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Whether you’re starting a site or CMS from scratch, or looking to improve your existing platform, if you're finding it difficult deciding whether to use WordPress, or a custom build, you're not alone.

Of course, there are myriad off-the-shelf site building and CMS solutions out there, but with around 60% of the world’s websites powered by WordPress, it seems like a pretty good choice for our main comparator, versus custom development.

As almost anyone who’s ever used it will tell you, the popularity of WordPress is well founded. Some of its key benefits include:

  • It’s open source: The codebase is open and editable and literally millions of developers know how to use it.
  • Cost: Because it’s open source, WordPress is totally free to use. You’ll still have to pay for hosting and domain registration, though. Plug-ins and paid themes (see below) can also cost, so the total price will vary depending on what functionality you need.
  • Plugins and themes: There’s a stack of tools and themes you can use to fine-you’re your site and its functionality.
  • Ease of use: Adding content and updating your site is generally very easy via WordPress’ intuitive and user-friendly back-end.

That’s a pretty compelling list. So, what are the advantages of custom development? Lots, is the answer. In short, the main advantages look like this:

  • Fit: At launch, you will be confident that your shiny new site or CMS exactly fits the needs of your business and your users. This is when using professionals to create and test the platform REALLY pays off.
  • Flexibility: During the build, or at a point when you want to evolve and develop your platform, custom development gives you flexibility to fine-tune, or even re-design, your site or CMS.
  • Speed: Because a custom CMS or site is designed to do exactly what you need it to, there’s no unnecessary coding ‘clutter’ or functionality to slow it down. The code will be optimised to serve specific functions, increasing speed and performance as a result.
  • Support: If, for any reason, things do go awry, knowing you’ve got professional back-up to quickly solve the issue is a pretty good feeling!

By definition, a custom site or CMS will be built to the exact needs of your business; a tailormade solution to the specific problems you need to solve.

The build process should be a two-way exchange between you and your developer, ensuring your needs and expectations are met, and the inevitable bumps in the road are smoothed out as quickly as possible.

Of course there’s a third option, which many businesses, especially SMEs or start-ups, opt for – and that’s combining off-the-shelf solutions, with custom-built elements. WordPress allows your developer to ‘bolt-on’ pre-existing code and architecture. Costs and development time can clearly be reduced by choosing this option, while businesses still benefit from a more bespoke product.

The route you decide to follow will almost inevitably involve balancing costs and trade-offs. Custom solutions will always take longer to build and the cost will be higher. However, the increased flexibility, ease-of-use, on-going support, lack of downtime due to technical or security issues, and tailored fit of the platform for your business, often pays for itself very quickly.

At Everest Media we work with clients ranging from SMEs, to household names, to create, manage and grow their digital presence and performance. From bespoke software and systems creation, to consultation and support, get in contact today to see what we can do for your business.

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