There are an estimated 1.84 billion websites in the world. The world lives in the land of virtual communication, so a website is a natural tool to use for marketing, connecting, and selling to consumers. Websites are used for information, as shopping malls, and even medical centers. With this kind of wide use, there is no shortage of platforms to build a website on. Some of the more well-known platforms are WordPress, Weebly, Wix, Shopify, and Squarespace. More than 30% of all websites (that's over 5.5 billion sites) are built with WordPress. It's a powerful tool to start a website with, but as time goes by and business expands, your website needs will change, too. So, how do you know if you've outgrown WordPress? Here are some reasons that it might be time to move on.
It's Free - but not really.
A lot of businesses and individuals begin using WordPress because it's a free platform to develop on. While the software you need for a WordPress installation is free of charge, users will still need to pay for a domain name and web hosting to install it. Depending on the size of your database and how much traffic you are getting to your site - which can change over time - the costs might vary. In addition to the reasonable start-up costs, WordPress provides ways to customize your installation with themes and plugins. And again, there are free options, but the more advanced options have some sort of charge to them - either a one-time fee or a subscription. So, this free service that is good for a beginner-level website can quickly escalate in fees depending on its complexity.
Security Risks are abundant.
WordPress is also known for being easy to manage. It comes with built-in updates and management systems that allow you to update plugins and installations from the admin dashboard. While this is a selling point for beginner sites, as you include more and more plugins to get your site just the way you want it, the more significant the security risk you have to your site. If a plugin doesn't receive an update regularly, you risk someone being able to 'hack' your site. Because WordPress is the most popular CMS (content management system) in the world, it's a constant target for hackers and viruses.
In addition to the security factor, plugins that fall out of date and aren't managed by their developer can break your site. If you are using your site daily to communicate with customers, the last thing you want is a broken site.
WordPress is good for blogs - but not everything else.
Something that's important to remember is that WordPress started its life as a place to house blogs. That is still its main purpose, and even though it can be used to build other types of websites, it's best used for blogs. With that in mind, if your site is becoming more than just a blog-driven information source, you might want to consider a different platform. You might have to jump through a lot of hoops and add many, many plugins to your WordPress installation in order to get it to function as you want it to. And the more plugins you add, the 'heavier' your WordPress installation gets—a heavy installation results in slow load times, which causes visitors to leave. A large database will slow down page load speed, and a slow website is not attractive to visitors.
Analytics aren't built-in.
Because a website is a company's #1 marketing tool, you want to capitalize on measurable outcomes from your visitors. The only way to do that is to have reliable analytics on your traffic. WordPress does not integrate analytics. You can add a plugin like Jetpack to your installation, but it's nowhere near as robust as Google Analytics or other platforms that are designed for lead generation.
You need something more.
Even though WordPress is a good place to start, it's not necessarily great for growth. As your business grows, so too will your website. As you define your brand, you will want to go with a more customized look, and the templates and themes from WordPress aren't great for customization — unless you have a developer working for you. But, once you hire a developer, part of the 'do it yourself' allure of WordPress fades away. As soon as you need something more than what WordPress is offering, it's time to look elsewhere.
The Bottom Line
What it all comes down to is your bottom line. WordPress starts its life out as a free, easy-to-use platform, but the larger the site/database becomes, the more you will run into recurring costs and time spent on updates, design, and optimizations to get your website where you want it to be. There are other platforms available, like Sitefinity and Webflow, that have enterprise-level features built-in without adding plugins. While there might be more financial investment in an enterprise website at the beginning, in the end, you are left with a functioning, customized online business solution that speaks directly to your customers.
Paid solutions aren't for everyone, but don't stay dependent on WordPress. There are other options out there.