When Free Is Not Free — The Real Truth Behind Building a Website Using WordPress

This article may have caught your attention because you need a website, or a redesign for your old site, or a general overhaul of your customer facing persona. Many of the clients who reach out to us to design or redesign their website ask us if we use WordPress. We know what they are thinking, and what you are thinking — WordPress is free and easy to maintain on your own.

But, is it actually FREE when it costs you the security of your website and your peace of mind?

Continue reading to find out how the so-called FREE WordPress platform can quickly become costly in terms of hosting, plugins, themes, updates, performance, and security. And why we prefer not to use it unless the client really wants it — of course, after we've explained all the potential issues.

Creating a website for your business is just like building a house – price is not the only factor you should consider as you would like that house to be sturdy, reliable and one that you will not have to rebuild or repair soon. It is true that, besides the fact that you don't have to pay to install WordPress, it is a versatile platform with many free features that small businesses find easy to use. Of course, the cost is a very important element to consider, but it is not enough when your goal is to build a strong, responsive, reliable, competitive, and secure website. After all, your site reflects your business; it is your online face and is in the vast majority of cases, the first experience a potential customer will have with your company.

The purpose of this article is to educate you, our valued client, to make an informed decision about what our experience tells us about the best way to build a website and why WordPress is generally not our first recommendation..

Here are some of the things that you need to know before choosing to use WordPress:

Hosting

Selecting a web host to build your website on is one of the most critical steps you'll need to take when building your website. You can host your site directly on WordPress, and this option might seem cheaper at first. But when paying for hosting you are aren't just paying for hosting, are you? You expect additional support from a team of specialists. While it is effortless to press the button and install WordPress, it can be challenging to customize it without the help of a developer. There is no WordPress development team, and nobody will monitor your website's performance or assist you with solutions for future issues. And this will cost you a lot of time should you want more than just having your website sit there.

Plugins

Plugins will provide the functionality to your site. Once WordPress is installed you will be required to download at least five plugins in order to start using your website and increase its functionality.  Some of the most common examples include Jetpack for performance, support, and security, Yoast for SEO, WPForms for forms, MonsterInsights for analytics, and a visual builder such as Divi, Elegant, Elementor. There are hundreds of other plugins available and depending on what you'd like to achieve at a certain point you will need at least one of them to create that functionality.

You are probably thinking — well, why is this a bad thing? First of all, not all the plugins are as free as you might think. It is true that for many of them you don't have to pay, but to achieve the maximum functionality of your website, you might also need to use more complex, paid plugins. Plugins will also cost you a lot of time — each plugin needs to be constantly updated, and this is time-consuming, not to mention that if not updated, a plugin can stop working or can become a security threat.

Another concern is that plugins can also cost you the functionality of your website — all this code clutter will only slow down your website. And, most importantly, plugins can cost you the security of your site — WordPress is open source, meaning anyone can build plugins and themes.  That's right: anyone. So, you run the risk that these plugins and themes come with bugs and in some cases, malware, which will make your WordPress site very vulnerable once you start adding plugins to it. But this is another topic that we'll cover later on.

When building a custom website, you don't have to worry about extra costs for plugins and updates.

Themes

You have installed WordPress, so, what's next? You need to choose a theme for your website and install it. There are many free WordPress themes available, but generally their quality is poor, they come with bloated code, bugs and even malware that can hurt the functionality of your website, your SEO, and can ruin your overall online reputation. In many cases, you have to buy a premium WordPress theme plus a set of plugins to ensure the theme will run correctly. And even then — most of the themes are built to cover a lot of scenarios and page layouts which means that you will be loading up a lot of unnecessary code which will, once again, make your website slower.

And this isn't all — from time to time, you might have to pay for updates to make sure the theme runs correctly.

Once again, WordPress will cost you not only money but also your individuality, aka what differentiates you, because most of the themes look the same. And many other limousine companies are already using them and why would you want to look like everyone else?

You don't. You want to stand out from the crowd. There's a theme out there that has been used repeatedly in the industry. Pretty sure it will look familiar to you as well, if you've seen a fair share of operator websites: https://demo.goodlayers.com/limoking/

Regarding creativity, the possibilities are endless when you choose to work with a team of professionals to custom-build your website. Starting from scratch, with zero lines of code, you can customize more than simply how the site looks, but also its full functionality. And the peace of mind comes when you know you must pay only once and that your code is private, optimized to do what it needs to do and be lightening fast, above all!

Security

Website attacks are growing in number and severity every day.  Regulations (think GDPR) are setting a higher standard around the world and developing a secure website is essential if you want to protect your business. As we have said before, since WordPress is an open source platform where everyone is allowed to create themes and plugins and that the core code for WordPress is open for anyone to see, it makes it extremely vulnerable to cyber-attacks. If your website is hacked, it will cost you time, and money to recover from the attack. Plus, it will cost your reputation — the visitors of your website might also be affected ensuring that that they will never return. In this case, the damage is virtually impossible to calculate.

When you choose to custom-build your website with a team of professional developers such as the team at DriveProfit, your site will be taken care of and will be supported by regularly run security audits, managed updates, website security vulnerability checks, and be on call to ensure that your website is always safe and fast.

Conclusions — WordPress Can Cost… A Lot!

Making sure you understand all the constraints and costs of using WordPress will allow you to make an informed decision for about your website and the first impressions you make on your visitors. At first glance, WordPress might appear to be "free" or a much more affordable option short-term, but when you add to the equation factors like security, functionality, maintenance, performance, things get costly and complicated, quickly.  It has never been more true that "you get what you pay for" when building your website.

If you are looking for the best team of developers to build a customized website, look no further. Since 2001, we have been helping companies throughout the chauffeur-driven industry improve their business. We understand the transportation industry, we challenge our clients, and mostly ourselves daily to deliver the best results. We create challengers. You can be one of the challengers of the transportation industry!

We would like to talk to you and see how we can help you. Feel free to reach out to us for some expert advice!

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Posted on Feb 05 2019

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When Free Is Not Free — The Real Truth Behind Building a Website Using WordPress

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