Don’t get me wrong, WordPress is a great CMS and awesome for most company websites, but for many expanding businesses there will come a time when WordPress simply won’t cut it anymore and you might need to consider getting a custom website solution instead. But how do you know when exactly this would be? Well in this article I will list some of the most common telltale signs to look out for.
1. You just can’t seem to get the exact design or UX you want using existing themes or plugins.
WordPress was initially created as a CMS specifically for creating blogs, and then later expanded to be suitable for creating standard run of the mill company websites, and then eventually e-commerce websites. So looking at the history of the platform, we can see that its creators did not really have the initial intention of transforming it into a “build anything” solution. Even today the stock standard WordPress installation, does not even come with e-commerce functionality. Any additional functionality you require needs to be added via a theme of plugin. These themes and plugins will be 3rd party software, which means that they were most likely not created by WordPress themselves, but by some other company looking to make money by selling their code as an extension of WordPress.
Knowing the above, it becomes quite obvious that in terms of design and UX, you will end up getting a cookie cutter experience on your WordPress website, because the theme and plugin developers need to make their creations appeal to the masses. Of course you could create your own plugins or add-ons to try and solve your missing functionality problems, but this will create other problems for you, further down the line, which I will explain later in this article.
2. Your WordPress site has been hacked more than once
WordPress is well known for its vulnerability issues, and although in most cases one can defend against the most common hacking attacks, some might slip through from time to time, and if this happens repeatedly then you know there is some vulnerability that the hackers have found on your website and will keep exploiting this.
Because most WordPress websites will have 3rd party plugins and themes installed, you are not only exposed by WordPress’ innate vulnerabilities, but also to those of the plugins and themes you use. This makes it doubly difficult to protect yourself against every type of attack, and you need to make excellent judgement calls about what plugins and themes you use on your website.
Because of the security issues that WordPress faces, they have to keep making continuous updates to the software, which can mean that WordPress needs to updates sometimes 3-4 times in one month. This creates a knock-on effect which brings us to point no. 3.
3. Updating WordPress or Plugins is breaking your site
Really complex sites will have many plugins installed, and because most if not all plugins you will ever install on WordPress will be created by 3rd parties, you will naturally find yourself in this situation after some time. The problem is that the developers who created your plugins, need to keep up with the constant updates of WordPress’s core. To add to this, your theme also needs to keep up with the trends and this needs to be kept up to date too.
Most WordPress, plugin, or theme updates would be small little tweaks, but every once a while a major change needs to be made to either one, and you and up with an incompatibility issue, which breaks your website. Sure you could call in your website designer/developer to get everything up to date or fix what needs to be fixing, but this could mean downtime for your site, and the obvious additional costs.
4. Your website is too slow, despite many optimizations and improvements
As explained above ,the common scene on most WordPress websites is a flurry of plugins to solve various problems on your WordPress website. So, for every plugin you have, your hosting server needs to work just that little bit harder to serve your pages, since each plugin adds its own code to WordPress. Install a whole bunch of plugins and you will soon find your website loading at less than optimum speeds.
On a custom web development, every functionality is carefully considered and added with care so that it does not load unnecessary code all the time. Unfortunately when you add a bunch of WordPress plugins together that were each developed in isolation, you end up with duplicate scripts and unneeded code running. You might also have issues with database queries not being executed correctly, slowing the whole site down.
5. Your business IS your website
If you are building a website that is essentially more than just a promotional online brochure, and a little bit more complex than your standard online shop, then WordPress is not for you. If your website is your entire business, and having downtime directly effects your income, then what I mentioned in the first 4. points should definitely raise red flags in your mind. Any large successful online solution like AirBNB, Uber, etc. is not built on WordPress. No web developer in his right mind would use WordPress for anything of such complexity and that needs to scale.
There are scenarios in which WordPress would be fine for a very basic minimal viable product, but this would still only be workable for a short period like 6 months to a year. This would simply be an affordable way to test your website idea and to create some traction in terms of promotion and marketing. You will quickly outgrow your WorPress site, if it ends up being a resounding success.
We still use WordPress
For the correct type of website and business, WordPress is still an excellent solution, and we understand its pro’s and con’s. We use it for many of our small scale projects, and it serves its purpose well for these projects. There is a definite line however and we are the first to advise our clients when this point is rapidly being approached.
I hope this article was helpful in putting things into perspective. Feel free to contact us for some advice about your WordPress site.