A couple of days ago, an old friend came to me for advice on his company's website. He wanted me to take up the project based on one condition - that I'd have to be completely professional and not charge a penny less than my usual rates. I agreed and one Saturday evening we met at a coffee place and started to discuss the various options available - WordPress, Joomla, Ghost, SquareSpace, Wix etc. Since I'm a WordPress fan, I'd always recommend it. Funnily enough, the end of the hour long discussion (and two mugs of cappuccino), we decided to go for HTML. If you're wondering why a WordPress fan (such as myself), recommended a simple HTML5 website for his friend's company's online portfolio - well, you're in luck!
In today's article, I'm going to share the highlights of the discussion I had with my friend - in the hopes that our readers might find it useful when deciding on a CMS. In other words, we'll be comparing WordPress versus HTML as suitable CMS (Content Management Solution) for your business or personal website.
WordPress vs HTML
Let us begin by looking at things from an investment point of view. When you're investing in something, you primarily consider two things:
- The input - Your time, money and/or energy and
- The output - This includes whatever you expect in return.
We have two entities - WordPress and HTML. Based on the aforementioned factors, we'll derive a couple of other judging criteria and study them based on the two. One of the primary things that we take into account in any investment is its cost effectiveness. In other words
Value for money (VFM)
The bare minimum requirements for hosting a WordPress site is a MySQL database and PHP support in your web-host. Nearly all the popular web-hosting providers in the world provide MySQL+PHP even in their cheapest plan. However you don't need PHP/MySQL support for a basic HTML5 or even HTML website. Thus, if you're using a web-host specific to your country (for example BigRock is very popular in India), they might have cheaper plans for basic hosting.
Hence, in terms of web-hosting costs, HTML is cheaper than WordPress. But does a cheap host come with poor performance? I don't think so. Since you're paying for what you use - and you're using pretty little resources, I'd say that the cheap cost is justified.
Of course, when you're hosting WordPress in one host which costs 4 USD/month and the other which costs 29 USD (WPEngine), believe me, you'd notice a monumental difference!
Getting away with free hosts
I thought of saving this for last, but I couldn't resist. There are a lot of tricks (available online) which show you how to host a website using Amazon S3, Dropbox, or any such cloud storage service. Surprisingly, they work. Your site might/will be slow, but hey - you can get an online portfolio with zero hosting cost. In case of WordPress, you can't.
Cost of Theme
First of all, you need a WordPress theme. So let us consider WordPress themes from a well-known theme marketplace - Themeforest. A well designed WordPress theme would cost $45-50 USD whereas the same theme in basic HTML would cost $15-20 USD to the maximum. Both of them include lifetime updates and support - as offered by the developer. Again, HTML is the winner.
The initial investment and in all probability, the long term invest in building a business portfolio or a personal website using WordPress is pretty high - compared to HTML. However, in the long run this could be cheaper compared to HTML. Let us investigate.
The real deal
If you're building static a website with just a few basic information about your company such as address, telephone, email, and contact form and a couple of other pages, then its safe to assume that the content won't be changing anytime soon - also the probability of more content being added is low. In such an event, go for HTML. The initial setup could be cumbersome, but it'll be much more cost effective in the long run.
Once you include a blog and the whole thing changes. It opens a whole new window to new content and old ones being updated.That's when you need WordPress or any a similar CMS. Scratch "similar CMS" - just WordPress!
With WordPress here's what you get:
- Add, modify or remove content easily
- Modify core elements and layout of your site's pages using Widgets and Page Layout options
- Powerful WordPress Dashboard to manage and categorize your site using Categories, Tags, Pages, Posts and if you want to take it up a notch - custom post taxonomies.
- Amazing visual editor and code-free HTML scripting
- Timely (and now automatic) WordPress core updates to keep up with the latest web design trends and security
- Build an epic eCommerce store with a plugin
All of these amazing capabilities without the help of the original developer. Imagine if you'd have to ask the developer to create or modify a new page every time a change comes up - you'd have to spend a fortune! Thus, in such an event, WordPress will always prove to be more cost effective than HTML in the long run.
This guide is meant for folks who are new to building websites and have only recently heard of WordPress - just like my friend. I've also talked about free web-hosts. That my friend, was purely for the sake of an argument. I humbly request you not to use a free domain or a free host for your business website. It speaks volumes about your intentions and opens the door for a lot of unwanted criticism. Feel free to play around with them though - specially hosting your site using Dropbox.
To make a long story (really) short, here's the gist of what I've been talking about for the past couple of paragraphs.
- If you're building a basic site with almost zero future modification, go for HTML ( sometimes a CMS is just over-kill).
- If you're building a site with future improvements in mind, WordPress all the way!
Happy trails, you creative monk!