I have recently been approached by various people who have had their websites ‘designed’ by a custom website building professional. The reason, they want to make changes, add a blog and the ‘designer’ is either too busy, too expensive or on holiday in Nepal for a month 🙂
I do apologise to the all website designers and builders for my blatant sarcasm and apparent disapproval of a very legitimate business model. My issue is not with brilliant bespoke websites, nor the brilliant designers and builders – my issue is with the way we as customers go about choosing an appropriate solution.
For me, a bespoke website comes after you have had a website online, figured out what is working and finally realised that you have such a unique offering or requirement that you need a bespoke solution, not the other way round.
I think ego has as much to do with it as well as just lack of knowledge in this particular area. Nobody wants to research for months on end and nobody wants to buy something that they will throw away in a few days (aka cheap hosting solution website builder models). We also all want the best, most unique and quirky possessions out there. The thing with websites is that they need to work, be easy to adapt or change to a changing market and they need to be easy to maintain.
For this reason I recommend using a framework of sorts – preferably one that is open-source, has a decent community and is regularly upgraded. WordPress is just such a framework and whilst there are plenty of detractors and also plenty of issues if you just click and install without understanding the security, these frameworks are still way better than trying to pay for something that must be built from the ground up.
So to get started setup WordPress site, play with it, see what works, find add-ons or plugins and experiment. Then, and only then, you can make a decision on how different your needs are – my guess is you would have to have some very technical or very specific requirement that cannot be dealt with by a framework before you would need to move away from something like WordPress.
Be sure to read this article about Taking Control of your Web Presence BEFORE you rush off and get yourself a website.