WordPress is an amazing tool, and there's no quicker way to get a website up and running. All the same planning considerations regarding SEO, usability, and speed apply to WordPress sites.
A well-optimized coded page will almost always outrank a well-optimized WordPress page. That's because a professional SEO expert has more control over the fine detail of the code.
If it makes good business sense to stick with WordPress, I'll optimize both its performance, search engine position, and productivity
Why WordPress is Perfect for Many Businesses.
WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS). It uses PHP to store pages and content in a MySQL database. The hosting server contains everything.
The server can't instantly download pages. The server must first build the pages.
It's non-technical, and anyone can quickly build a website by choosing a theme. You can make changes to those basic themes using CSS.
You can download plug-ins to add capabilities.
If you are very technical and understand PHP coding you can make further changes.
Users can add content without paying someone to do it.
Plugins make SEO easier. SEO effectiveness depends upon knowing what to enter into the plugins. Note: Search Engine Optimization involves far more than plugins address.
Lower cost. In fact most of it is free.
Why I Support However, Do Not Personally Use WordPress
WordPress websites competing nationally for highly competitive products or services do not usually rank well or least at the top of the first page.Try it yourself. If you're a medium to large company consider the primary keywords or key phrases you think your potential customers are using. Note the search results. Now go to http://www.isitwp.com/ to find out if the top ranking sites are WordPress websites. In my experience, WordPress sites usually don't rank at the top. I have optimized WordPress websites that rank at the top for Local SEO. A lot depends on the strength of the competition no matter whether it is WordPress or a coded website.
WordPress is slow. A fast website is critical to your Google ranking and user satisfaction. So being slow is an automatic disqualifier for my businesses. Many Search Engine Optimization websites written using WordPress take 8 or 9 seconds to load! Your target is .5 seconds. It's slow because there are tens or hundreds of files are being loaded and processed. Server-side tools that are available to compress and cache files are not available for WordPress. If you have a small, simple website, it may be fast enough. There are also so new WordPress hosting options can significantly improve performance.
You do not have total control of the code. I've found that changing small details on a web page can significantly impact search position. You want to be able to make code adjustments and sometimes reverse those adjustments quickly. Otherwise, it's like going into a professional prize fight with one arm tied behind your back.
WordPress websites can experience significant downtime because plug-ins are not always compatible with a new release of core WordPress. You cannot control when your hosting company installs a WordPress update. There are steps you can take to minimize this risk.
WordPress files are more susceptible to being hacked. Website Security is a major consideration regardless of how you built your website.
WordPress can behave erratically on secure websites. Some days everything works. Other days the website has problems with desktop applications, mobile applications or both. Many leading hosting services will not contract to apply SSL certificates on WordPress sites for this reason. However, Google considers having an SSL certificate important for both security and ranking purposes for any site containing forms.
Common Myths About Coding
Coding using an HTML editor requires coding every line on every page from scratch. Theoretically yes if you're an inexperienced web developer that never developed a website before. In practice the answer is an emphatic no. I use Dreamweaver although I do not rely on any automatic code generation. It has a feature called "Assets". Assets are collections of reusable code you create that accomplish a specific task or collections of tasks just like a WordPress plug-in. However, unlike a WordPress plug-in
I create the initial asset so I control the code so it can easily adapt the Asset.
The Asset is part of the page code itself, so the page is faster because the server doesn't have to build the page.
Pages are not all built from scratch or maintained individually. That's because Assets are reusable and embedded in pages across websites.
Make a change to the Asset, and it updates all the pages in which you have embedded it.
Coding requires editing every page which is tedious, error-prone and nearly impossible on large websites. I disagree. See the prior bullet regarding Assets.
Editing repetitive content is tedious and prone to error. I disagree. See the prior bullet regarding Assets.
Creating pages that organize pages in different ways is more tedious or impossible. More tedious? Yes. Impossible? No. I copy pages I want to reuse and use search and replace to adapt them. Reorganizing Pages in WordPress can be more difficult and less flexible.
Coded sites lack dynamic content, navigation, and structure. I disagree. If you know what you're doing, you can do just about anything when you code a page as you can do in WordPress and the coded page will do it faster. Some features of WordPress make it incredibly easy to insert multimedia. However, with a coded website you have more options and the ability to tweak the presentation. Note: Just as SEO specialists tend to write content for search engines and not people, many web developers tend to write websites to impress other web developers. SEO is not their first consideration. There's a place for animation. However, avoid excessive animation that can adversely affect usability by distracting the user from focusing on key points and making page file sizes big and slow-loading.
You can't update the content without going through the web developer (which in my case is also the SEO consultant). True. However, if the content is worth posting in the first place, it's worth optimizing.
Deciding Between Coding and WordPress Is a Business Decision
Don't base your decision on cost alone. Base your decision on profits and goals.
If search position is important for growing your business or is directly responsible for generating or potentially generating significant revenues, I recommend and personally go with coded static pages. You might get away with WordPress in the short run if it's a completely new product or service and you're the only show in town for related keywords or key phrases. However, if it's a great product or service, it won't be long until the heavy hitters join the fray and then you'll need the best possible optimized site to hold your position.
If site uptime is a critical issue, you may want to avoid WordPress. However, again, a lot depends upon who hosts your website, how it's protected from being hacked, and having a readily available backup.
Contact Me Online or Call Me at 610-334-7463 to discuss which approach is best for you.
Search Engine Optimization Services Provider and Consultant Nolan Noecker