You probably often hear that WordPress can be used for all sorts of different projects and many business scenarios. You probably want to get an installation going right now so you can get your idea started, but you have nobody telling you if your use case is the right use case for a WordPress install. I have professionally designed, developed, and deployed dozens of WordPress installations for customers over my career, and I can tell you that many times I’ve seen a customer wrongly choose WordPress for their business when they should’ve went with a different solution.
This article will hopefully shed some light on how you can determine if a WordPress installation is right for you and your idea or business.
When Using WordPress is a Good Idea
If your goal is to have a website that you or others can easily update with new pages, media, content, etc. Then WordPress is exactly what you're looking for. Whether it’s a blog, a website displaying the many services your business offers or your team members, those are all appropriate uses for a WordPress website.
Here are some more examples of great uses for WordPress:
- A travel site with articles of trips, and video / picture galleries
- A coupon site showing a list of offers
- A cooking site with a list of written recipes and tutorials
- A real-estate company’s website with a list of sold properties, customer testimonials, and lists of offered services
The important thing to note from trying to determine whether your WordPress use case is an appropriate one, is to remember what WordPress is: A content management system centered around blogging. You will hear horror stories about WordPress from others on occasion because they tried to bend and stretch WordPress into territories the platform was not intended for.
When NOT to use WordPress
If you’re idea revolves around making a website or application that has multi-step workflows or has features that otherwise aren’t initially supported by WordPress, you may not want to use WordPress as a solution. Some examples of some ideas that may not be suitable as WordPress website are:
- A website with a user account system where users can have permissions given to access specific content. Like an educational website where once a student registers, they can view a class.
- You want to create a website/application where a community of public users can post content, vote and comment on other content user’s content.
- You want to create a marketplace where public users can list items for sale for others to buy.
To be clear you can probably get these scenarios working in WordPress, but it would require a lot of work, a lot of plugins, and your using WordPress for what it’s not intended to do which can cause problems in the near future when you're looking to scale your project up.
Another important scenario that I’ve seen many customers utilize WordPress for, is creating an e-commerce shop. Time and time again I’ve seen customers set their shop up in WordPress using the WooCommerce plugin. I can tell you that using the WooCommerce plugin to setup a store in the very beginning is okay to get your inventory shown to your audience, as soon as you start seeing sales I recommend going with an e-commerce solution. The best solution that I’ve come across so far for newcomers that need a shop setup with minimal fuss must be Shopify [http://shopify.com]. If you want a mostly maintenance free experience with almost no downtime and an easy and secure way for your customers to shop online, Shopify is a must have. Everything is cloud-based so no on-site servers are needed. I’ve been moving customers over to Shopify for years now, and every migration has always been a major success. Can’t recommend it enough.
Some More Information and General Warnings
I would like to offer up a few more quick tips and warnings before you run off and do your thing.
Please do not install too many plugins. Installing a plethora of plugins makes your site more insecure, your site more difficult to update, and can potentially slow performance of your WordPress site. If you need to install many different plugins to add certain functionality, you may need to rethink your strategy and either go with a service provider to provide embeddable functionality, pay an agency to add your functionality, or move to a custom solution instead.
Be careful with hiring cheap labor to assist with your WordPress work. Although WordPress agencies and freelancers are plentiful and it may be tempting to go with the cheaper options, you need to remember that you get what you pay for. You may hire someone that might be cheap, but they could lead you down a rabbit hole of endless revisions, leading your project down the wrong path, and potentially even ruining the stability of your project. Cheaper is not always better.
Expect to perform maintenance. Do not expect to have your WordPress site setup, deployed, and letting it run without checking on it. Keep the installation and plugins up-to-date including the server your website is sitting on (unless it’s a cloud provider that automatically maintains the server).
Backups. Backups. Backups. Seriously setup scheduled backups in the event something happens to your WordPress site. Whether it's an accidental change you performed that broke the site or a malicious attack, keep your site constantly backed up. You do not want to be in a situation where you lose all the work you’ve done.
I hope with this article, I was able to provide you with enough information to make a decision on whether WordPress fits your idea and/or business. Be sure that your project fits within the parameters of what WordPress is designed to do.