If you want the ability to update your website yourself without a lot of technical know-how then having a WordPress based website is the obvious choice. It is one of the easiest CMS to use and by far the most popular content publishing platform in use on the internet.
Why have content management software (CMS) on my website?
Regular updates to your website are a good way of getting the best return on your investment. They keep it fresh and up to date for your visitors and tell the search engines that your website is worth checking on more regularly. With a CMS in place you can do this yourself.
Easy to use?
A Content Management Software (CMS) is intended to make it easier to update a website for non-technical people by hiding away most of the coding. However it is fair to say some understanding of the basics of HTML, what makes a good web page and search engine optimisation is required so that the changes you make to your website are done in the most effective way.
If you would like a demonstration of a WordPress Content Management System in action please ask.
Copy and Paste: There can also be issues resulting from creating copy elsewhere and pasting it into the CMS as hidden formating code may also be copied (or created by the conversion process from, say Word, to HTML). So it is helpful to have a working understanding of basic HTML and sometimes best to take unformatted copy and do the formatting within the Content Management System.
Graphics and Photos: Whilst the CMS will let you add images to your website they will not fully prepare the images for you. So you will need to understand how to prepare images in terms of resizing them and optimising them for use on the web. Images that come off a camera are usually far too large and in the region of 2 to 10 mb, images used on websites are usually under 200 kb.
Can a CMS be added into an existing website?
Generally speaking rather than integrate a content management system (CMS) into an existing websites it is easier to start again with a new web page template but it is normally possible to reuse the content. However it would seem to be a good opportunity to review and update your website content and give your site a fresh look.
Bespoke or Open Source CMS?
There are many CMS systems available, some are specific to a particular web design company, some are generic and widely used by many web designers. We no longer develop our own content management system (epecentre) – we now use the freely available open source CMS systems – such as WordPress.
This gives customers the significant benefits of:
- not being tied into a bespoke CMS maintained by one company
- a wealth of features and addons available provided by the community maintaining the CMS
Our preference is WORDPRESS but we do have experience of others like DRUPAL. We prefer WORDPRESS as it is by far the most popular web publishing software in use throughout the world on sites large and small and it is easy to use. DRUPAL is by comparison harder for both the web designer and for the user to get to grips with.
Here are 10 reasons to choose WordPress:
- WordPress is commonly regarded as the easiest Website CMS to use. This applies to the website owner and in my experience to the web designer.
- WordPress is used by 26% of websites worldwide and of the websites that use a CMS 59% are WordPress, the next biggest are Joomla and Drupal which have around 10% of the CMS market between them. (Source w3techs – 2015)
- WordPress is easy to add features to – it has the largest list of add-on feature plugins and can power just about any sort of website.
- WordPress is designed to be search engine friendly and with the Yoast SEO plugin added it makes your SEO easier.
- Ecommerce capability – Woocommerce (the leading WordPress eCommerce plugin) is used by 29% of the eCommerce websites on the internet.
- WordPress is designed to support multi-language sites.
- WordPress is scalable – it will run the smallest and the largest websites. (Drupal is regarded as the faster option for the biggest websites but this is not going to affect most website owners.)
- WordPress isn’t just used by small companies, it is used by CNN, Forbes, Reuters, BBC America, Variety, Sony Music, MTV, Marks and Spencers, New York Times, The Rolling Stones.
- WordPress is a mature web publishing platform that is continuing to grow and is in constant development so it will not be left behind as internet technologies continue to develop.
- WordPress takes security and stability seriously and with Wordfence plugin added security against hackers is very strong.
For me it is a complete no-brainer – I have been very impressed by WordPress over the last 5 years, it is a great choice for any website. In comparison Drupal and Joomla are much harder to get to grips with. I don’t know why you would choose any other CMS solution.
WordPress.org or WordPress.com?
WordPress comes in 2 basic flavours:
- WordPress.com is a fully hosted service – your website is part of the wordpress network and features are limited – so we do not recommend this apart from blogs.
- WordPress.org provides the software for free to use on your own hosting – it is not limited in anyway and thousands of add-ons (plugins) are available to add features to your website. This is the option we normally work with because of the flexibility to do what is needed.
WordPress or HTML/CSS?
HTML/CSS sites are traditional code based websites. They require a good knowledge of the relevant coding languages and are updating by changing files offline then uploading them through FTP to the hosting server.
Speed – Content Management Systems like WordPress are software and data base driven systems, the page content is extracted from the database and placed on the web pages according to parameters within the software. This tends to result in slower and technically more complicated websites. A comparable HTML/CSS site properly coded will be lightening fast in comparison.
If you do not want the option to update your site yourself and want a straight-forward website a HTML/CSS site may be the best option for you.
Ongoing development – WordPress is constantly developing so a degree of regular maintenance is required to keep the software up to date and effort may be required occasionally to make best use of new features – this has been particularly noticeable lately as SEO evolves to keep up with Google. A HTML/CSS site is static, so no maintenance is needed but it will not keep pace with technology and SEO changes.
Backup – You should always have a backup. If you are regularly updating your WordPress site then an up to date backup regime is essential.
Unique requirements – If you have a more complex or unique requirement a completely bespoke solution is more flexible compared to a software package solution such as WordPress but will be much more costly to build. You get an huge range of features ready built for you with WordPress and its addons but they may not be exactly as you want them to be.
Keeping the software up to date
The great thing about using a CMS like WORDPRESS is that it is being constantly developed, so it evolves and keeps up with technology changes, new requirements of website owners and keeps on top of hackers. But this also means the software needs to be updated regularly – whilst this is not a difficult task it does need to be done. If it is not done then the most likely problem is that your site will become more vulnerable to hackers.
We offer a service to keep the software up to date for you along with backups and also make small changes to the site if required.
A WordPress website is a good solution for website that needs regular updating and new content added frequently (such as News Articles, Cases Studies, Announcements, Job Adverts …).
However please do not imagine they are without their problems. To effectively maintain any website with a CMS you will need some understanding of the basics of HTML and Search Engine Optimisation. These skills can be relatively easily learnt for most people who have an aptitude for learning different computing skills but may be a problem for people who have no interest in understanding the basics of website maintenance.
If you want to update your website regularly (ie at least once a month) and you have the desire to learn some basics of website maintenance then a WordPress site may work well for you. If not I would suggest you leave your website maintenance to a professional web designer.
If you are unsure and would like to see what it might be like to use a WordPress to see if it is right for you I would be happy to give you a demonstration.
We aim to be friendly and informative, providing all the support and guidance you need to steer you clearly and effectively through the web design process and ensure that you end up with a great website.
If you need help with your website please feel free to give me a ring. Regards
Michael Spencer, Web Designer and WordPress Specialist.
firstname.lastname@example.org – 01263 722058
Epsilis Website Designers – Covering Mundesley, North Walsham, Cromer and Sheringham in North Norfolk and Bedfordshire