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Review: "WordPress Can Save You Thousands Of Dollars On Web Development Costs And Put You In The Driver's Seat Of Your Online Vehicle!"
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Martin Aranovitch profile photo
Updated August 14, 2016

Review: "WordPress Can Save You Thousands Of Dollars On Web Development Costs And Put You In The Driver's Seat Of Your Online Vehicle!"

Score 10 out of 101
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with WordPress

I have used WordPress for years to build websites for business clients, and also ran government and local council-sponsored training seminars and workshops teaching businesses how to grow their presence online using WordPress.

After building hundreds of WordPress sites over the years and authoring a series of detailed WordPress training guides for beginners. I have recently turned all of my WordPress knowledge and expertise into a comprehensive Free WordPress training site at WPCompendium.org and developed WPTrainMe - a WordPress tutorials plugin that allows users to get instant access to hundreds of detailed WordPress step-by-step tutorials from their own WordPress dashboards.
  • WordPress allows users with no technical knowledge or coding skills to be in complete control of their web presence.
  • WordPress can save business owners thousands of dollars in web development and web design costs.
  • WordPress is a powerful, secure and highly scalable online content publishing platform and business marketing tool that costs almost nothing to run.
  • WordPress can be configured to automate many areas of website management and online marketing, including automatic updates and automatically driving visitors from search engines and social networks to your site whenever new content is published.
  • WordPress is open source software and benefits from the contribution of thousands of community users, including web developers and web designers.
  • WordPress is regularly updated (on average every 3 months) to provide users with new features, bug fixes, and to address security vulnerabilities found in previous versions.
  • WordPress is the most popular and fastest growing content management system in the world
  • I have written a detailed article listing 50 reasons why WordPress is the ideal choice for most website owners here: http://wptrainme.com/wordpress/50-great-reasons-why-you-should-choose-wordpress
  • The biggest challenge I have found with WordPress is training - helping clients and business owners understand just how much they can achieve with WordPress. Even though there is so much great information online about WordPress, most of it is not organized into a logical system, or aimed at technical users. This is why I have years developing a comprehensive WordPress 'A-Z' training system that takes users step-by-step through every aspect of using WordPress.
  • A WordPress site can be professionally set up and fully configured in hours at no cost, other than the cost of purchasing a domain and web hosting.
  • A WordPress can be run and managed by users with little to no technical skills.
  • I have built WordPress sites for previous clients that quickly outperformed their existing static websites and continue to deliver new visitors from search engines and social media networks with very little work required other than adding new content on a regular basis.
  • xsitepro,frontpage,dreamweaver,joomla,blogger
I started out using regular web applications to build websites until I discovered WordPress is 2006. All of the sites I have built since then have been WordPress. Knowing all I know about WordPress now, I wouldn't recommend anything else for most business owners. WordPress allows me to build sites that can do almost pretty much anything I can imagine - e-commerce sites, membership sites, provide customer support, integrate with social media, etc ...
Most people equate WordPress with "blogging". WordPress has evolved way beyond blogging to the point where many people are visiting websites that don't look like blogs, but are actually being powered by WordPress.

WordPress would suit most business uses and applications. I would only recommend custom web development work if a business owner cannot get the functionality they need or the web design look they want from a WordPress plugin or theme.

WordPress Feature Ratings

WYSIWYG editor
8
Code quality / cleanliness
9
Admin section
10
Page templates
9
Library of website themes
10
Mobile optimization / responsive design
10
Publishing workflow
9
Form generator
9
Content taxonomy
9
SEO support
10
Bulk management
9
Availability / breadth of extensions
10
Community / comment management
10
API
9
Internationalization / multi-language
10
Role-based user permissions
9

Using WordPress

Users and Roles

2 - As our business (WordPress training) is showing people all that can be achieved using WordPress, we believe in being a "product of the product" and so we use WordPress for everything we do online - sales website, e-commerce pages, membership areas, marketing blog, customer support functions, business directories, integration with social media apps (e.g. Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc) and 3rd party providers (e.g. subscriber lists), etc.

Support Headcount Required

1 - Troubleshooting most WordPress problems and issues requires only basic WordPress skills such as knowing how to activate or deactivate plugins and themes, general web skills such as knowing how to upload and delete files on servers using FTP, knowing how to change file permissions, web security fundamentals, etc. and experience.

There is also a lot of support available online from the WordPress user community for more complex, technical-related issues or problems that are harder to pinpoint which may involve modifying code on application files or reinstalling software files, and these can be obtained at no cost from WordPress support forums, user groups (e.g. Linked In), various online tutorials around the web.

We have also developed a comprehensive WordPress training plugin that provides users with detailed and easy-to-follow WordPress management tutorials and troubleshooting checklists and diagnostic guides that can be instantly accessed from their own WordPress administration area, or, if they can't log into their sites, accessed from the online members area on our site.

Business Processes Supported

  • Sales and marketing
  • Integration with 3rd party merchants and applications (e.g. e-Commerce, Affiliate program, analytics, etc.)
  • Membership site with custom-developed WordPress plugin

Innovative Uses

  • WordPress is open source and highly configurable, so a lot of customization is possible. We developed a unique custom plugin that allows us to deliver hundreds of detailed training tutorials directly into users' own dashboards. This plugin is the core of our business and connects information built with and stored on our WordPress site, to the sites of other WordPress users.
  • For almost anything you can imagine or want to do with your WordPress website, there is already a WordPress plugin available that can instantly give you that functionality, or you can create a custom plugin to do this. Most existing solutions that add new functionality or a new design to WordPress are either free or very inexpensive and extremely simple to install, allowing you to save thousands of dollars on web development / web design costs.

Future Planned Uses

  • As our business is centered around providing non-technical WordPress users with access to a comprehensive WordPress training solution via our unique WPTrainMe WordPress training plugin (visit WPTrainMe.com for more info), our goal is to continue developing our plugin to the point where it will hopefully become an integral part of WordPress itself, providing users with instant access to a fully integrated, context-sensitive help resource.
  • We believe that anything is possible with WordPress once users understand just how powerful WordPress really is, and that anyone can be in complete control of their own web presence without depending on people with advanced technical expertize, if they just learn what to do.

Likelihood to Renew

10
WordPress is open source, completely free to use software. There is no cost to renew and you can use the software to build an unlimited number of websites on domains that you own. Hence, a $0 cost software that builds you infinite assets.

Evaluating WordPress and Competitors

Products Replaced

Yes - We stopped using traditional website development tools like Microsoft FrontPage, Dreamweaver and XSitePro to build and maintain websites for clients in 2006 after discovering WordPress.

WordPress is now the only website building tool / online publishing platform / content management.system we use and recommend. WordPress can do just about anything that most business owners require, for very little cost to run and maintain, and users can easily learn how to operate and fully manage their own sites.

We switched to WordPress, because we believe in empowering website owners to run, manage and grow their own presence. The technical skills required to use most other web application tools typically mean that website owners have to employ the services of technical experts to get things done on their sites, which then involves unnecessary cots and time delays for the website owner.

Key Differentiators

  • Price
  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
  • Product Reputation
  • Third-party Reviews
We started out building sites for local business owners, and quickly found out that having to be on call or available to answer questions or assist with every little thing they wanted done on their sites after completing the work was very time-consuming and quickly eroded any profits we had made. Clients were dependent on us for simple things like making changes to web code, because it required knowledge of the application and/or owning the application itself.

After discovering WordPress, we were able to build sites that could then be managed by the clients themselves with a little bit of training.

Additionally, at the time, we were building many sites for our own projects and ideas and found that the more sites we built, the more time-consuming it became to manage these, as it required editing the web pages themselves.

The single most important factor in our decision to switch to WordPress was the ease of use for clients, and the built-in content management system for us.

Evaluation Lessons Learned

To put it quite simply, if we had to do it over, we would have switched over to WordPress sooner.

We were aware of the existence of WordPress for several months before we switched over, and during this time we invested hundreds of dollars in web development applications to help grow our web services business. We could have saved this money if we had used WordPress.instead.

WordPress Implementation

Implementation

10
As someone who learned how to install and configure WordPress and then began performing the service professionally for other local businesses, and finally ended up teaching and training business owners about the benefits of using WordPress and developing WordPress training products, I am constantly amazed when I hear from business owners that their sites have taken weeks or even months to get built and how much they have paid for it.

Getting a professional WordPress site built and fully configured requires only hours or a couple of days. If you learn how to do it yourself, the only cost you have is registering a domain name and getting a web hosting account, which is a requirement for any website. Additionally, WordPress website owners can be up and running and growing their presence online even before deciding on a specific web design "look" for their sites. You can start with any web template and change your theme as soon as you find the design you like, and everything that you have added to your site will remain the same.

I have grown to love WordPress, as have thousands of other WordPress users, and I have always taught in my business seminars and workshops that, unless what you plan to do online requires some specific custom-built complex application, then consider using WordPress. WordPress is the ideal platform of choice to consider for most business website needs - it can save you thousands of dollars on web development costs and it puts you in the driver's seat of your own online vehicle!

Implementation Details / Implementation Partner

  • Implemented in-house

Implementation Phases

Change Management Lessons

Change management was minimal - WordPress is a revolutionary tool for business owners. Prior to user-friendly website-building and content management applications like WordPress and other blogging tools, website owners had to depend on web developers and web designers who had the tools, and the technical knowledge, expertize and skills to build and manage websites, or who offered content management systems that had to be hosted and coupled with a specific application.

With a WordPress site, the website owner can be completely in control of all aspects of their own web presence once they learn how, including running everything from their own domain and choice of web hosting provider.

Using the services of professionals to help them get things done online is a choice for WordPress users, not a necessity.

Implementation Issues

  • Learning how to install WordPress (very easy once you know how).
  • Learning how configure WordPress settings (very easy once you know how).
  • Learning how to automate WordPress for search engines and social media integration (for driving visitors automatically to your site whenever you publish new content).

WordPress Training

Training Types Used

  • Self-taught

Ease of WordPress Training

Some aspects of learning WordPress without training are easy, but figuring out how to put everything together after the initial steps can be very time consuming. Unless you have plenty of time to scour the net looking for information on what to do next when learning how to use WordPress, I would strongly recommend downloading the WPTrainMe WordPress training plugin at WPTrainMe.com. The FREE edition of the plugin contains all of the essential "how tos" of using WordPress and the detsailed step-by-step tutorials will help you learn how to get started quickly and easily.

Configuring WordPress

Product Configurability

10
WordPress is highly configurable. For many WordPress users, the application performs just fine right "out of the box". If you know how to configure WordPress well, however, you can achieve a lot more with your site, including:

  • Set up systems that will automatically notify search engines, social media sites and other online directories as soon as new content is published on your site and drive new visitors to your site
  • Harden the security of your WordPress installation to protect your site from attacks by hackers and malicious users
  • Optimize the performance and interactivity of your site to give visitors a better and more engaging user experience.
  • Provide you with detailed insights and reports about visitor behavior to help improve your sales and conversions
  • etc.

Configuration Lessons

Yes. We have spent years documenting best practises and processes for expertly configuring WordPress and turning these into detailed step-by-step tutorials which guide users through the entire WordPress configuration process. These tutorials can be instantly accessed through your WordPress dashboard by downloading our WPTrainMe WordPress training plugin (WPTrainMe.com).

UI Customization

Some - we have done small customizations to the interface - The WordPress user interface is mostly configured by installing a "Theme" (a web design template) and then configuring the options made available within the theme.

Every theme offers some level of customization and configurable settings, and these settings generally don't require users to modify any code in order to customize the WordPress interface.

Extensibility and Customization

Some - we have added small pieces of custom code - Making small changes to code in WordPress is not difficult at all. It typically requires locating and opening application files, pasting or typing one or more lines of code into the file, then re-saving and re-uploading the file to your server.

Adding new code to WordPress can be done by either editing template files directly or by using plugins.

We did create a custom WordPress plugin for our business and used a WordPress developer to perform this service and create the plugin for us. Once the plugin was created, all we had to do was install, activate and configure the plugin in the same way that all WordPress plugins work, and all the custom code we needed to be added was instantly added.

Additional Customization Considerations

As mentioned several times in my review, we have developed a WordPress training plugin that allows users to instantly access hundreds of detailed WordPress step-by-step tutorials directly from within their own dashboards.

We have spent many years creating these tutorials as part of a well-organized WordPress training system and believe this plugin could have a major impact in the area of WordPress training, especially for business owners and non-technical WordPress users.

WordPress Support

Support

8
With WordPress, it's important to differentiate between support for the application itself, and support for third-party components that integrate with WordPress like "plugins" (functionality) and "themes" (web design templates).

The WordPress application provides free support via an online community of general users and technical experts (e.g. developers). This support is mostly related to reporting bug fixes, security vulnerabilities, etc., which then get reviewed by the core development team for possible implementation and resolution in the next or a future version upgrade.

Most of the problems users experience with WordPress, however, tend to come from third-party plugins and themes causing conflicts or errors. These are developed by a range of different providers, developers, designers, amateur coders, etc. and so the level of support varies. Just like "apps" for mobile devices, there are developers who create robust solutions that play well with everything else on your device and they provide excellent support to users, and there are "fly by the seat of their pants" developers and/or marketers who rush out software that is really "buggy", or they don't have a great customer support structure in place to handle issues and provide solutions quickly (or at all).

I gave the rating of 8/10 in this case, because if you focus on the support you can expect to receive for "core" WordPress-related issues only (e.g. bugs or vulnerabilities in the software), there is no dedicated WordPress support "representative" that will directly assist you or manage your case - it's an open source community. And if you focus on the support you can expect to receive for third-party plugins and themes, then that varies greatly depending on who the plugin or theme developer is, and whether you are using a free or premium plugin or theme.

WordPress Customer Support Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
No escalation required
Immediate help available
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
None

Premium Support

Yes - Although the core WordPress application itself is free to use and support is widely available via the WordPress online community, most of the functionality for the software comes from third-party applications called "plugins" and "themes" (web design templates). There are thousands of great free plugins and themes available for WordPress users, but as these are free, it's not realistic to expect the plugin or theme developer to be able to provide users with dedicated support.

When choosing plugins for WordPress sites, I recommend using free plugins only if they are robust, well-supported and highly-rated by the user community, and choosing premium plugins for applications where support, updates, etc. is absolutely critical. Most WordPress premium support costs are ridiculously low anyway, so it's really not an issue.

Bug Resolution

Exceptional Examples of WordPress Support

I get exceptional support from WordPress by:

  • Browsing their support forums
  • Reading the documentation on their site
  • Staying informed about educational events and initiatives for the user community (e.g. WordCamp, WordPress TV, etc.)
  • Receiving regular software upgrades automatically
  • Visiting sites of other WordPress experts for tips and inspiration

Using WordPress

Usability

10
WordPress has to be the most user-friendly web-editing and content management system I have ever used for an application that allows me to fully run and manage a website on my own domain with no licensing costs.

There are other website applications available that may be easier to use, but most of these require users to run their websites on the application's domain, not on their own domain.

One of my core beliefs is that businesses should grow their own assets online, not someone else's. WordPress is not only very easy-to-use once you learn how, but it also lets you publish unlimited content on your own site, and hence, continually grow your own asset.

Usability Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Consistent
Quick to learn
Convenient
Feel confident using
Familiar
None

Easy Tasks

  • Expanding functionality (e.g. adding a membership site, customer poll, contact form, advertising banner management system, e-commerce, etc. - can be done in a couple of mouse-clicks with no technical skills required)
  • Changing the entire look and feel of your site's web design (can be done in a couple of mouse-clicks with no technical skills required)
  • Adding, editing and publishing media rich content to the web instantly (can be done in a couple of mouse-clicks with no technical skills required)
  • Installing WordPress on a domain name (can be done in less than a minute with a couple of mouse clicks)
  • Updating software and software components (can be done in a couple of mouse-clicks with no technical skills required)

Difficult Tasks

  • If you want to customize the application you will need to know how to code or edit PHP. It's best to hire a WordPress developer for this area.
  • In terms of WordPress site management, performing a complete maintenance routine (upgrading and backing up WordPress files and database, troubleshooting, etc). There are ways to automate some aspects of the process (e.g. backups), but to perform a complete and thorough maintenance routine requires a step-by-step system. Once you know the process, however, then it's quite easy to do and takes only about 15-20 minutes to do. Learning how to manage WordPress is covered in detail in our WPTrainMe WordPress training tutorials plugin (WPTrainMe.com), so anyone can learn how to easily do it.
  • In terms of WordPress site security, hardening your WordPress installation security. Internet security is a complex issue, and there are ways to protect your WordPress installation from hackers and malicious users using various plugins, but this requires knowing what to do and following a step-by-step process. Once you know the process, however, then it's quite easy to do and most of it only has to be done once. Learning how to secure and protect a WordPress site is covered in detail in our WPTrainMe WordPress training tutorials plugin (WPTrainMe.com), so anyone can learn how to easily do it.

Mobile Interface Availability and Impressions

Yes - The way a WordPress site displays to visitors on various devices is mostly governed by the WordPress "theme" chosen by the user. A theme is a web design "skin" that works independently of the WordPress software, so users can easily change the skin (and hence the entire web design of their sites) as often as they like.

The WordPress mobile interface that site visitors see, therefore, depends on the theme the user has installed. If the user chooses a mobile "responsive" WordPress theme for their site, their site will display beautifully on all types of devices. There are many excellent WordPress theme design companies and hundreds (if not thousands), or visually stunning responsive themes to choose from. All a user has to do to have a "mobile-friendly" website is choose a "mobile-friendly" theme.

WordPress Reliability

Scalability

10
WordPress is completely scalable. You can get started immediately with a very simple "out-of-the box" WordPress installation and then add whatever functionality you need as and when you need it, and continue expanding. Often we will create various WordPress sites on the same domain to handle different aspects of our strategy (e.g. one site for the sales pages, product information and/or a marketing blog, another for delivering products securely through a private membership site, and another for running an affiliate program or other application), and then ties all of these sites together using a common theme and links on each of the site's menus.

Additionally, WordPress offers a multisite function that allows organizations and institutions to manage networks of sites managed by separate individual site owners, but centrally administered by the parent organization. You can also expand WordPress into a social networking or community site, forums, etc.

The same scalability applies to web design. You can start with a simple design and then scale things up to display sites with amazing visual features, including animations and video effects, sliding images and animated product image galleries, elements that appear and fade from visitor browsers, etc.

The scaling possibilities of WordPress are truly endless.

Reliability and Availability

10
Anyone can visit WordPress.org and download a fully functional copy of WordPress free of charge.

Additionally, WordPress is offered to users as open-source software, which means that anyone can customize the code to create new applications and make these available to other WordPress users.

Performance

9
Mostly, any performance issues have to do with using too many plugins and these can sometimes slow down the overall performance of your site.

It is very tempting to start adding lots of plugins to your WordPress site, however, as there are thousands of great plugins to choose from and so many of them help you do amazing things on your site.

If you begin to notice performance issues with your WordPress site (e.g. pages being slow to load), there are ways to optimize the performance of your site, but this requires learning the process. WordPress users can learn how to optimize their WordPress sites by downloading the WPTrainMe WordPress training plugin (WPTrainMe.com) and going through the detailed step-by-step WordPress optimization tutorials.

Integrating WordPress

Ease of Integration

8
We haven't really had to "integrate" many external technologies with WordPress. Mostly we tend to use WordPress "plugins" that do all of the integration work behind the scenes for us and all we have to do is install and activate the plugin, which is a "one-click" operation. A few of the applications we have installed in the past required configuring settings in our hosting account and editing application files, and the only reason these were not as easy to integrate with WordPress was because the technologies themselves hadn't developed plugins for WordPress.

Systems Integrated With

  • Aweber - autoresponder integration. Visitors can sign up for newsletters and opt-in forms on the WordPress site and all the email marketing is then run from the Aweber application.
  • HotelsCombined database application - integrated the travel and hotel booking application with an affiliate site. Visitors can search for travel destinations and book hotels using the third-party software from HotelsCombined on the front-end, and the backed of the site is all WordPress.
  • e-Commerce. Customers can purchase and download products from various sites we have built and pay using their credit card or Paypal through the secure merchant facilities we use on the site.
Fairly easy and can be up and running in minutes. Most integrations require only adding a plugin or pasting a line of code into the content itself, and then configuring a few settings.

Future Integration Plans

  • As WordPress continues to grow, more and more systems and applications are developing plugins or add-ons every day that allow their technologies to integrate easily and seamlessly with WordPress.
Typically what happens is that whenever we think of a functionality we would like to add to a WordPress site, someone has already developed an application or solution that integrates with the site, so it's only a matter of downloading (or purchasing and downloading) the plugin, installing and configuring it on the site.

Types of Integration

  • File import/export
  • Javascript widgets
We developed a custom plugin for delivering our WordPress training information directly into WordPress users' dashboards using JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) and the application also requires talking to our membership software.

Integration Lessons Learned

Search for WordPress plugins that can do what you want first before looking for other applications or services that require custom integration work to be done. There are thousands of excellent plugins for WordPress already available that can do almost anything you can imagine or need done, and these can be inexpensively purchased and easily and quickly integrated with your WordPress site.

Relationship with WordPress Foundation

Pre-Sale Experience

10
Once you know that you want to build a website using WordPress, you can download the WordPress software directly from their website (WordPress.org) free of charge. No sales process is involved.

Post-Sale Experience

10
There is plenty of support and help available for WordPress users. Many service providers specialize in helping to install, manage, customize and troubleshoot WordPress for users who want to outsource the work to others, or you can just as easily learn how to manage it yourself.

Key Negotiation Points

In the case of WordPress, there is nothing to negotiate with the vendor. WordPress makes the self-hosting version of the software available completely free of charge to anyone, with no licensing costs and the rights to modify the source code however they see fit. Anyone can download the software at no cost and perform unlimited site installations.

Dealing with WordPress Foundation

Read the software licensing terms and the site's documentation, and get educated about all that WordPress can do to help you create a successful online presence. If you are considering starting your own website, or if you are unhappy with your existing website, ask web developers to build you a WordPress site, then consider installing the WPTrainMe WordPress plugin on your site to learn everything you need to know about using, managing and growing your web presence using WordPress.

Upgrading WordPress

Upgrade Process

Yes - WordPress minor version upgrades can be performed automatically, or with "one-click" for major upgrades. Provided you follow recommended pre-upgrading processes (e.g. back yp all of your files and data), there should be no problems at all upgrading your WordPress software, plugins or themes. Most of the time everything goes smoothly and the upgrade is completed in seconds.

Upgrade Benefits

  • Improved features
  • Bug fixes
  • Security vulnerabilities from previous versions addressed.

Anticipated Benefits from Future Upgrades

  • More improved and new features
  • More bug fixes
  • More security vulnerability issues addressed.

Migrating Between Editions

Yes - I changed from the WordPress hosted version (WordPress.com) to the WordPress self-hosted version (WordPress.org) once I understood the difference between the two. There is no cost to use the self-hosted version, which gives you all of the features of WordPress with no limitations and allows you to install a WordPress site (or unlimited sites) on your own domain.

Future Edition Upgrade Plans