You are probably here because WordPress is the most popular software for small businesses. However, you might be wondering if there are any situations where WordPress should not be used for a business website.
WordPress is a versatile platform for creating websites. I can’t deny my excitement about it. There is no “best” website platform. Based on your needs, preferences, and resources, there is only one best option.
Many websites promote features and prices. However, like buying a house, features and price don’t tell you the whole story. These features don’t tell if the platform is right for you.
You should consider your website’s needs when deciding whether WordPress is right for you. Are you looking for flexibility? Support? Support?
This is how to determine if WordPress should be used for a business website.
Understanding tradeoffs: What you need to know before choosing a website platform
Before we get into the no-WordPress scenarios it is important to understand the way we approach the decision to choose your web platform.
It’s like buying a house. Consider what you want, what your needs are, and what tradeoffs it is willing to make.
Your website platform is a compromise between convenience and control. It’s like buying a home.
A hotel room is the most convenient. You can feel safe in your hotel room. Can you paint the room? Nope.
Raw land is at the other extreme. You can do what you want with unlimited control. Is it practical? Nope.
You have the middle. A condo has some freedom, but it also has a landlord. Condos have more freedom, but you also have a HOA.
You have greater freedom with a house, but also more responsibility when you deal with an existing structure.
To illustrate, here’s a graphic I created for my article on eCommerce software.
WordPress can be compared to owning a home. Although you don’t have the same control as if you bought land and made it yourself, you do have more control than a condo or apartment.
Self-hosted WordPress is a great way to increase your control and convenience. This is the web’s detached home or the Toyota Camry. While it is suitable for most situations, it is not the best.
This means a situation in which you wouldn’t want to use WordPress most likely involves more control (AKA raw land) or more convenience (AKA an apartment/condo/hotel room). Let’s take a look at this:
There are reasons / situations where you wouldn’t choose WordPress
A fully-customized (or very basic) solution is what you need
WordPress’s primary structure consists of pages, posts, comments, and trackbacks. WordPress does allow you to download plugins that let you “plug in” third-party software to transform your site into virtually anything. However, it is best to still use WordPress’s primary structure of pages, posts, and comments.
You’re better off creating a custom solution if you want to create a non-CMS site (think Software as a service or a robust eCommerce platform). Why?
Because of the nature of some ultra-specific tasks, such as those mentioned above, 100% control is required. It will slow down your WordPress site if you load it up with too many plugins to get it to exactly what you need.
This is your raw land example. It’d be much easier to start building your dream home than to modify the house or add on plugins that could cause problems with wiring, airflow, and other elements.
However, there is also something very basic that can be done at 100% control – such as building a hunting cabin. You can still create a minimal website using an HTML file, CSS files, and a basic hosting plan.
You want customization but don’t want to deal with the technical aspects
You can customize your website if you don’t want the technical aspects of managing a website like self-hosting. A self-hosted WordPress might not be the best choice.
If you are looking for more customization and don’t want to manage the technical aspects of your website, there are two options.
The 70% Convenience // 30% Group is the first. These providers allow you to have more control than a completely done-for you platform (like Amazon), but you still use their space and rules (in the house analogy, these would be the apartments). While you have control over your life, you can still call the landlord if the dishwasher stops working.
These “website builders” are often Wix (I reviewed Wix right here, and you can also check out Wix here), and Weebly. (I reviewed Weebly right here). You can find Weebly …)..
These allow you to personalize your website and create a custom domain. However, the technical elements such as eCommerce integration are taken care of by them.
The second category is 50% convenience // 50% control. These are known as hosted platforms. They offer as much control and convenience as possible before you need to own your server.
This is because you can get customer support, seamless onboarding and advanced tools. These providers make it easy to build a website. It’s like leasing a shopfront in a shopping center or a condominium. All plumbing and other “big stuff” are taken care of. Since you own the property, you can do whatever you like. Condo association rules and fees will apply to you.
This provider would be WordPress.com, which is either a hosted WordPress version or a self-hosted WordPress Page Builder like BoldGrid.
These restrictions limit what you can do and cannot do. You may not have FTP access to a server but can access your HTML/CSS editing, and you can use third-party plugins that are included in their business plan.
It is possible to export your data to self-hosted WordPress, or another platform, and then migrate it with relative ease. This makes it an excellent in-between option if you want more control and convenience.
You don’t have the time or resources
WordPress is not easy to learn. WordPress is a complex platform. However, the platform holds 50-60% market share in global CMS market. There are thousands to thousands of pre-made templates and designers who are familiar with WordPress.
However, this is a trade-off. You have to either take the time to learn WordPress basics and keep it updated as you would the apps on your phone. Or you must be able to vet support roles to ensure you get the results you want at a fair price.
This trade-off is not necessary for all projects. Simple websites that don’t require advanced functionality or scaleability would be fine. It may also cost less to learn WordPress or hire a developer and designer to build your WordPress website.
There are many resources available
There is a flip side to not having enough time or resources. You can have all the time and/or everything you need.
This is the same as our first scenario: if you have the resources and people to create and maintain your website, you can do whatever you want.
This scenario has one caveat. You’re giving up control of your website.
Imagine that a developer creates a website that is unique to you. This takes you out the driver’s seat, and gives that developer total control. A website that works only on one platform is the same. Your business could be insecure if you change your mission statement, privacy policies, billing practices or simply incompetent.
You can put your website in complete control of another person if you are comfortable doing so. If you aren’t, you might want to reconsider a custom build or brush up on your web management skills.
WordPress is the mid-size SUV in the world of website building. Although it doesn’t suit everyone, there are good reasons why WordPress is used by a large majority of website builders.
I have made it as simple as possible for you to test WordPress before making any decision. This is especially true with WordPress.com, which offers free subdomain plans.
Wix is an all-inclusive website builder that allows you to manage your software updates, learn WordPress jargon and saves you time. You’re giving up control in exchange for convenience.
If you are able to work with developers and have the funds to build custom sites, you might be open to putting your site in the hands of someone else. This is especially true for eCommerce. WordPress might not be right for you. Check out these interesting WordPress alternatives.
If you are building something very simple, WordPress might not be the right platform for you. It might be enough to get cheap hosting, or a basic profile on an existing platform.