Is Wordpress or Static HTML Better for a Business Website?
In terms of business advertising spending your website is the best value you could possibly get for your money. For many new clients your website will create that critical first impression in their minds. It is therefor very important to get it right.
As a web developer I frequently get asked to recommend either HTML or Wordpress for a website and to explain why it is the best option. I always find it a difficult question to answer. There are many factors to consider and you really need to understand the internet to compare the risks, rewards and costs.
When I had a look at the other online articles about this topic I found that they leaned heavily towards recommending the use of Wordpress over HTML. While I understand why this is the case, I do not think that these articles sufficiently inform readers about the very real shortcomings of Wordpress.
Which would you recommend?
Does Wordpress have you scratching your head?
The Pros of Wordpress
The big reason for using Wordpress is that it allows users with no special knowledge to setup and edit websites. With a static website you need to understand and be able to read HTML to create it.
Installing Wordpress is easy, most webhosts automate the process with something like Fantastico. It only takes a few clicks to install the software. Content that you publish on your Wordpress site is divided into pages and posts. Pages are more like traditional web pages for instance your "Contact Us" or "About Us" page. Posts are where you put everything else. Wordpress is designed to accommodate large numbers of posts. It is fairly easy to setup Wordpress in such a way that a casual user won't be able to tell the difference between a HTML and Wordpress site.
You are unlikely to want to stay with the default Wordpress look. To change the site's graphic layout Wordpress uses themes, you download and install these themes on your site. There are many free and paid for themes that are very good.
One of the most powerful features of Wordpress are the plugins. Free plugins ad functionality to your website. Examples would be contact form, social networking integration, newsletter, monetization and backup plugins.
Clearly Wordpress offers a lot of power, but with more power comes more complexity. This has been an ongoing balancing act for Wordpress.
Now the cons
HTML is much simpler than Wordpress. That means that if something goes wrong or you want to make a small change to the layout of the site it's much easier and cheaper to do with HTML.
I have in the past had a Wordpress site hacked. It is absolutely no fun. Luckily I was able to restore the site from a previous backup. Wordpress keeps your site's content in a database. It is critical to backup your database every now and again. Fortunately there is a plugin to help you do that.
To help with security you need to pick a complex password for your administration account and you need to update your Wordpress installation, whenever a new one is released.
That brings us to our next Wordpress con: broken plugins. Whenever you upgrade your Wordpress installation there is no guarantee that your plugins will work with the new version. When this happens you cannot count on the developer, who created your free plugin, to update it to work with the new Wordpress installation. If you want to keep using an unsupported broken plugin you will then need pay a developer to fix it.
Ultimately if you only want your website to be an unchanging advertisement for your business, you should go with a HTML site. If you plan to put the time into creating a powerful tool for communicating with clients and potential clients, Wordpress is the clear choice.