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Wordpress, it’s like Marmite, you either love it or you hate it. If you’re a PHP developer that’s clued up on modern development techniques, you probably hate it. Clients on the other hand, constantly keep asking for their projects to be built in Wordpress… why is that?

The perception that it’s cheap

Wordpress is free! I mean, come on, why on earth would you pay for a content management system if you can get one that does what it says on the tin… for the total cost of zero? 

Wordpress itself is free, but sadly a developers time is not. If your client is looking for a simple website with a few pages and a simple plugin or two, Wordpress could well be the solution. Download Wordpress for free, pay £50 for a template, install a couple of free plugins and pay a developer £200-300 to set it all up and customise the template. A website for a grand total of £300, you can’t really argue with that.

What happens when your client want’s something a little more customised, something a little more unique? This is where it starts to get tricky and costs can start to spiral. 

There’s a huge selection of Wordpress developers

This again is true, if a client wants to change to another developer it’s easy for them to do so, there’s certainly no shortage of Wordpress developers. However, this in itself can be a negative for your agency. How do you differentiate yourself from the thousands and thousands of other Wordpress developers out there? Also, as an agency, being selfish, why would you want to make it easy for a client to move to another agency?

The obvious answers is to be better than the competition, cheaper pricing, lower quality, or make sure your marketing and other supporting services are second to none.

Plugins, plugins, themes and plugins

There’s no arguing that Wordpress has the biggest selection of plugins and themes you can ever imagine, which in a lot of cases match your clients needs. However, there are occasions where your clients want to differentiate themselves from their competition, and you just can’t find a theme or plugin to do exactly what the client wants.

No problem, just build a new plugin I hear you say. That’s a great solution, but one thing I’ve found personally that when designing and developing a plugin for Wordpress you are still restricted by the Wordpress interface. You find yourself building the admin side of the plugin to fit into the Wordpress admin theme, rather than doing it the way ‘you’ think is more usable for the client.

Surely what we want to be doing to building what’s best for the client, what’s going to match their specific needs, not shoe horning and bodging a solution to ‘kind of’ do what the client needs. But I suppose as long as the client is happy now, and pays, who cares?

Why do developers hate Wordpress so much?

It’s a good question, it’s free, there’s loads of plugins, loads of themes and to be honest it’s really easy to setup. What good reasons would a developer have for hating Wordpress?

It’s not programming

Many good developers enjoy what they do, they enjoy writing code, they enjoy solving new problems and get a huge sense of satisfaction when they do. In a lot of cases building a website with Wordpress doesn’t involve any ‘real’ coding. You install Wordpress, install a theme and away you go. If you’re lucky you get to write your own theme, but that’s HTML and CSS, to a developer that’s not what they want to be doing, they want to be writing code, PHP code.

The code base is bloody terrible

Wordress was developed a fair few years ago, and since then it’s gotten more and more popular. Sadly, this is one of it’s downfalls. As so many sites are running Wordpress, the developers have be careful that when they update the code that it doesn’t break the millions of websites that are already using it. 

As a developer, when I’ve worked on a Wordpress project, the code used to develop Wordpress is old school and I can’t use many of the more modern techniques that I’ve spent time learning and perfecting. I’m forced to write inefficient code, and I don’t like doing that.

Building plugins is messy, very messing. It’s a huge myriad of functions, there’s hardly any object orientation, this probably won’t make sense unless you’re a developer, sorry.

Security

Being popular is occasionally your downfall, and in the case of Wordpress this is certainly the case. The code is widely available, and hackers are constantly finding new ways to gain access to your website or sometimes worse, your server.

The ideal scenario

In an idea world your agency would provide it’s own solution, one that’s fully branded to you, where you get full control over the development of additional functionality, and be able to integrate functionality that matches your client’s needs no matter how specific.

Think of your agency like Apple. One of the reasons Apple does so well is it controls almost everything. It controls the hardware, and the software. Everything is designed and developed to be part of an eco-system, and customers buy into this eco-system even though it can be costly. Other manufacturers may control the hardware, but most of the time they don’t control the software, Google does (Android). Building an eco-system anywhere near the quality of Apple is no-where near as simple.

This is where you’re agency can benefit from not using Wordpress. Imagine having your agencies own content management system, with a fully branded admin interface, and each time a client requests functionality, you can control how the functionality will work, how users will interact with it and how your client will manage it. While at the same time offering your clients something different to your competition.

Yes, you guessed it, you’ve read all of the above and I’m about to tell you that I have a solution. Digital CMS.

Digital CMS is our own agency branded content management system. We’re soon going to be releasing version 5 of Digital CMS, with some great new features;

  • Agency branded, giving your clients that integrated experience, your agencies own eco-system
  • Full support from the same people that developed the content management system, no more posting on forums to ask how you do something, go straight to the horses mouth
  • Host it yourself, or let us host your clients sites for you
  • Design flexibility means your designers don’t need to be constrained or held back
  • Anything is possible, no matter what your client asks for, chances are, we can integrate it
  • Easy to use for both you and your clients, many existing clients regularly comment on how usable Digital CMS is to use
  • Role based permissions so you and your client can control what users can and can’t do in the system
  • Edit pages and blog posts, and only publish them when you’re ready. No more editing live content
  • Trash, don’t worry if you accidentally delete a page or post, simply restore it from the trash
  • Panels allow you control what additional content appears on each page, in blocks such as a header, footer, sidebar
  • Form data collection, all form data is collected by the CMS and can be exported to CSV
  • Visitor tracking, quickly login and see how many visitors a site has had, and what pages are more popular
  • Assisted search engine optimisation, Digital CMS will let you know what keywords your pages are likely to be found under on Google by analysing your page content

On top of all of that, we handle setup, integration of your design, support, hosting and development of bespoke features… and you take all the credit.

If you’d like to know more about the brand new version of Digital CMS, the white label content management system, then get in touch.

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