We recommend adding lots of content to your website if for no reason than to attract search engines. We work with you during the development stage to take the deep knowledge you hold about your area of expertise and construct authoritative content.
Even after the site is developed, we encourage you to add content often to keep the interst of the search engines and your human visitors.
Typically, we recommend that if you need to update your website at least quarterly. If you do it more than quarterly, you probably want a content management system like WordPress? But not necessarily.
There are three basic options. Fortunately, Web Developer’s Studio is intimately familiar with all three. Our sites are built on WordPress, some are Static, and we know of “Site Builders“. Let us share some expertise.
WordPress is the top of the line, gold-standard, comprehensive content management system (CMS).
WordPress powers about one-third of the internet. It is nearly infinately customizable.
There’s a “front-end” (the website visible to visitors) and a “back-end” (the dashboard where you log in and make changes).
Visit our Portfolio and click WordPress to see how varied and beautiful we can make a WordPress site.
Static sites these days are not built just with your Daddy’s HTML. Web Developers Studio uses tools that allow us to be quite fast with updates while retaining the “hand coded” look and feel.
For example, this client simply didn’t want the regular technical updates required by WordPress, or the hassle of logging into a CMS for updates. They prefer to leave updates in our professional hands based on notes sent to us regularly by email.
There are “builders” that are considerably less costly to develop: Squarespace, Wix, Weebly. These are getting better, and are no longer beneath discussion for some clients. This client site is built with Weebly. But are in some ways, these are not suitable for professional sites.
A site builder is quick and inexpensive. If you have a tight budget and just want to represent your business, maybe sell a few products, but don’t need anything fancier, a builder might be just right.
Builders offer many beautiful templates, but restricts customization in an effort to keep every site looking clean and simple. While this limits design options, it means that creating a small, attractive builder site can be quick and cheap. It’s possible for us to customize them extensively, but that would compromise the main advantages of speed and price. Here are other deficincies:
- The site cannot be backed up in such a way to be useful off the platform. (Imagine not being able to backup a Master’s thesis — ever.)
- It’s too easy to mess up the home page. (We’ve done it! But fortunately only in a test environment.)
- Most have terrible basic SEO capabilities. (One service seems to be an exception.)
- Platforms go out of business. We placed a number of clients on the Business Catalyst platform. The well-regarded company, Adobe, powered this hybrid of a development tool and a builder. They announced their “End of Life” and sent us scrambling.
- Exceptions to the standard are not allowed.
Note that in comparison, a WordPress site is yours-all-yours, fairly easily moved from one host to another, is nearly infinitely customizable, and it’s nearly impossible to delete the homepage!
More to Know
Themes are great for budgets. They can be free or paid, and any theme can be altered as much as you want (see our tips for choosing great themes). WordPress has the advantage of popularity here, with countless themes available on various marketplaces. WordPress themes are also capable of altering the back-end. This means the themes not only look different, but have different capabilities – some may have calendar functionality, others may have built-in social media buttons, more user-friendly ways to customize the look, etc. For WordPress we now stick to a well-regarded framework to provide a consistant under-the-hood experience.
Content management systems typically have a back-end: the dashboard, or design mode. Dashboards are for general management and don’t necessarily look anything like your website.
That’s where you can create, delete, or hide pages, change the menu or add widgets and plugins for extra functionality. It’s also for admin tasks, like managing user logins and comments.
Oops – you made a mistake! You thought you deleted a sentence, and now the whole page is gone. Sound familiar? Taking backups before altering a website is a practice WDS holds dear.
In WordPress, we can back up everything as often as needed–never a problem. Site Builders typically cannot really be backed up. If you make a mistake, or accidentally delete something, it must be recreated from scratch. This means they are best for small sites that would be easy to recreate quickly.
Conclusion: What’s best for you?
Ultimately, each system has its own strengths, and your ideal choice depends on what you plan to do with it.
If you want a “Dear Diary” style news site or blog, or a website you can add to (not just update or change) regularly and by yourself, WordPress may be the obvious choice. But many WDS clients can’t be bothered with blogging anyway – they have a business to run! So a static site maybe best.