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We all know that WordPress is awesome, but those outside the world of web development may not be as enthusiastic. If you’re pitching to a corporate client, even mentioning WordPress could cause you to lose out to another provider offering a bespoke CMS.

The tide is changing as an increasing number of big brands and sites now use WordPress for their web platform, proving it’s a powerful CMS solution, not just a blogging platform. Samsung, Ford, Reuters and Yahoo are among some of the companies who have chosen WordPress to run at least part of their websites.

Even so, it’s likely to be some time before WordPress is taken as seriously as bespoke built systems and other CMS platforms in business. Until then you may have to get your evangelizing hat on and demonstrate exactly why WordPress is an excellent choice.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Understand Their concerns

Your client may have heard stories in the past about WordPress sites being hacked, or may have been warned that it’s an insecure platform. Perhaps they’re put off by the idea that WordPress is free software and therefore can’t possibly be as good as something they’d pay thousands of dollars for.

Whatever their reasons for concern, it’s important to get to the root of the problem so you can allay their fears. If you get even the slightest hint that a client is not 100% sold on WordPress, ask them to discuss their worries with you to show that you understand their needs and you’re not glossing over genuine issues for concern.

Emphasize the Cost Savings

money

A bespoke CMS can easily run into tens of thousands of dollars and is no small undertaking for a business of any size. If you can demonstrate that WordPress will do the same job (or better!) for free, you’re onto a winner.

Whereas with bespoke systems and less popular CMS software, you’ll almost certainly have to hire a developer to build extensions and make customizations, with WordPress it’s often just a case of searching for a free plugin.

Using open source software also means it’s much more affordable to find a developer for future enhancements and maintenance, as the software is freely available to everyone and there is no initial investment required.

Explain That WordPress Sites are Future Proof

The biggest issue with custom-designed CMS solutions is that once they’re built, you’re stuck with what you’ve got unless you want to pay for future upgrades. This is not only more expensive but can tie you down to your original developer, or mean extra development time as any new programmers will need to spend some time familiarizing themselves with the original system.

WordPress is updated regularly, for free, and these updates are easy for the client to manage and deploy without needing the assistance of an external developer.

As WordPress is such a popular system, used by tens of thousands of sites, it’s unlikely to stop being updated at any time in the near future.

Demonstrate How User-Friendly WordPress is

user-manual

WordPress is a great system for beginners and you don’t need any technical knowledge to use it. Additionally the large and helpful WordPress community means there’s always someone willing to help out with free advice if you need a hand.

Other CMS platforms, especially bespoke built systems, have no such guarantees and can often be quite clunky and non-intuitive to use. This means additional time and money spent on staff training and less productive workflow.

Explain that WordPress is SEO Friendly

SEO is of high priority to the WordPress community and the base software gets more optimized every time there’s an update. Unlike hosted blogging platforms, you don’t need to worry about being targeted by Google for “over optimization” – as so many people use WordPress, it’s considered to be the standard in the blogging world.

There is also a wide selection of SEO plugins available for WordPress which ensure everything from website copy, to images, to site speed is optimized to make it more attractive to search engines.

SEO is big business these days so even the smallest advantage over a competitor is a big plus. Emphasize the difference that moving up a few spots in the search engine rankings could do for your client and they’re sure to be impressed.

Show Your Understanding of Security Issues

security

One of the biggest criticisms that WordPress has is that it is a system that is vulnerable to hackers. In fact this is more a case of user error (due to website owners not updating their software and plugins as often as they should) and the fact that WordPress is the most popular blogging software, so there are bound to be more sites hacked simply due to scale of numbers.

WordPress does have vulnerabilities but these are very easily strengthened by taking appropriate steps when setting up your site and if you can demonstrate your knowledge of the weak points and show what you will do to harden the WordPress installation, this will instil confidence into your client.

Make sure you’re familiar with security plugins like Better WP Security and read up on best practice when setting up a new site. You should also impress upon your client the importance of secure hosting as most mass WordPress attacks occur on poorly managed shared servers.

Emphasize its Extendibility and Flexibility

WordPress can be made to do just about anything with the right theme and plugin. It can help to show a range of successful websites ranging from image galleries to forums to booking sites to e-commerce sites to show just how flexible the software is and that it’s in no way just a cookie-cutter blogging platform.

Whatever you want your site to do, there’s a pretty good chance someone has developed a plugin for it. If you can’t find an appropriate plugin, you can commission a developer to create one. As WordPress is such a popular platform, there’s a huge choice of skilled developers working for affordable rates.

Don’t Mention WordPress

This may be cheating slightly but in some cases, it’s simpler not to mention WordPress at all if you know it will be immediately off-putting for your client. Most clients don’t really care what software their site is running on – they just want it to work the way they want it to.

Rather than debating the various advantages and disadvantages of different CMS platforms, simply give them a rundown of the features that you propose and the benefits that they’ll gain from such a system.

Summing up

Why choose a bespoke system when WordPress has already done all the hard work and been tested by thousands of users with continual improvements for the last ten years? There’s no need to spend a fortune on expensive CMS platforms. WordPress is just as powerful and flexible as commercial systems and offers a whole host of other benefits too.

Image credits: epSos.de / peterme / Conspiracy Hack


Rachel worked as a web designer and developer for several years before moving into freelance writing. She still uses WordPress every day and gets nostalgic for all-night coding marathons.

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8 Comments

  1. Many time I face at least one of mentioned questions from my leads. I can surely answer them more precisely.

    Let me know if I can share this post on my blog.

    Thanks,
    Nizam

  2. Excellent article Rachel. I see so many “raised eyebrows” when I mention WP but its often due to the user having seen the WordPress 2011 theme and thinking that is the pinnacle of its ability both functionality and presentation wise.

    Like Nizam I would also like to share this blog with full reference to yourself an your website if that’s ok with you.

  3. Right on thge money Rachel. Huge extendability, ease of use for clients, future-proof and flexible. Easy to maintain and can be made highly secure by those of us with years of WordPress experience.

    That said, like any system it has it’s limitations, so we use Magento for larger ecommerce builds and bespoke PHP builds for large web apps.

    • Thanks Nigel, you’re right and I must admit my first experience of building an ecommerce site in WordPress was not without problems, however the plugins are improving all the time. i definitely think there’s a place for bespoke systems too :)

  4. Really very helpful for my work, and some very good arguments

  5. I’ve had this before and really don’t get why people think this way about WordPress. I still hear the old WordPress isn’t a CMS it’s just a blog line.

    I’ve built websites in both Drupal and WordPress, everytime I build one in Drupal the client is unhappy about the admin area and say it’s confusing and they don’t understand how to change things. All the sites I’ve built in WordPress I’ve never had this problem, they have all been happy with the admin area interface and how easy it is to customise things.

    I’ve also had problems with SEO in Drupal, title tags not working, meta descriptions not coming through. In WordPress using the Yoast plugin I don’t have to worry about this.

    WordPress is a better CMS for the end user so that’s the one I’m going to use.

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