WordPress vs Static HTML

So you’ve come to terms with the fact that few businesses modern day can thrive without a website.

Great. You’re in for a treat.

With this awareness comes good news and bad news. Let’s address the bad news first.

Modern users are able to record the first impression of your business within 7 seconds.

  • The area of your website that influences the user’s first impression will capture their attention in just 2.6 seconds.
  • 75% of consumers say that they judge credibility based on a businesses’ website design.
  • 79% of users reported that they would not purchase from a slow loading website.
  • And in 2015, Google’s search algorithm began penalizing websites that weren’t mobile-friendly (websites that don’t auto-resize to fit mobile devices).

THE BAD NEWS: In other words, you’re better off having only a Facebook page and Google Maps listing if your website is not up to par.

THE GOOD NEWS: Gone are the days of high-end, fully customized websites dominating the market.

Today, you can purchase a cost-effective, professional-looking website that meets all of the qualifications for ranking in Google search for just a few thousand dollars.

The days of having everything customized to stand out from the crowd and meet your business needs individually have become a thing of the past. Modern website builder platforms simplify and at the same time, enhance the way business owners are growing online. However, you might still be torn between designing the website in custom HTML or on WordPress if you’re trying to stand out from the crowd.

Sure, website builder templates can look pretty standardized and you might be wondering why a template website is worth anything at all.

Let me explain.

Each alternative undoubtedly presents pros and cons. They each share upsides and shortcomings, which we’ll be delving into in a bid to determine the better choice. Without further ado, here’s the difference between a website built on WordPress vs. HTML:

What’s WordPress?

You’ve probably heard of WordPress before.

But chances are you’re thinking about the blog hosting service (WordPress.com) as opposed to the open-source content management system (WordPress.org). There are many CMS or content management systems out there, but WordPress has proved to be the go-to in recent years. It breaks down complicated programming language into simple features and templates for you to use, update, and recreate a unique website from scratch without a technical skillset.

What about HTML?

HTML, on the other hand, is a lot more complicated than WordPress.

It entails building a website from scripting languages that require proficient knowledge of the technologies in use. In terms of content storage, static files usually host your content when it comes to HTML designs; however, WordPress channels these to a database.

Furthermore, custom websites are VERY expensive and complicated to update. There’s also not much you can do when they go out of style, beyond building a new website altogether.

Pros of WordPress:

  • Custom Look Without the High-Ticket Price
    • WordPress offers a huge collection of professional templates that are easy to install and edit. With WordPress, the world is your oyster, as you can choose a look from an endless array of finished and aesthetically appealing templates. These templates will set the tone for your business and give users an idea of your business values based on the colors, fonts, and imagery used.
  • They’re Immensely Powerful
    • You can add many functionalities via “plugins.” Pop-ups such as a reservation system, email opt-in, autoplay video, or contact form can be integrated without hassle.
  • Full Ownership and Control
    • Be it content or the domain name and everything in between, you’ll be able to execute changes when you see fit without needing to contact a third-party. Your designer should offer a few resources that will allow you to revise and update the website yourself so that you’re not stuck paying $1,000/month for maintenance if you don’t want to.

Cons of WordPress:

  • It takes a while to get the hang of it.
    • Sure WordPress simplifies website building, but it’s no walk in the park. It took me several years to learn WordPress, and there’s still a bit of custom coding that goes into making the site stand out from the competition. However, you can quickly learn the ropes as there are countless Youtube and DIY instructional videos.
    • Alternatively, you can pay your designer an hourly rate to update the site. WordPress retainer fees are also much less than HTML designer retainers, typically ranging from $150 – $500/month.
  • Maintenance is on you.
    • The burden of ensuring themes are ahead of the updates, and plugins are configured correctly can be a pain. many plugins are updated weekly, and if these fall too far behind, they can slow down the load speed of your website. Installing the latest plugins, and looking after your website in general falls on you when you have a WordPress website.
    • The same goes for HTML, but HTML sites are less likely to have these issues because the code is never updated after the site is complete. Further, when a plugin is updated, it can conflict with other plugins or your theme and cause the site to break. It’s best to contact a professional rather than performing any updates to the site by yourself.

So there’s a bit more work to go with it although you can opt for managed WordPress hosting.

Pros of HTML:

  • No maintenance.
    • Once you’ve put up an HTML website, it’s there to stay. There’s little else you’ll need to do (or can do) to keep it up and running. However, this proves a seesaw trait, as evident in the downsides below. If Google does a major update (like the 2015 deindexing of sites that weren’t mobile-friendly), you’re simply out of luck.
  • Few requirements.
    • MySQL or PHP servers are not prerequisites for efficient HTML website operation which can effectively take place on cheaper alternatives. However, it’s generally the normal that the best hosting companies have such servers in place.

Disadvantages of HTML:

  • Hard to update.
    • You’ll need to have a capable web developer on your payroll to do even the simplest of alterations. Merely uploading images or videos, taking down content, and adding new pages will require a significant background in the underlying technology.
  • No additional features.
    • HTML websites are usually a one-off affair. They can’t be changed with simple plugin installation, and the structure is concrete. If there comes a time you’d like to add new website functionalities such as a gallery, survey, client portal, or store, you may need to switch to WordPress.

The Final Verdict: HTML or WordPress, what is the better choice?

WordPress proves the better alternative hands-down.

Considering how much money you’ll save getting around the need to hire a highly-skilled web developer to fashion an HTML layout – it’s the better option unless you have money to waste.

A $5,000 WordPress site and $20,000 annual marketing budget will yield a much higher, and faster return on your investment.

Remember, websites don’t make money if they don’t get traffic.

You’ll typically spend upwards of $10,000 on HTML design services in addition to maintenance expenses that you’ll incur down the road. Further updates to bring in new content will have you scratching your head and reaching deeper into your pockets. It’s not uncommon to spend $30,000 during the first year of owning an HTML website. Additionally, it may have really specific hosting requirements and all kinds of additional services that would be free on WordPress.

WordPress sites are typically faster, and easier to navigate with fewer errors and maintenance requirements (although there are plenty of optional updates).

Ultimately, it’s best to take the WordPress route and focus on marketing your business.

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