Wordpress is an open-source content management system (or CMS), which means it's free for web developers to download and use in web design projects.
In essence, Wordpress is a 'back-office' system that you access and control through a secure administration area. The additions and changes you make in the admin area are reflected in the front-end, the part of the website that your website visitors browse.
Wordpress has a strong online community of users and there are many third-party plug-ins available to use with the system to add extra functionality. If you're blogging regularly on various topics and trying to create an online community with your readers it might be an idea to use purpose-made blogging software like Wordpress as the foundation for your website.
We have a long history with Wordpress. In fact, we used it for many years on this website before we switched to using our very own lightweight CMS, Ballyhoo Refresh.
Is it easy to use?
Of the three CMS we regularly work with (Ballyhoo Refresh, Wordpress and Joomla), we'd place Wordpress in 2nd place for both ease-of-use and flexibility. Newcomers to the world of content management may struggle with some of the more advanced features of Wordpress but those with experience in managing websites will find it flexible enough to create and maintain more complex content.
What are the costs?
The Wordpress system
As previously mentioned, Wordpress is open-source so there's no licence fee or software package to purchase. System updates to improve functionality and security are regularly released and these are also free of charge.
However, the same is not always true for the plethora of third-party plug-ins available for use with the system. These vary from free to download to requiring a one-off payment or a monthly subscription and quality also differs vastly between plug-ins that you'd expect to do the same job. Demand is high and many companies have made their fortune purely from developing and selling Wordpress plug-ins.
You'll need the skills of a web developer and reliable hosting to bring your website to life online so this is where you'll be investing your money.
The way the 'front-end' of your website looks is dictated by your Wordpress template (or 'skin'). It should be mentioned that there are a number of pre-designed Wordpress templates available for free or to purchase online but at Ballyhoo we believe that your website should look unique and be a true visual representation of your business. While we are adept at implementing any template with Wordpress, we much prefer to create one from scratch based on a web design concept created by our graphic designer, just for you.
If you'd like Ballyhoo to create your Wordpress website we will only invoice you for the design and development of a custom Wordpress template and the time it takes us to set up and configure the Wordpress installation and any required plug-ins. To arrange a meeting to discuss your requirements and receive a no-obligation estimate, please get in touch.
As mentioned, you will also need a hosting package in order for your website to be available online, with Ballyhoo the ongoing monthly cost for this can be as little as £10.90 +VAT depending on the resources required.
Wordpress & e-commerce
While a number of e-commerce plug-ins are available for Wordpress we do not recommend that anyone serious about selling online goes down this route. E-commerce is a challenging sector and we recommend that a purpose-built e-commerce engine, like Ballyhoo Commerce, is used to manage your products, orders and transactions.
If you're serious about blogging with Wordpress, but are first and foremost an e-commerce retailer, we sometimes recommend that you use Wordpress in conjunction with your e-commerce engine to provide all the functionality you need to successfully manage both elements of your online venture.
With our development skills it's possible to create a seamless experience for your customers by tagging on a Wordpress blog to your e-commerce website and developing a custom template for the blog that looks and feels exactly like your online shop, even down to showing your product categories and the customer's shopping basket summary. Your customers won't even know they're essentially using two different systems on one website and you'll have greater flexibility to create the content you want.