Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

Things to consider when using WordPress as your website CMS

Christoph

April 29, 2017

WordPress


You might care about this article if you:

  • Use WordPress as your content management system
  • Are considering using WordPress
  • Are a web master
  • Are a digital marketing leader

I love WordPress and I’ve used it for many projects – projects that were successful. To be more precise: I love it for its ease of use. For the content creator in me it makes life easy.

Related: A WordPress overview 

I set this site up in seconds and started blogging. Once I started hitting more and more of my content sweet spot the audience started growing. I don’t even have a professional design on here. In fact the template that I currently use is one I installed at 5  in the morning while traveling to Chicago after the previous template crashed overnight.

Could it be nicer? Yes. Of course. We can always improve things. But I also don’t mistake my free template for a $20,000 design. Plus, I didn’t spent $20,000 on my site’s design. Or the site as a whole.

And I know there are many organizations that do use WordPress for their website. Of course, there are also drawbacks. While the content production is made easy in WordPress, personalization of content is not as easy to implement as in other larger and more enterprise-level content management systems.

Related: Why would you blog on Sitecore over WordPress?

But don’t get me wrong. You can customize  your WordPress-based site design and functionality to a large extent.

And that’s usually where the problems start. Really from my experience what I’ve seen is that you are best off doing one of these two approaches:

  • Use WordPress out of the box and have very few customizations.
  • Hire somebody to build you a completely personalized  WordPress site.

Both of these approaches have positives and negatives.

WordPress out of the box actually offers a lot of good things. But the moment we start customizing and bending it one way or another we’re setting ourselves up for a lot of extra work and even disappointment.

Related: Some of my favorite WordPress plugins 

For example, here’s my approach to any kind of enhancements to my out-of-the box WordPress site:

Whenever I want to test a new placement or a new feature, I simply think about the options I already have available. I also take a look through the plug-in repository. 

Sometimes a plug-in that actually addresses what I’m trying to accomplish already exists. So I simply download it and test. If it doesn’t slow down my site or even worst crashes it I’ll use it.

But I don’t push this very far. I try not to fiddle with the code or make custom updates that might later break the site or make future updates more difficult.

Right or wrong, this is the right approach for me on this blog. I can focus most of my time on content creation and audience engagement as opposed to updating the site and figuring out how to actually accomplish an update.

On the flipside of this, we can build a complete custom site in WordPress. Obviously that will cost more, will take longer and requires development help for any future updates.

The other thing that happens when we totally build a site as a custom site is that new features that are rolled out and new plug-ins that are added might not work as easily as they would on and out-of-the-box site.

But building a custom side of course has advantages because you have much more control over how things should look and should work. The biggest drawback is it costs more money and takes a lot longer to implement.

Obviously, you could also do a mix of the two ways of implementing WordPress.

  • Grab a free (or premium) template
  • Customize that for your specific needs

The problem I found with this approach however is that it sometimes can take just as long as building a site from scratch. It could even cost more.

That’s something to consider as well as we are deciding which route to go.

WordPress can be bend many different ways – especially with skilled developer help – but the more we bend it the more we have to remember that we will have to keep bending it for future updates.

The other thing that WordPress has done is it sets the tone in what should be available to content creators.

I actually hear this quite often from content creators who are using other content management systems:

“Well, WordPress does this. So why can’t this system do it? It seems to be a fantastic tool for content creation.”

It’s a fantastic opinion and it’s very true. If it makes content creation and distribution easier it should be implemented. It’s really the only way for content marketing projects to work: when content creation and distribution is easy we are setting our marketing organizations up for success. Because we’re not wasting time on crap processes. 

So those are some of things to consider when you use WordPress as your content management system. No matter what system you end up using, here’s to using a process that’s easy, that empowers your producers and that’s highly valuable in the long run to your audiences.

As always, if you have questions or need help you can drop me a note here. ⬅️⬅️⬅️ CLICK CLICK CLICK 😎👍🙏


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Christoph

Christoph blogs on The Authentic Storytelling Project and is a globally recognized content marketing expert. The IMA named him Internet Marketer of the Year in 2015. He works with healthcare organizations and other brands around the globe.

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