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Believe it or not, your best bet for building a website today is not a custom website. It’s a website built with WordPress’ flexible content management system (CMS).
This web development secret may come as a surprise to many folks. Isn’t a made-to-order dream home better than a mass-produced, cookie-cutter tract house? Isn’t a custom toasted sub better than a store-bought tuna club?
You may be right about houses and sandwiches, but a website is not a house. Or a sandwich.
To be sure, there are cases where a custom website build is called for. But I’m here to tell you that most businesses today could easily run their company with a well-built customizable WordPress CMS. Here’s why.
The Good Intentions of Going Custom
When folks choose a custom-built website, I like to think they have the best of intentions in mind. A new website design is an investment. There’s value in doing things right the first time. And it’s smart not to cut corners on something as important as your business website. There’s also the general truth that you get what you pay for. And of course, when it comes to houses and sandwiches, custom-built can be pretty nice.
A custom-built website is certainly an investment. It will cost you more and take longer to deliver. However, the added price and time frame won’t necessarily get you a better end-product. A website is something that you and your team will use daily or weekly for years after the web development work is done. The worst thing is when a new client comes to us with a website they paid a bundle for but can’t use.
The Custom-Build Site Is Usually Overkill or Worse
The sad fact is, that for nine out of 10 business websites, a custom-built site is usually overkill. Or worse, a nightmare that makes it harder to run your business.
To illustrate, I’d like you to forget about custom dream homes and made-to-order subs. Instead, picture the car restoration television show, “Pimp My Ride.” The series has long been canceled but continues to exist as an internet meme. There’s a reason for that.
The show would do far more than fix the mechanics of beat-up old cars. Racing spoilers, entertainment systems, fish tanks, clothes dryers, fireplaces, and cotton candy machines would all be installed in show participants’ vehicles. A cotton candy machine in a car worked about as well as you’d guess it did.
Your website also doesn’t need a cotton candy machine. A car has a particular purpose. At a certain point, customizations become more hindrance than help. Same is true of your website.
The “Out-of-the-Box” CMS Isn’t So Out-of-the-Box
Now, one reason folks assume they need a custom website is a mistaken belief about what an “out-of-the-box” CMS looks like. There are three big players in the CMS marketplace: Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress. We happen to prefer WordPress (WP), but the following is true of all three CMS platforms.
A content management system is just a standardized system for managing your highly customized content. Most of the work of the CMS happens behind the scenes, in a dashboard portal that you, your webmaster, your marketing team, and your agency partners log into to manage the website.
In other words, the same interface on the back end of your site can be used to produce wildly different websites for customers to interact with. This is what makes choices like WP so great. There’s a standard out-of-the-box interface, but the options for building a business web presence that’s completely unique and perfectly customized to your needs are endless.
Plus, there are plenty of customization tweaks that can be made to a CMS. This is usually done with plugins or widgets, small bits of code that extend the functionality of your CMS without drastic alterations to the basic workings of your site. Some of these plugins are household names in the design community, such as Yoast SEO, JetPack, Akismet, etc. So, you see, it’s possible to get customization without ending up with a fish tank and a fireplace in your car. Or website.
The Solution Is a Customizable WordPress CMS
We build a lot of our client sites with WordPress. On the front end, your website can be almost anything you want — an e-commerce store, a professional services site, a corporate site, a blog, a media repository. Yet on the back end, the CMS will be familiar and easy to use for all your team members.
You may be thinking — What is this WordPress going to cost me? That’s the best part. WordPress is an open source software product. While a new business website will certainly have a cost to it, the WordPress CMS part is effectively free. Many of the top plugins and widgets used to add customization to your new site are developed by small shops, where the cost is also minimal or free.
I should also point out that you are in good company if you choose a WordPress CMS. To date, about 75 million websites worldwide run on the WordPress CMS. Almost 20% of the top 1 million websites are WP sites and 4.5% of the whole internet is running on WP now. Also, some of your favorite websites may be WordPress sites — including Time, Fortune, Quartz, and CNN.
Finally, the reason WP has become such a standard-bearer in the CMS world is because it’s so easy to use. We love giving a WordPress built to our clients because we know it will be both powerful and easy to use. The interface is very intuitive, which empowers businesses to make the most of their online presence so they can grow and even exceed their goals and targets.
There are certainly situations where a custom website is necessary. But for 99.9% of businesses looking to redesign their current web presence, a custom website is usually overkill. It may even make it harder to run your business. Instead, your best bet is a flexible, customizable CMS like WordPress. It will give you a website that’s both easy to use and powerful enough to meet the needs of your business.
See how Kaleidico can help you build the website you want, at the price you want. Give us a call at 313-338-9515 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how our full-service digital agency can help with all your website needs.