Your Website Platform: Dedicated or WordPress.org?

Posted on 17 July 2018

Can’t decide on your website platform? Let us help you make the choice.

Website. The word brings both excitement and fear to a business owner. On one hand, the idea of bringing their vision to life is extremely appealing. On the other hand, they don’t know how to make it happen. They can hire a single developer or a team like ours at Time4 Digital to put one together on a website platform. However, there may be an underlying uneasiness the finished product won’t meet their vision.

The Do-It-Yourself Website

Another option is to utilize one of the internet’s many website platforms to embark on a do-it-yourself website. And this poses another dilemma. Do you select a dedicated platform, for example, GoDaddy, or the open source  WordPress.org to shape their vision into a real product?

In the end, it comes down to cost, collaboration, maybe a little coding, and a good deal of confidence

Dedicated versus Open Source

The main distinction of a dedicated website platform over WordPress.org’s Content Management System (CMS) is proprietary technology.

To illustrate, a business person selects the website host Weebly. Once they choose a theme, they are able to add custom code. For instance, HTML, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), or JavaScript. This enhances the site’s User Interface (UI). However, because Weebly owns the back end processing technology – the User Experience (UX) – it cannot be modified by outside sources.

Website themes offered by Weebly.

On the other hand, developers are greeted with virtual open arms at WordPress.org. Along with a CMS and built-in applications, the website platform’s source code is open to change. In fact, it’s encouraged.

Which type of platform is better? Let’s break down their advantages and disadvantages.

Dedicated Platforms

Pros

The biggest plus to a dedicated website platform is ease of use. Regardless if it’s Weebly, Squarespace, Shopify, or HostGator, their CMS offers robust tools for business people to build websites to their specifications. Even WordPress has a dedicated platform – WordPress.com. And, if the business person feels some UI tweaks are needed, they have the option of adding HTML or CSS code on their own or from a third party like Time4 Digital.

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Nevertheless, dedicated website platforms don’t want to make it too difficult for users. Today, most CMS interfaces utilize content blocks. This allows business people to drag and drop features like text and images into a website. Theoretically, the landing page, blog, and product lists can be created in a matter of hours.

Cons

Like anything, there are disadvantages to dedicated website platforms. One is cost. A user can choose the free or low-cost options provided by a site. However, they’ll probably receive low-cost benefits and services.

For instance, the business owner may need to purchase a plan to host their custom URL on the dedicated website platform. If they don’t, the site assigns an address featuring their brand. So, instead of www.bobswidgets.com, it becomes www.bobswidgets.wix.com. This can be considered as unprofessional by some consumers and, therefore, a potential business killer.

Wix pricing plans.

Wix website platform pricing plans as of September 2018.

Storage and bandwidth can be another minus. If a business requires high-quality media on their site, 500MB of storage and 1GB of bandwidth won’t cut it. Consequently, potential consumers may encounter sluggishness as everything downloads. Or, a page not found error will appear if too many people are already visiting.

This is why the lack of back end development is a minus as well as a plus. Yes, a dedicated website platform makes website creation easier. Nevertheless, it doesn’t allow users to increase the processing speed, enhance graphics, or generate smooth animations. This can mean the difference between slow & sloppy and fresh & fast.

WordPress.org

Pros

The biggest plus for WordPress.org is its open source framework. It permits the business person or developer to refine UI/UX experiences. If done right, it provides a huge business advantage and draws in the purchasing public.

WordPress.org’s other plus is its CMS. Well, not in its original form. In this case, it’s the next generation called Gutenberg. Once fully implemented, the interface will be level with the dedicated website platforms which use blocks to set text, images, and code.

WordPress Gutenberg editor tiles

An example of CMS block for WordPress’ new editor Gutenberg.

The big advantage to Gutenberg is its flexibility. In addition to the pre-defined blocks, users will be able to design their own for various purposes. Thus, increased efficiency and potential reduction in the use of paid plugins synonymous with WordPress.

Cons

The minuses to WordPress.org center around internal & external support for the website platform. Since it’s open-source, a dedicated customer support team does not exist as it does on its dot-com cousin. And, although it offers deep documentation and online forum libraries, it lacks a Tier 2 level to cover items not detailed. In many ways, this leaves the business person on their own to understand the CMS.

Same goes for website development. If the business person is uncomfortable with UI/UX coding or doesn’t have time to learn, then they have three options. They can rely on the built-in themes and CMS material, work with a developer, or download advanced plugins.

The second and third options are a budget decision. How much a developer charges depends on the website’s design and operation and can cost more or less than purchasing established plugins. On the average, many of these enhancements run around $25. Others have a price point closer to $100 than $50.

What Should You Choose?

Now that you understand the plusses and minuses of both CMS formats, you have a choice to make. Before you decide, factor in the answers to these questions.

  • Can I develop a website while building my business?
  • Is there money in the budget for a developer or necessary plugins?
  • How fast does my website need to be when processing information or downloading images/streaming media?
  • Should I start on a dedicated website platform and work my way toward WordPress?
  • Does the platform/WordPress.org have the themes and content tools available for my dynamic website?

Whether you come to a conclusion or are still undecided about your website platform, talk to a representative at Time4 Digital. Together, our team has decades of experience in UI/UX development for websites. During your free consultation, we will map out your vision and reveal how it will look. No matter the platform type, we work to your guidelines and descriptions to make digitize your ideas.

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