When it Comes to Developing a Website – One Size Does Not Fit All

When embarking on a website project most people/companies focus on what’s on the front side (what it looks like) and not so much on the back side (what makes it tick). Picking the right technology to suit your website build is just as important as what your color palette and aesthetics look like.

What type of technology should your website include?

Any good agency should be having the discussion of what you hope to achieve with your website, early on in the discovery process. This will make sure they understand what the short term and long term needs of your project is. You need to make sure that the website can scale with your  business if needed. Building an appropriate solution is important to all of this. There are many different technologies and canned frameworks/CMS’s (content management solutions), but for this article I will concentrate on three main stream, popular website CMS approaches.

Brochure website: this category of website covers about 75% of all websites that are out there and will fulfill most companies/individuals web needs. This type of website is typically more of a branding piece that is used as a gateway to your business. Attributes that would make up this kind of website are: basic homepage layouts, about us, services, contact page, etc… These brochure style websites aren’t’ necessarily always small in size. Many brochure websites showcase (100+) pages and have features like data driven galleries, directories and a variety of custom applications. However, the overall scope of a brochure website is typically limited in complexity and delivers common attributes.

Is WordPress the right website CMS for your build?

WordPress (WP) is an easy to use CMS (content management system) that is perfect for brochure style websites. Other CMS solutions such as Joomla and Drupal exist, but for this article we will focus on what WordPress can do for you. WP is used by 60.6% of all the websites who need a content management system. This is a whopping 23.4% of all websites online. WP is well documented and has a huge base of developers to support it. Building your website in WP has major advantages in that it is a full CMS. Having a full CMS allows for easy updating and editing of content. WP also has an enormous amount of plugins available, which allows you to add additional features such as galleries, forms and more at a very cost effective price point.

wordpress-logoSaving money is another great reason to use WP to build your website. WP is an open source platform, so the software itself has no cost to you. The only cost in building your website is to design the way it looks to meet your corporate branding needs. Typically these costs can range from $5,000-$20,000+ depending on the size and complexity of your website project.

In the early years of WP, it had troubled vulnerability issues and was the target of many cyber attacks. However, in recent years this activity has subsided since version 3.7 was released, where automatic updates were introduced. This updated technology has greatly reduced the amount of vulnerabilities making WP a safe and effective solution you can count on. Choosing a quality WP-centric hosting provider can also greatly reduce vulnerabilities. Hosting companies who specialize in hosting WP platforms have better more secure technologies in place to support the platform.

woocommerce-logoThough WP may not be known for e commerce, does have the ability to handle a moderate to mid level e commerce offering. By installing plugins like woocommerce and such you can have a well functioning online store up and running in no time at all. Some of the WP e commerce plugins are very powerful, so much so that it can even enable you to run a fairly large e commerce website at a reasonable entry price point.

Building an enterprise level e-commerce website?

Magento is a great CMS solution to consider for larger e commerce website builds. Magento offers an extensive, more robust e commerce platform. Its platform is designed to easily manage larger enterprise level builds where large amounts of product and rules (like promo codes, magento-logoshipping API tie ins and more) come into play. Magento typically has a larger investment cost of entry  versus WordPress. It takes more time and skill to set up and theme. The cost of this software can range from $0 for the free community edition and upwards of $15,000/year or more for the enterprise edition. Basic set up and styling can range from $5,000 – $50,000 plus. Magento gives you unlimited scalability to support your growing online store with ease.

Custom/application website: this type of website can be pretty much anything ranging from a one page site to something as large as Facebook. It can be a single static .html file to a full blown MVC framework. Why would you go this route, well the first thing you would ask yourself is “Does my website do something”. Does it allow users to log in, does it create and reports, does it sell things, does it store data… These types of website usually do not fit a mold like WP or Magento but are 100% custom based on your needs. They are usually enterprise level with enterprise level tools and can scale to meet what ever needs your company may need down the road. They are more like an iceberg where only about 10% of the website is visible to the public and the rest is reserved to do stuff.

The technology can also range from server side services like PHP and MySQL to server side technologies like Node.js, backbone, angular, go and MongoDB or CouchDB. Cost can be much higher for these types of website due to the fact they are 100% custom. This also requires the design and programming team an immense planning and execution schedule. Costs can range from $10,000 – $1,000,000+.

So next time an agency jumps to a conclusion that what you need is WordPress, make sure they have asked the right questions and listened carefully to your needs and future plans. Spending $15,000 on a custom WordPress website to find out a year later it does not (or will not) fulfill your growth expectations would be a waste of money.

Your digital future is as important as the quality of products and services you are selling.

This article was written to help you understand the flexibilities and complexities involved with selecting the right website software solution. Making informed business decisions pertaining to your digital future is or should be as important as anything you do in business. At Trademark Creative Ltd. we’re here to help you succeed when it comes to marketing your business online and offline. Give us a call and let’s get started!

Note about the author: Tim Davis has over 20 years experience building websites, from large .coms, small business and nonprofits. For the last 3 years I have done nothing but responsive design in an agency setting, working with many client both small and large using many different platforms to deliver quality websites. Currently I hang my hat at Trademark Creative were we strive to deliver the very best website for your marketing/sales goals.

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