In reality, some clients don’t care how we build their sites, as long as we build them well. Others, however, know just enough to be dangerous – they want the details and are skeptical of WordPress. As keen WordPress users here at Insight, we know why our favorite CMS works for so many projects; however, we internalise so much knowledge in our day-to-day work that it can be difficult to communicate why we feel what we feel. With that in mind, here are nine objections to WordPress an uninformed client might raise, along with the information you need to counter them.
Objection 1: “Isn’t WordPress Just for Blogs?”
No, not at all.
You may be confusing WordPress (the open-source software package, found at WordPress.org) with WordPress.com (host platform). The former is a fully-fledged software package while the latter is a service that hosts personal websites in much the same way as Blogger, Tumblr and other such managed offerings.
WordPress began as a personal publishing system back in 2001, but by 2008 or so had evolved into a complete content management system.
WordPress can be installed on your own server (or that of your hosting service). You own everything that’s created there and have full, unlimited creative freedom while WordPress.com control your servers and hosting for you.
WordPress is eminently extensible with a vast and growing library of plugins – around 40,000 in the WordPress repository alone! Many plugins are free, which means you can get the site you want faster and at a lower cost than if it were hand-coded from scratch. You’re not limited to preexisting ‘themes’ (i.e. designs) either. Developers often use these merely as starting points so that they can create unique designs without having to reinvent the proverbial wheel.
Objection 2: “WordPress Is Just for Personal Sites and Small Businesses, Right?”
WordPress is used by some of the biggest, most widely recognized brands in the world also such as CNN, CBS, Dole, New York Times, Vogue, just to name a few. Think of it this way: If WordPress is good enough for the Library of Congress, government sites in the U.S. and Great Britain, and the U.S. military, it’s probably robust enough for your needs, too.
As of August 2015, WordPress powers nearly one in four sites on the Web – and of all sites that use a CMS, WordPress is the choice of more than 80%. In 2014, WordPress remained the fastest-growing CMS for the fifth year straight.
Objection 3: “Won’t WordPress Negatively Affect SEO?”
On the contrary!
WordPress is an SEO powerhouse coded to be SEO-friendly “right out of the box.” It supports a wide variety of plugins (we recommend Yoast) that help developers fine-tune every aspect of SEO. Google’s latest algorithm puts fresh, original content in the spotlight – and at the top of search result pages. WordPress makes adding content easy for you and your staff, if you’d like to do it on your own.
Objection 4: “I’ve Heard That WordPress is Responsive, why should my site be Responsive too?”
Responsiveness is a huge plus! So much so that we wrote a post on it.
A “responsive site” means that it’s built to perform well across all devices used to access the Web. Think you need a site that looks good only on desktop computers? Think again. More people now access the Web on mobile devices than on desktops.
Responsive sites are better for SEO. Google’s latest ranking methodology gives props to sites that perform well on mobile devices. You reach more people on more devices, and score higher in Google searches, thus adding reach and credibility to your brand.
WordPress helps with all this by supporting responsive themes – and if a given theme is not mobile-friendly, WordPress enables developers to change that without trashing the site easily!
Objection 5: “WordPress Isn’t Secure! I don’t trust it”
Oh yes it is indeed!
The company behind WordPress, Automattic, employs a security team consisting of 25+ experts whose only job is to make sure the WordPress core is safe from attacks such as injections, viruses, etc. They even have a Security Czar, Nikolay Bachiyski, who really knows his stuff.
Objection 6: “A Software Package This Good Can’t Possibly Be Free. What’s the Catch?”
There isn’t any. Really.
WordPress (and its updates) are open-source, which means you are free to use the software any way you like. And unlike sites hosted on WordPress.com, you have complete creative and functional freedom. If it can be coded, it’s okay to do.
A worldwide team of developers is constantly improving and rigorously testing WordPress. Some are employees of Automattic (the company behind WordPress), while others do it simply to contribute to the very active, supportive WordPress community. Updates are released regularly at no charge whatsoever.
The WordPress software package is licensed under the GPL, meaning that anyone can use, copy and distribute the software itself. (Don’t worry: You have full copyright to the styling and content you add.)
Objection 7: “So If It’s Coded and Maintained by a few Volunteers and Employees, How Good Can It Really Be?”
The WordPress community comprises top-notch coders, testers and other contributors (an abundance of loyal dedicated volunteers). Unlike software that’s marketed by a single company and developed and maintained by a single team, WordPress has thousands of talented, dedicated folks behind it. Updates, fixes and improvements come at a steady pace.
WordPress meets all guidelines of the World Wide Web Consortium, an international community that aims to develop across-the-Web standards for coding. WordPress also follows best practices as laid out by Google, Bing and Yahoo.
It works in all modern browsers – Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera and other browsers (particularly Internet Explorer) have their individual quirks, which websites coded “by hand” must address. That means more time (and therefore more money) is required to cover the reworking and testing needed to make sure your website displays properly no matter what browser a visitor uses. On the other hand, browser compatibility is baked right into WordPress. Sure, if your developer makes extensive changes and customisations, he’ll need to make sure those changes work across all browsers.
Objection 8: “You ‘specialise’ in WordPress Development, that means it will cost me most to hire a specialist.”
Quite the opposite in fact. It saves time and effort! Meaning less hours = lesser quote.
WordPress gives a developer all the basics, so he doesn’t have to create them anew each time, and it’s ready to be customized to your liking. If you’re the least bit computer-savvy, you can add and style posts easily without paying for a developer’s time. And if you part ways with a developer, another can pick up where they left off very quickly.
Objection 9: “Prove that the queries above are true!”
If your client is still unconvinced, here are a few links to send them:
Unfortunately, WordPress is still sometimes vastly misunderstood. As with most problems, information is your best ally. When your client thinks that WordPress is a word-processing program, use this cheat sheet to tell him about its versatility, wide usage by brand heavyweights, SEO friendliness, security, technical excellence and value.
A huge thanks to Elegant for some of the above info.