And there are some, we do agree. But before you jump on this “free” bandwagon, let's discuss the flip side.
Vulnerable. WordPress is “open-source” technology. Their themes and plugins are a collaborative effort in which programmers improve upon the code and share the changes within the community for free. Why for free you ask? For some, it's fame or altruism. For others, it's access. Access to your admin dashboard. Ads, hidden links, backdoors and SPAM: any one or more might be contained within these free themes and plugins. Potential SQL injection attacks are another risk. Being that WordPress runs on PHP, it stores important details on your MYSQL database. Attackers have waged extremely powerful DDoS campaigns using botnets of WP servers.
Generic. Out of the box, WordPress consists of linked pages, with not much leeway for change or personalization. Basic templates are limited in capacity, as well as functionality.
Upgrades can be purchased, and that's where the “free” seems to no longer apply. And really, why pay for upgrades to a template that is available to millions of other businesses, and competitors, for that matter? With their limited capacity and functionality, these template pages are a great way to hold back the future development of your website. Wink, Wink.
Unsupported. No ongoing support. Enough said. (But we'll say more.) You cannot use WordPress without constantly updating. With each update you risk template issues and possibly some plugin issues. When an issue comes up resulting from that update...no support.
There is a very low barrier to entry for somebody to claim they are a WordPress "expert." Sure, that guy in Somewherestan sounds like a great bargain at $4/hour today. What happens when somebody offers him $5/hour and he's gone. Like he never existed. A week before you are scheduled to go live. What are you going to do? Call Interpol?
Let's add in one more:
Lost. Your “generic” template website will not rank high on a “generic” keyword search on a search engine. Isn't that ironic. Look at the high ranking websites in your searches, we guarantee there are no free ones. WordPress is SEO friendly, yes. But don't be fooled into thinking all you need is a general SEO understanding. Advanced knowledge is key, especially in the areas of page structure and content strategies.
WordPress can be a great option for some businesses. Let's say your business builds on word of mouth recommendations, for example, or your business clientele is reached mostly by print media, without a doubt WordPress can work for you.
If you are looking for a website that will continue trending with your business growth, a custom site is the way to go. Don't just assume it's not within your budget. Custom sites can be sized to fit your budget. Plus, the modifications and tweaking of customized websites can be accomplished easier (and cheaper) as time goes by.
Custom sites are prepared with your specific business needs in mind, current and future. This customization allows you to keep your branding intact, reflecting the same styles, colors, and fonts as your brochures, logos and signage.
Want full access? With a designer you can chose the level of access you have to your site.
Bonus: When choosing a design professional to build your website, you are getting a marketing consultation for free. There's a lot to evalute. So we will leave you with one question to get you started. Ask yourself: What am I trying to accomplish from a marketing perspective?