Skip to main content.

Why we chose to become WordPress experts

Web development, like all things in the digital realm, moves fast. As do developers themselves, forever getting swept up in the next hot trend. In this deluge of sexy new technologies and opportunities, what makes a team like Shape Works commit to a content management system (CMS) like WordPress? What can you learn from this, if you’re questioning the wisdom of using WordPress over any of its alternatives? Is this the right platform to solve your own business problems?

WordPress logo on a screen

First, a caveat: we haven’t blindly tied ourselves to this mast, taking for granted that the ship will stay afloat. We love learning new things, new ways to do things better, even if that means a radical re-think, but all the while WordPress makes the most sense, we’re on board. With bells on. What convinces us that cultivating deep WP expertise is time well spent? We can boil it down to a few key points:

WordPress can be trusted

Nearly half of the web is built on WordPress. From hobbyists to multinational companies, it’s usually around the top of any shortlist for consideration. Most prospective clients that approach us are already familiar with WP and want to stick with it, even in the context of an otherwise comprehensive rebuild.

A major part of this adoption and loyalty is due to WP being open source. You don’t have to think about licensing the software. Or worry about who is in control of the product and what their long term intentions are. You can enjoy the freedom and control to do whatever you want with whatever you’ve built on WP. Additionally, a community is especially invested when it’s actively producing and steering a project, so the integral WP community can be counted on to sustain the platform.

These factors help to instil confidence that WP will continue to represent long-term stability and cost-effectiveness. If we steer our clients towards other solutions without a good reason, we risk condemning them to vendor lock-in. Even if the chosen alternative platform itself is not proprietary, using it could still result in a client feeling held hostage by their agency. This is because picking less ubiquitous platforms presents you with fewer options for a replacement dev team to work with going forward, should you need one. The vast ecosystem of capable WP developers, meanwhile, keeps your options open.

WordPress is flexible

You can do pretty much anything with WP, and people have! It’s wise to account for unpredictable changes in the trajectory of your business, and reassuring to know that a WP website can accommodate anything you might need to throw at it. The extensibility and scalability of WP is seemingly limitless.

WordPress has an extremely mature ecosystem of third-party tools, services, products. The plugin directory illustrates how wide-open the possibilities are, with over 60,000 free plugins alone. Granted, we hand-build almost everything in the interests of crafting the most lightweight and maintainable websites possible. There are, however, always instances where it makes sense to leverage the great tools that others have provided. With WP, we can rely upon there being a well-supported plugin for most things, giving us more options on where to focus our dev resources.

The Gutenberg block editor has brought a new level of editorial flexibility to the CMS. No more restrictively prescribed templates (read our thoughts on the new modular design paradigm here). Site managers can now create and repurpose rich content in any configuration. This ensures that their web presence stays fresh and relevant. In skilled hands this system of interchangeable blocks will maintain a consistent design language. It’s liberating to know that brand identity and visual rhythm won’t suffer as you get creative with your content.

Since the introduction of the block editor and the REST API, a site built with WP can even have a flexible core architecture. As we covered in our blog post about Gutenberg’s production readiness, we’re now able to chose between a ‘monolithic’ or a ‘microservices’ architecture. The latter decouples the data layer from the presentational layer of your website. This provides new ways to finesse the user experience, among other opportunities. WP thus continues to provide unsurpassed freedom in the CMS space.

WordPress is no flash in the pan

Other technologies might have their 15 minutes of fame as the hottest thing on the block. The trouble with being firmly on-trend, is that you’ll end up (almost by definition) off-trend sooner or later. If your tech stack is deprecated, no longer supported, abandoned, you’re going to feel uncomfortably exposed. You don’t want to discover that there wasn’t quite enough substance in the platform to sustain its viability.

As an agency, we could chose to take a meandering course, jumping with both feet into the churn of JavaScript frameworks and CMS services. It would be fun and we’d be bulking up our resumes with an impressive list of technologies. But it would come at a cost; heightened risk to ourselves and to our clients. Every project would lean too far into the ‘leap-into-the-unknown’ category during development. This introduces time and cost inaccuracies, and could shorten the shelf-life of the resulting products.

We’ll embrace a greater degree of consistency if it means that the calibre of our work can be consistently excellent. WordPress is a perennial favourite. We know that time and effort invested here is money in the bank.

WordPress or what, exactly?

If you suspect that depth can yield greater rewards than breadth, at some point you’ll need to choose a certain spot and keep drilling down, ignoring the illusion of greener grass elsewhere.

All things considered, WordPress is a winning formula for most websites. We haven’t found a comparable, reliable alternative that we can use as a linchpin for the majority of our work. One that truly serves the interests of our clients rather than those of a restless and excitable developer who likes to pick up (and then drop) shiny new things. So for most of our enterprise website projects we don’t need to reinvent the wheel, we just make it turn more smoothly. We spin up a WordPress installation and go about honing and refining our offering. Getting really, really good at WordPress, instead of merely okay at everything under the sun, is how we provide a highly valued specific service.

Need a WordPress expert?

Contact us today to find out whether our skills can help you to meet your business objectives.

Contact us