The benefits of WordPress when things go wrong

In recent years, several common themes have stood out when a new client or contact has got in touch with us.

Most of the issues stem from a breakdown in the relationship with their existing developers. It happens. A client can find that they simply cannot get hold of their web developers or they are charged exorbitant prices for seemingly minor changes. It’s not very pleasant, but often it’s due to fault on both sides. Nobody’s perfect. But this is not a legal post about arbitration! You can get that help from other places.

No. What I want to discuss in this article are the ways in which the right content management system (CMS) and a bit of preparation can actually help you through these relationship breakdowns, in the event that you have burnt all bridges and have to move to another consultancy.

So what am I talking about? How can CMS solve these issues? And is there one CMS I recommend over others in this scenario?

Regular readers of our blog will know that there are three content management systems we choose to focus on and which we use to develop websites. Squarespace, Perch and of course the most popular, WordPress. Each of them have their own unique features and benefits which we covered in a previous post.

However, I am going to suggest for specific types of clients and the following scenarios, WordPress may be the best solution. I’m open to anyone disagreeing. Just let me know in the comments.

So before we start to look at why WordPress, let’s look in more detail at some of the scenarios that have come up.

Old technology = can’t find new developers

Client A has had their website developed in either a bespoke or old CMS. They now need to move away from their existing developers but are finding it hard to find other developers that know enough about their site technology or want to continue development of the site in its current guise. The client doesn’t have the budget currently for a complete redesign and overhaul.

Ok, so there are a few things here. Firstly it’s important to say that there’s nothing wrong with having a site with bespoke CMS. Sometimes this can be by far the best solution to get exactly what you want as opposed to using an off-the-shelf CMS. Even more so if you have very specific functionality that ties into an existing business system, in which case a site with bespoke CMS can be a great way to go.

However, if for whatever reason there is a change in the relationship with your developers - they stop doing client work (which happens from time to time) or they get too busy with other work and service levels drop so you are unable to get hold of them - having a site CMS built on bespoke technology can be a hindrance to moving it forward.

Here’s how difficult it can be to find the right developers with the right skill set. Upwork (formerly oDesk), the freelance platform where you can find developers for your projects, show the number of projects per quarter they have on their books for specific CMS and technologies.

Two of the biggest CMS used within business are Joomla and Drupal. There are 505 Joomla and 295 Drupal projects being carried out per quarter on Upwork. A once-popular CMS called ExpressionEngine –that I last used several years ago– has only 8 projects per quarter.

Compare this to WordPress which has 6430 projects completed every quarter. That’s a lot of WordPress development going on. Of course this doesn’t vouch for the quality of each developer, but at least there are more to choose from.

In the UK, WordPress is in use at least ten times as often as Joomla and Drupal. In the US they lose out even more to WordPress.

So what does this tell us? You are far more likely to find a WordPress developer to complete your project than other types of CMS so it will be easier to move forward if your site is already built in WordPress.

Unpopular CMS = high cost of updating

Client B contacted us to see if we could help them out as their existing web developers suddenly started to charge an unrealistically high price to make the smallest of changes.

It’s easy to make quick comparisons on this one and say that a cost should be significantly less, but without always knowing the full details it’s hard to say categorically that a cost quoted is higher than it should be. Different sized design agencies will have varying day rates and an individual freelancer would more than likely charge less as their overheads will be significantly lower than that of a large agency.

However, this doesn’t stop the fact that every so often we get calls from clients who just can’t correlate the cost to their request.

A site with bespoke CMS –by the way, I keep saying a site with a bespoke CMS to differentiate from a bespoke website; you should always have a bespoke site, i.e. one that matches your brand style and not just a template that looks like every other site out there– is harder for an external company (i.e. a developer who didn’t build the site originally) to work out the cost as you have to understand how it was built, which can take significant time depending on the size of the site. If you have the budget, then it’s no problem. If you don’t, then sticking with a CMS like WordPress will make it easier for other developers to get involved and price updates for you.

More about WordPress

Let’s look at a few more stats about WordPress. Did you know that 23% of the Internet is built on WordPress? That’s more than one in every five sites you look at. This is a considerable amount. WordPress is estimated to be powering over 75 million websites so you’d be in good company. Talking of good company, many sites in the top 100 websites use WordPress such as: Time.com, The New York Times, CNN, UPS, Ebay, Reuters, TechCrunch and Mashable.

Even though this post is very much focused on WordPress, it is not the solution for everyone. But making a business case for its implementation becomes much easier if you have experienced some of the scenarios mentioned above.

Have you experienced situations which have caused you to reflect on whether you or you developers made the right choice of CMS? Let me know in the comments.