We hear from folks all over Northwest Arkansas who confidently assure us that their organization needs a WordPress website. However, after a little discussion, we often find that WordPress isn't at all what their organization needs. This isn't because of anything WordPress is lacking, it's simply a misunderstanding of what WordPress is.
Why is it that so many people self-assuredly conclude that they should use WordPress? And what should they be using instead? The answer lies in an often misunderstood component of the web design world known as a Content Management System. What has folks confused is just how similar WordPress is to a "Content Managed" website.
To explain what is happening, we need to look back at the early days of web design. Back then, the non-technical staff at any organization with a website had little recourse for making changes or updates to their website – they would have to call their web designer for every little change or update. This often meant getting charged an hourly or monthly rate.
Naturally, organizations complained about the inefficiency and high cost in this process. So the web design world began looking for a way to allow people without web experience to make changes to content without damaging the overall website. This is when the concept of a Content Management System was developed. Most web developers call it CMS for short.
Flash forward a few years and today's web designers are able to set up a CMS website providing access to as much – or as little – of the website as their client feels comfortable with editing. The CMS can be as simple as merely allowing you to edit text. Or it could be more advanced, allowing you to edit titles, text color, images, or even the layout of the website itself.
As web designers began building more and more websites, it became clear that there was one specific type of CMS website that was being asked for over and over again: a personal publishing website known today as simply a Blog.
This is where WordPress entered the picture. Before it was called WordPress, it was called "b2/cafelog" and it started as a platform that essentially offered a CMS tailored specifically for the needs of bloggers. It allowed virtually anyone with little or no web design experience the ability to have a blog or website up and running with very little time and effort.
Eventually, b2/cafelog was transformed into WordPress when the developers "opened" the platform up to allow coders from all over the world to start manipulating the platform. More and more people began to push the limits of what this simple blogging platform was designed to do. Web designers with coding skills began to modify their WordPress blogs far past what the initial developers could have imagined. And other bloggers began using these modifications (or Plugins) on their WordPress sites as well.
As WordPress grew in popularity, so did the variety and style of websites that could be built with it. This is where the confusion started. First, the general public heard that WordPress could be used by the average person that doesn't have any web design experience. Secondly, they heard that WordPress could make a wide range of websites serving all sorts of purposes. These two bits of information have led innumerable people to the conclusion that by using WordPress, they will be able to get a website that is both tailored to their needs and also get a comprehensive CMS that will be easy for them to use.
This conclusion is generally off the mark. While a WordPress website can certainly be contorted to produce a vast array of websites, the very nature of this contortion makes the CMS considerably more difficult to use – which eliminates one of the big appeals of WordPress, namely that anyone would be able to make updates and changes.
Likewise, you can keep the CMS very simple and easy to use, but that means you will have to use WordPress the way it was initially intended – essentially as a blog.
Take a look at the clients that WordPress lists on their homepage. The vast majority of these big names are using WordPress, but only in the blog capacity. Sony, Coca-Cola, eBay, Herman Miller, etc. These big name clients can lead people to believe the whole world is using WordPress, when in fact they are using them for their blogs and likely have their full site built with a custom CMS.
So, is a WordPress website really what your organization needs? Or do you need a website design that looks great and that you can also manage on your end (without taking a web design class)?
Because in today's world, websites are more than just an online billboard – they are living, growing components of every successful organization. Your website will need to be able to grow and thrive along side your organization – not lag behind waiting on a web designer to make updates.
That's why at Doc4 Design, in addition to being WordPress experts, we also specialize in designing and coding custom-fitted, content managed websites that you can handle on your own. If you want to find out how your organization can get a great website that you will be able to update, revise, and manage on your own, contact Doc4 Design today and let's talk about the right platform for your website.