At that time, there was a real panic among designers that WordPress was going to eliminate the need for a web designer altogether. After all, anyone could put up a website in just an hour or two. That actually never happened. No one ever just wanted their site to look exactly like the theme. Clients could never figure out how to get their logo uploaded or place their photos correctly. Many would even have a hard time selecting a good theme. I had a lot of calls for WordPress help back then.
By 2010, I had started using the Thesis theme on a pretty regular basis and was self training on Lynda.com. I quickly stopped using WordPress.com and started doing self installations from WordPress.org. In 2012, a client came to me with a Genesis theme and that put my focus on WordPress web design . I was streamlining and working with more speed than I had ever had, even with the learning curve. By then, all clients needed a content management system. It was an exciting time.
Along comes Wix, Weebly and Squarespace and inquiries start coming from people needing help. At first, I give it a shot, but quickly realize these web builders aren’t meant for designers like me, but more for the do-it-yourself business owner. I found it so frustrating that I decided to shun the other platforms forever.
Focusing my web design business on WordPress only was a great move for me. Here’s why:
- WordPress has steadily gained more market share over the years on the internet. It’s now at 29% of all websites you see online.
- WordPress is king when it comes to content management systems. This post has a great graphic that clearly shows WordPress dominance.
- Google has said that “WordPress takes care of 80-90% of (the mechanics of) Search Engine Optimization (SEO)” – Matt Cutts – Google Spam Team.
- WordPress core files, themes and plugins need updating that can lead to repeat business for you (care plan).
- WordPress is free.
- WordPress is easy enough for your clients to do small updates, but not so easy that they no longer need you for big stuff.
Several designers I know don’t use WordPress. The seat I hold in BNI was held by companies that used Umbraco and Joomla. Both companies are still going strong. I have a friend that is a Drupal designer in NYC. I know designers that will dabble in Squarespace. I’m happy there are lots of options for up and coming designers, but I’m also glad when I was learning, you really had one option. It was code by hand in HMTL. Less options meant more focus on learning to code. I love that I have that to fall back on!
If you are just starting out and trying to decide if WordPress is right for you, ask yourself what you are best at. If it’s Wix or Weebly, go for it. My advice is to pick a lane early and stay in that lane. Be an expert in the platform you love to work in the most. For me, that was WordPress.
Are you a designer that works with frameworks other than WordPress? I’d love to hear your story.