As a leading web development company in UAE and India with over 20+ years of experience in making international websites that serves millions of visitors, we often face this question from our clients:
Is custom developed websites better than WordPress based websites?
Here is my answer to this question: “Absolutely. Custom-developed websites are better than WordPress websites in several ways and is a clear winner.”
Read further to learn why custom developed websites are better than WordPress-based websites.
Personally, I am a strong advocate of custom developed websites for a reason. Well, not just one but I do have several reasons to state custom developed websites are a lot better than WordPress websites. My 2 decades of experience in web development is more than enough for me to come to the conclusion. I have developed hundreds of websites for clients in various countries and various business segments.
If you don’t have a lot of time to read this full research paper, then here is a summary for you:
Why custom developed websites are better than WordPress?
Below are the top 5 reasons why custom developed websites are better than WordPress websites:
- Highly customisable: Custom-developed websites allow you to build every feature that your business requires. There will be no limitations on functionalities. The website will be able to grow with your business.
- Better branding: Custom-developed websites will be able to fully incorporate your company’s brand in terms of colour themes, layout, design, emails, and notifications and your website will stand out from the crowd.
- More secure: Custom-developed websites are more secure than WordPress websites. If done right, it will have fewer security loopholes.
- Better Performance: Custom-developed websites can be optimized for best performance and thus provide a better user experience.
- Better SEO compatibility: Custom-developed websites provide better SEO capabilities allowing your business to grow through organic reach to your target audience.
With my 23+ years of experience in custom website development, which includes my years of experience with BroadVision Inc that developed websites for large e-commerce giants like Walmart, HomeDepot, etc, I can strongly vouch for custom-developed websites. If you don’t want to take my words for it, read further to understand why I believe and advocate for custom website development.
I have been with SpiderWorks Technologies since 2005 and have developed more than 100 websites for clients in the UAE, India, Europe, and several other countries. In fact, you can take a look at our own website and see how we have developed a superfast, SEO-oriented website for our company.
Advantages of Custom Developed Websites over WordPress
While WordPress costumes with a plethora of features through add-ons and plugins, you are limited to the functionalities provided by available plugins. Most common requirements on the web can be met through plugins but if you want your business website to be unique and offer something more than what everyone else does, you will need to build custom features.
Showcase your brand identity
While template-based websites help you to launch a website quickly with pre-built UI and design templates, you will lose the flexibility of showcasing your brand identity through a template-based WordPress website unless you go for customisation of the template. But if you are going to do customisation of WordPress, why not start with a custom website?
A custom-designed website gives you complete flexibility on bringing your brand identity to every aspect starting from colour choice, layout, design elements, custom font, and a lot more. So, if you are a brand conscious business, a custom website would be the right choice for you.
Every website on the internet is secure only until someone finds out a security loophole in the website. Technology is always evolving and hackers are the ones who keep them up to date and ahead of time than anyone else. There are large numbers of hackers always busy trying to find new ways to hack into any system. Even the most secured cloud servers have gone through severe intrusion attacks and it is a never-ending process. While IT Administrators always look for solutions to make their website more secure, hackers are busy inventing newer methods to break the system.
In general, it is not easy to break into a secure server. A hacker could take several weeks or months to find loopholes in a server. In the case of WordPress templates or plugins, once a hacker finds out a loophole, he can use the same loophole to break into any website that uses the same plugin/template. However, if a hacker finds a loophole in a custom developed solution, what he found out will only work on that particular website. For the same reason, in general, hackers will prefer to target WordPress and other template-based websites, which is why you generally see a lot of hacking news about them.
Another reason custom developed websites are more secure is, most of the aspects of the custom sites are custom developed without using readymade plugins. This will significantly reduce the attack surface and keep the website a lot more secure than WordPress-based websites.
When it comes to performance, custom-designed websites are absolute winners unless you are talking about a basic website. In the case of basic informational websites that do not require any extra plugins, WordPress comes up with caching systems that can give pretty fast loading. However, if you have complex requirements and heavy user interface elements, then WordPress websites could be very slow even if you use the caching mechanisms. Typically, the add-ons and plugins make the WordPress websites slower and sluggish while custom developed websites can offer pretty much the same performance irrespective of the features and functionality. Since page speed and performance are becoming more and more important for SEO, custom-designed websites could be a better choice.
While you can achieve almost all SEO functionalities in a WordPress website through plugins, SEO can be just built into a custom developed website natively. This means you don’t have to depend on any external plugins and thus avoid the performance issues and security threats coming along with those. Also, by natively developing all SEO elements into a website, you can fully customize the website to match any advanced SEO requirements without any limitations.
Search engines are always evolving and changing continuously. You can keep building or modifying the SEO aspects as the requirements evolve, thus giving you full control on taking advantage of all evolving SEO requirements.
If developed in the right way, custom websites have a clear advantage over WordPress websites on an SEO perspective.
Disadvantages of Plugins
Plugins are small externals applications that can be attached to your website to provide additional functionalities. For example, to add Schema elements or Product Review features to a WordPress website, you need to install one or more plugins that provide those features. There are plenty of choices available in the market. While plugins are useful to add features to a website, they come with a lot of problems as well. Some of the major disadvantages of plugins are:
Many free plugins are not well tested and come with security issues or will have hidden malware for future attacks
Sometimes Plugin developers stop supporting their plugins and you will have to find a replacement at that time
When newer versions of WordPress is installed, many plugins may become incompatible and you may not be able to find a new, compatible version. If you use many plugins on your website, after a few years, a WordPress upgrade may cause your website to stop working.
While a WordPress website with several plugins can provide many custom functionalities, considering the problems coming along with the plugins make them a poor choice over custom development of the features.
Only custom websites can provide complex features
If you require complex features or require functionalities that connect various modules within your website, then custom development is your only option. A default WordPress website cannot give complex features unless you find a plugin that delivers exactly what you are looking for. Hundreds of plugins exist that deliver a lot of common functions and features that are used across lots of websites. But if you are not ready to compromise with the features that come with the plugins, then you will have no choice but go for a custom developed website.
Evolve with your business
The goal of every business owner is to scale up and expand their business. Your website should be capable of evolving in response to your business needs. A custom-designed website with proper architecture to support future business expansion would be your best bet to scale up your business through online marketing strategies. You must engage with an agency that can prepare a roadmap and plan your website in such a way that any sort of future requirements can be accommodated without a major revamping of the website. In the case of WordPress websites, you will be pretty much limited to the functionalities available through plugins and you will not have the flexibility to incorporate additional requirements as your business grows.
Clean and SEO friendly HTML
Usually, templates are made for multiple purposes and come with a lot of customization options. That also means the ready-to-deploy templates will have a lot of unwanted elements to support multiple use case scenarios. While this is a key advantage of WordPress-like websites, it comes with too much cluttering within the HTML and complex HTML structure. On the other hand, since custom-designed websites are made just for you, they will have only the essential code required to meet your specific requirements. So, custom-designed websites will usually have a cleaner HTML that can perform better on search engines.
Are WordPress websites far behind custom-developed websites?
Well, there may be some reasons you may want to consider WordPress. For example, if you are looking for developing a real quick website to showcase a small aspect of your business or want to have a website developed at a very low cost, then you may compromise on the advantages given by custom-developed websites. WordPress comes with many plugins that allow you to deploy various features at a low cost.
Summary: Custom designed websites or WordPress websites - which are better?
I talked about various advantages of custom-designed websites over WordPress. Now let me conclude.
While WordPress websites are relatively cheaper, easy to manage, and faster to deploy, they may hinder the growth of your business in the long run. If you can afford a bit more, I would suggest you go for custom website development.
Choosing the right web development company is a crucial factor in determining whether custom development is going to work for you. If you choose the right web development company for your website, a custom-designed website can bring you the best returns for your investment.