When to build with WordPress

WordPress is a popular content management system – but why WordPress?

I started out creating sites using Geocities, then hardcoded (no Content Management System), then I started using OSCommerce – a now ancient eCommerce system.

But after having used more than 20 CMS, CRM and SAAS systems, I can say that every single one of them has their good and downsides.

I just think that WordPress has more good than bad.

WordPress is used by more than 3% of all websites and it my primary choice as a CMS.  During my career I can say with certainty that for the majority of my clients – WordPress is the ideal solution.

Not always the solution but it most cases it is.


Because WordPress enables you to scales as your business grows – with a huge number of plugins available, most of which are free or relatively cheap it means that business owners can be incredibly agile in the way they grow and adapt their business as the online world changes.

The hardcoded website

Way back in the day, I started building websites that were hand-coded, meaning I wrote out every line of code in the HTML and published it online.  This often took forever and the ‘find and replace’ tool was something I used often in order to make any changes across the site.  Trust me it was painful – very painful.

The eCommerce site

So along came e-commerce sites with that came open source systems such as OsCommerce, ZenCart, OpenCart and Magento.  I’ve used all of these and here were the faults for each.

OsCommerce – now outdated but was the equivalent to WordPress back in the day

ZenCart  – slightly better but lacked some features that OsCommerce had ready made

Magento – the best of the e-commerce world.  It was such a powerful tool yet it required only the best web host in order to run it.

Now to any client wanting to open an eCommerce store today, I would not hesitate in recommending Shopify or WooCommerce.  Shopify for smaller catalogue and WooCommerce for larger more complex stores requiring loads of categories.  It also comes down to cost and whether you’re a buy or rent kind of person.

Rent vs buy.

Renting requires no maintenance, so Shopify is ideal for clients who want a solution that they don’t own but can rent out and have others take care of the back end issues and are willing to pay for additional plugins ‘by the month’.

WooCommerce, on the other hand, allows you to ‘own your website’ and pay usually a one-off cost for plugins.  The downside is that you will require regular maintenance work by a web developer to ensure that your website is up to date as WordPress can have some security vulnerabilities.  A good solution to building a secure WordPress website is to do these three things

  1. Find a good web host – I recommend Wpengine
  2. Get a security plugin like Word Fence.  It has a free and paid version
  3. Don’t use ‘admin’ as the username and use a difficult to guess password.

SAAS vs Open Source – Shopify, SquareSpace, WIX, Weebly.
So another debatable topic in the CMS space is SAAS vs Open Source.  As I like to remain completely unbias, I always recommend either one depending on the client I work with.  If you are wanting a simple website to sell a few products that require no complex variations in colours sizing and personalitsation then I recommend using Shopify.  It’s the easists way to launch your online business, however can be more costly to run than a WooCommerce store.  They also take a percentage of your sales.  So if you’re ok with all of that, then that may be the better option for you.

Square Space is another option for those looking for a SAAS version of WordPress.
It can create beautiful websites really fast, however if you’re looking to do anything complex like a membership website or gated sections for users then you will need to choose WordPress.  Square space is perfect for blogs or info website because it means you can focus on what is most important – writing content and potentially selling a few things.


With all it’s awesome tools I feel it’s time to talk about it’s downsides because I think there are only really two.

  1. Security
    Because WordPress is used by so many website, it can be ‘easy to hack’ which is why I always run though some key steps to ensure that it never goes down.  One of which is getting an awesome web host.  I can’t say enough good things about WpEngine.  It’s worth the $$
  2. Speed
    You often hear that with all the amazing things WordPress can do that it can be quite slow to load.  This is true – if you build it the wrong way.An example of this is using Waaaay too many plugins.  Like why do you need a Google Analytics plugin just to add the code?  If you’ve ever done this please delete the plugin and add it to the footer of the site.  You can find this under Appearance > Editor.

And honestly, that’s it.  WordPress has soo many benefits as described above.

  • It allows you to actually OWN your website vs renting it.
  • You can SCALE it to exactly what you need and when you need it.
  • It doesn’t cost as much as other CMS systems when compared to others with the same functionality.
  • It has a great return on investment.
  • It’s ahh mazing for SEO.

Over the years I’ve been in business my website has made me over 200k in revenue.

No a job.  A website.

How awesome is that?  No sales staff required, no advertising spend.  All my clients and work has come to ME because of this awesome platform.

And that’s it!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post – comment below why you love/hate WordPress!

Stay informed,

Tania Richardson web designer.

10+ years as a product designer. Helping start-ups and organisations combine user research and design principals to deliver the best in online experiences.

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