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wordpress websites

Wordpress website - NOT just for blogs anymore

WordPress website – NOT just for blogs anymore

WordPress Web Site?

I’ll be honest: the first time I saw a WordPress website, I was completely underwhelmed. I think my professional response was something along the lines of, “WordPress is for blogs – NOT websites. Let’s build you a PROPER website.” Honestly, it WAS a poorly built website: the website looked shabby, looked like a WordPress blog with almost NO modification, and worse, it couldn’t even be found when you typed in the client’s name. So whoever did it, DID do a crappy job. BUT, that got me looking into WordPress web sites in 2009.

Lizardwebs did almost entirely hand-coded websites from 1997 when we did our first business website until about 2012 when we did our LAST “from scratch” hand-coded ASP site.  The absolute last one we did was for a little TV show called “Lizard Lick Towing” a few years back. I was the indigenous web dev company and had  known them for quite a few years. But that was the LAST time we went for anything hand coded. We’re not against it, but turning out a quality site takes considerably longer than basing your site on one of the CMSes – like WordPress. Honestly, I think very few companies do truly hand-coded websites anymore – and a bunch of the newer companies wouldn’t even know where to start!

The websites, they are a’ changin’

(Sorry for that purloined phrase, Mr. Dylan) BUT, the websites, they ARE a changin’. WordPress has become a very powerful website building tool that is both powerful as far as usability for the end user and for the web site developer, as well as in overal website capabilities.

WordPress offers powerful widgets (plugins)

There are numerous plugins (widgets) that can be added to a WordPress site to give incredible capabilities to your website in minutes. And to make it better, MANY of these are free. Having built a lot of these advanced capabilities into some of my own hand-coded websites in the past, I can authoritatively say that a majority of these apps are far cleaner and are better tested than most hand-coded stuff. With a HUGE user base, if a mistake is in the widget code, it is usually found and corrected quickly. When you have some hand built code, it can take days, weeks and even months to find problems in it. With the huge WordPress community banging on it, mistakes don’t stay around long.

WordPress widgets are available for nearly anything you could possibly want to do with a WordPress site. I currently use a number of WordPress widgets for things ranging from events calendars to SEO items such as Google sitemaps and Search Engine Optimization(SEO).

Change the look of your site inexpensively and quickly

WordPress themes (WordPress templates) can either be bought inexpensively or created specifically for your website. Having a custom WordPress theme does ensure that no other site will look exactly like your WordPress website – which can be a good thing amongst so many WordPress sites out there. I haven’t done an authoritative review of other WordPress theme builders, but Lizardwebs in Raleigh NC is very reasonable about building a custom WordPress theme for your website.

Maintain your own website

Customers can change their own data without the help of expensive webmasters or web developers. If there’s one repetitive thing that I hear from both clients and potential clients, it’s, “I want to be able to change my own website. Can I do that?” With the very user friendly WordPress website, you sure can! I have built a CMS system that was very comprehensive in the past (about 10 years ago now), but at that time, it was still something that people didn’t understand and really didn’t want to use. But the times.. and all that. Now users really want the ability to change their own content. And with WordPress, it’s a snap.

Maintaining your OWN web content and web site has great benefits. As a webmaster that maintains several sites, I would like to think that I’m always able to hop right on a customer change request for their website. But I’m also a realist: things come up, other projects are ahead of the web request, sometimes it’s a big change and you just don’t have time to get to it immediately. When you maintain your own content, you can quickly toss on an event, a special sale that you have coming up, change prices on your website or any other number of things that frequently are handled by expensive web hosting companies or individual web developers.

Should MY COMPANY use a WordPress website?

So what kinds of things should we consider when looking into a WordPress website?

  • Are you somewhat flexible with your design?
    WordPress DOES use a general layout schema that is mutable and it CAN be highly customized. However, if you’re trying to save money by using WordPress, remember that a lot of customizing can be expensive. If you are trying to do lots of gradients, image alignments that need to be pixel perfect, my own opinion is that it is going to take some serious hours – and that really is NOT making the best use of WordPress. Can it be done? Yes, but you’ll spend a chunk to get it there.
  • Does your site scream for some serious functionality?
    WordPress sites are powerful out of the box, but can be extended immensely by WordPress widgets. If you want a lot of functionality, WordPress can be extremely cost effective – but as above, you really do have limited modification abilities. Sure you can pay your developer to hack the code to give you certain custom modifications to different widgets, but you will forever end up paying your developer to maintain that code. As new updates come out, it will no longer be just “Click here to upgrade” simple. You will again need to have some flexibility to really make use of these powerful WordPress widgets.
  • Do you want the ability to change the look of your site quickly?
    WordPress templates / WordPress Skins / and officially, WordPress themes can be built to change the whole look and feel of your WordPress website quickly. As I’m writing this shortly before Thanksgiving 2010, perhaps you want to give your website that holiday appearance. With WordPress, it’s really as easy as uploading a new WordPress theme and activating it. That simple. No lengthy major redo as with a hand-coded site.

Those are just some of the things to think about in WordPress sites There are a lot of pluses, and a few minuses, with a WordPress site, but if you need more information, we urge you to contact Lizardwebs. We’ll be glad to take a few minutes to discuss your website needs and guide you in the right direction. As it’s often said, “When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail..” We have a lot of tools and some are better than others for certain needs. Lizardwebs will be happy to recommend an effective website tool for YOUR needs whatever they are!

Lizardwebs recommends WordPress as a valuable website building platform

So do we recommend a WordPress site? You betcha. While a WordPress site isn’t for everybody, it is highly flexible CMS platform suitable for many websites, it should be relatively inexpensive and should provide you great SEO results. So.. Let Lizardwebs build YOU a PROPER website today – with WordPress!