The argument for building a custom website has become increasingly hard to make, given the ever-expanding flexibility and functionality of WordPress. Now, for a software company or a company whose product itself is a website with unique functionality, then building a custom website may still be the easier and more cost-effective way to approach the project. For any business which does not fall into that category, WordPress almost certainly saves substantial time and money. Additionally, each plug-in can be easily managed through the WordPress dashboard, the ease of which cannot be understated. Blogging with WordPress requires little elaboration, but here are some notable functions that have become very simple and effective:
- E-Commerce - To call the ecosystem of plug-ins available robust would be an understatement. Many options exist, free and otherwise, which simplify the creation and customization of an online store. Virtually any method of payment can be utilized. Robust shopping cart functions, such as inventory control, shipping, trends, and other analytics, are now accessible via plug-ins. We’ve been using Woocommerce and are quite happy with it.
- User/Account Management - Plug-ins now exist to define and control different levels of access, both for customers and employees, on almost any level one might require.
- Forums - Creating and maintaining a fully functional forum on one’s website has also become incredibly simple and efficient, using plug-ins such as BBPress.
- WordPress Multi - A little known fact is the ability to run and manage multiple WordPress blogs from a single instance of WordPress.
- Ease of caching and high-availability - Tools such as Batcache and W3 Total Cache have made scaling WordPress a cinch.
- A vast plugin ecosystem - Many plug-ins even allow a user to post simultaneously to different places, such as social networks, when publishing a blog post. Or create your own social network with BuddyPress.
If all of these functions were to be custom coded, the cost could be astronomical. Additionally, everything is managed through the dashboard, rendering it unnecessary to log-in to multiple different portals to access each piece of the website. This allows resources to concentrate their time on what makes the business money. The capital which would have gone to custom coding (not to mention updating) all of this infrastructure can be spent on promoting the front end of the business.
We have worked with many Bitlancer customers recently on high-traffic WordPress installs. Stay tuned for a high-tech, descriptive post on steps we took to scale those customers in a public cloud environment with multiple webservers, database servers, and a memory-based caching implementation.