There is no doubt that WordPress is both popular and a powerful way of creating websites for all purposes and one that is becoming the Content Management System (CMS) of choice for many web design companies. The reasons for this are that today, WordPress has become a very stable, well-tuned open source package that is also easy to use. Also by using additional sub programs, known as ‘Plugins’ (more on these later) it allows for the creation of sites that can just about do anything.
In the past, many web development agencies developed their own Content Management Systems, but now as WordPress has both matured and become more secure, in many more instances they are starting to use WordPress as their CMS of choice.
One of the biggest advantages of this approach is that they don’t have to continually update their bespoke CMS in line with changes on the Internet, e.g changes to Browsers or new security threats, as WordPress is always updating its core system. However, whilst this is a bonus, it also causes problems of its own (more on this later too).
How WordPress is used to create websites
There are basically three ways in which a website can be created using WordPress.
Using a Theme
As WordPress has become more popular, more and more developers have turned their hands to creating what are known as Themes. These are very easy to use and together with some chosen Plug Ins, provide what is basically a ‘website in a box’.
All you have to do here is to upload some images, add some content and configure the Plugins as needed and ‘hey presto’ you have a working website. Or at least that how it looks.
Customising a Theme
This methodology takes the Theme to a new level of functionality as it allows it to do things it could not, in its basic form, accomplish. Whilst this looks like a great way of getting a really cool website, there are some severe disadvantages to this route.
From the Ground Up
WordPress is a fully functional website creation package and is relatively easy to use and configure (certainly far easier than building a CMS from scratch). However, this route takes a lot more time than either using a Theme as is, or customising one. There are great advantages to using this route when creating websites, at least when it is carried out in the correct manner.
The issues that a business must consider
Cost is most often a huge consideration for any business that is considering having a website built, and is the reason, no doubt, that many take the quick and easy route of using a WordPress Theme, the upfront cost here for the Theme being as little as £40.
Many web designers will also offer sites built in this manner, charging another few hundred pounds to get the site set up so that the customer just has to add content and maybe a few pictures.
Whilst this choice may well be OK for a small business that does not rely on its website, it is a route full of danger. There are two reasons for this. One is that the Theme itself may well not be supported for very long (perhaps a matter of months), which in turn means that sooner or later that a core WordPress update will cause it to break. The other is that it may well be using a Plugin that is either non-secure, or ends up being unsupported, which again will eventually cause the website to stop working.
The other disadvantage to using a Theme is that it will mean the site looks just like many others and does not therefore, offer the level of differentiation that is needed in todays’ highly competitive online world.
The dangers of customising a WordPress theme
This is the reason why some businesses choose to take the second path mentioned, that of customising a WordPress Theme. This can be done in many ways, but dangers lurk in every corner for anyone taking this route.
The problems start when a web designer tweaks the Themes template code or adds additional Plug Ins. Both of these actions mean that when a Theme is updated (to take into account the changes in the core WordPress code) that there is a big chance that the Theme will not work anymore. The same goes for the additional Plugins chosen as the Theme will itself not be ‘expecting’ these Plugins to be there and will therefore make no account for their presence.
The above can of course be handled by a good web developer, as they can find the issues that stop the site from working and make the necessary changes to the code or the way in which the Plugins work with the Theme.
This however is a potentially expensive route indeed and one that could result in a site being offline for some time.
It is for this reason that businesses that need a website that is more functional or ‘different’ from one that uses a basic Theme or one that relies on their website take the third path.
Building a website from the core upwards
This is by far the best way to build a website using WordPress as it uses all the strengths of WordPress, provides total functionality whilst exposing the business to minimal risks and long term cost.
Full functionality and security
As mentioned, WordPress is a highly configurable software package and one that, with the addition of the right secure Plugin, can be used to create a site that will provide just what any customer desires. The point about only using Secure, Trusted Plugins is a very important part of building a website using WordPress, this being for the simple reason that it is these Plugins that are so often the way in which hackers gain access to a site.
Minimal long-term costs
It is a fact that WordPress sites need to be maintained, especially when they use Themes or Plugins (which covers just about every website) and that can at times, mean a WordPress expert has to intervene to make changes to the site that will allow it to work with the never ending changes to the core WordPress code.
If a business uses a basic theme, they will minimise their exposure to any problems here, but if the site uses a lot of Plugins (or just the wrong one) then again they will need (possibly) expensive help. Plus if the Theme is no longer supported then even this route will be closed and they may well have to ditch the entire site and start all over again.
If on the other hand, a customer has chosen to have their site built using a Customised WordPress site, they could well be in even worse trouble as they face problems with both changes to the basic WordPress code as well as those changes made to the code by the designer, not to mention the potential issues with the Plugins used in the basic theme or in their customised version.
The Rouge approach is best
This is why the Rouge approach is best, as we:-
- By building sites from the ground up, only use the parts of the core code that are necessary,
- Only choose Secure, Trusted Plugins
- Can by using the above methodology, build a website that FULLY provides all that a customer requires
- Ensure that the site will never be unsupported as it only uses core parts of the WordPress code, thus reducing long term costs.
For more information please do contact Rouge so that we can explain the ‘Rouge Way’ in greater detail and answer any of your questions.