WordPress VS Custom Website Development


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Are you thinking of making the move from your WordPress website to a custom website and CMS? When purchasing a custom CMS there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

Why am I making the transition?
What did I like / dislike about WordPress?
Make No Assumptions!

Why am I making the transition?

Firstly, ask yourself the very important question, "Why am I making the transition?" If you haven't stopped to ask yourself that question and you walk into a meeting with a custom website developer, they will certainly ask you that question. The key to understanding what you want out of a new website and CMS is to first find out why you don't want your current one.

A common answer is, "I don't understand everything WordPress does and it breaks when I touch it." If you fall into this category then really you have two options:

  1. Pay someone else to edit your WordPress site; or
  2. Have a CMS built for you!

No body wants to pay someone every time they find a spelling mistake on their website, but sometimes you let it be because you don't want to break anything. A custom CMS can be locked down to have very minimal functionality, so no matter what you do, you can't break your site.

Another common answer is "WordPress doesn't allow me to do what I want." Once again, you have two options to solve this problem:

  1. Pay someone to build a WordPress plugin every time you want new functionality, and then pay them every time WordPress updates and breaks that plugin; or
  2. Have your website built for you!

See a recurring theme here?

When you build WordPress plugins, sometimes you have no control over WordPress updating. Sometimes when these updates occur, all your custom plugins break. When you get your website and CMS built for you there are no unexpected updates. Providing the website company you have build your site is a nice company, they would inform you any and every time a necessary update is required. They would not add functionality you don't need just for the sake of giving it to you and breaking everything.

What did I like / dislike about WordPress?

So you're convinced you need a custom website with a custom CMS. When you get a custom CMS you need to let the developers know what you want.

Think about everything that you liked and everything you disliked about WordPress. Perhaps their WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor was what you liked. Perhaps you didn't like it. Maybe it gave you too many options. Do you regularly create new pages in WordPress or are you simply editing the ones you already have? Did WordPress have nice social plugins you installed? Do you use their RSS feed generator for other purposes?

The last thing you want is for your new CMS to have all the features you didn't like about WordPress, and none of the ones you did. With that in mind, you must ...

Make No Assumptions!

The most common expression we at Zimpleweb hear is "I just assumed that since WordPress did it..."

Answer this, if you assume your new custom CMS was going to do everything WordPress did, why are you making the switch? If after answering this question you decide "I don't want a custom CMS, just a custom design" then that is more than ok. Just make sure that is clear prior to any meetings.

I can't speak for all web development companies out there, but here at Zimpleweb we can build just about anything. Want to become a competitor in the search engine market against Google? Just give us about 30 years and few billion dollars... What I mean by this is, what you have to consider when asking for all the cool features you've seen on other websites is that those features take time and money to make.

Our suggestion to approaching your new CMS is think "What are the bare essentials that it must do?" This gives a good starting platform to make sure your project is on time and on budget. From there you can scale up the project with all the features you can think of.

So, if after reading this blog you aren't scared away from a custom website with a custom CMS, come talk to us at Zimpleweb. The key thing to making sure you get what you want during our meetings, is ask "why" and "how". We recognise that you don't know everything there is to know about websites and what they can do, and so are not afraid to answer your questions. This way, you make sure you get what you want. 

Lead Programmer

Brad comes from a background of Computer Science at the University of Newcastle. Not only does he know the languages of Java, PHP, C++, C#, HTML, CSS, JSP, ASP, Python, Javascript and French; he can solve a Rubiks cube in under 1 minute, and even one handed under the influence of Bicardi 151!

Brad is currently building a virtual tour of zimplewb.

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