If you metaphorically zoom out to the biggest picture possible, there are only 3 options for building a website.
Option number one? It’s a custom site, designed from the ground up, with custom code written specifically for you. If your site is huge and complex or you are a large corporation this might well be the best option. You get exactly what you want, uniquely built per your specs, with every “bell and whistle” you could dream of. The problem? It’s incredibly expensive. (Try thinking in the TENS of thousands of dollars per year!) Custom sites like this are also notoriously difficult to maintain. You need that professional design firm to do practically every update because your website is simply too complicated to maintain yourself. Special software, security programs, annual contracts… it all adds up. And if you’re not a Fortune 500 business, does this kind of expense sound logical or efficient?
Option number two lies at the opposite end of the spectrum. It’s the so-called free website that’s actually not free. There are expenses involved with any website – a domain name, a hosting account, maintenance and content management all come into play. What this option does provide is the cheapest way to get a website up on the Internet. A legitimate question is – after seeing just a few examples of these – why would anyone want one? Far too often they look amateurish, generic, and are so limited that you end up with nothing more than an electronic business card sitting in some remote corner of the Web. Some business or organizations might not need or possibly can’t afford more than this – so this option does serve a legitimate purpose. But if you need anything more than a single page that looks like countless others except for your name and address inserted into it somewhere? You need option number three…
And that’s WordPress. (Or something similar; there are other content management systems out there and some people love them. I work with WordPress, love it, and can’t help you with the others.)
Word press software is indeed free. That doesn’t necessarily mean that a WordPress website is also free. (There is a free option with WordPress intended primarily for individual blogs. Choices and features are limited but if you are looking for your own blog or a way to get acquainted with WordPress? Check out WordPress.com.) For any website more involved than a personal blog, you still need hosting, a domain name, and someone to help you design your site to look the way you want it to look. (More on that can be found on the checklist page.) What a WordPress site gives you is the flexibility to have a truly custom design, individually created for you, with all the functionality of two-way communication, e-commerce, video, audio, etc. that any high cost website has… At a fraction of the cost. You end up with a website where you can do your own content management and maintenance. (Many of the so-called boutique web design firms charge an annual contract with monthly minimum charges, whether you use their services that month or not!) When I design a WordPress site, I charge you for my time to design, build and install it. Then I train you how to use it and maintain it. You call me if / when you need my assistance after that.
It may not be what everyone needs. It might honestly be more than some can afford. (A typical build and install ends up running somewhere between $1,500 and $2,000 from start to finish.) But it’s exactly what many need to get their digital presence to that next level.
Read more about my Design Services…