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Is a Self-Hosted WordPress Website Right for Your Small Business?

By | First Published: | Last Updated: 7 October, 2021

First, can a WordPress website handle your business needs? In most cases, the answer is yes. It is versatile enough to power some big players including Sony Music and the White House.

But that doesn’t mean it is right for you.

I design WordPress websites for a living, so why am I saying this? Because I want you to go in with your eyes open and as a fellow business owner, I want your business to thrive.

The Key Advantage of WordPress

There are many advantages to WordPress, but I want this article to be brief. So, I will focus on just 1 – versatility for a reasonable price. This versatility includes how your website:

Looks (colours, fonts, backgrounds)

Functions (online store, appointment booking, online courses)

Integrates with other services (email marketing)

15 years ago, I paid a company $15,000 to build a customised website (not WordPress) with the look and unique functionality I needed. The website worked great, but today – with WordPress I could build the same website for someone for under $3,000.

Why is this possible? Because WordPress offers a core product for free (WordPress itself) but allows you to extend its features with plugins. At the time of writing this article, there were over 59,000 plugins to choose from.

The Key Disadvantages of WordPress

The key disadvantages of WordPress stem from its versatility, it:

  1. Is harder for small business owners to learn how to use (than say Shopify)
  2. Is unlikely small business owners could design or create a site themselves (unlike Wix)
  3. Requires you to pay for your own domain and hosting separately (unlike Wix & Shopify)
  4. Requires you to maintain the site or pay someone to (security, code updates, backups)
  5. Has higher upfront costs (largely due to point 2)

A Cooking Analogy

Simpler alternatives such as Wix and Shopify are like a meal kit such as HelloFresh. Everything is there, you follow the instructions and make your meal.

A self-hosted WordPress website is like buying all the ingredients and cooking a meal without a recipe. Much more freedom – but much harder.

For many small business owners, a better analogy may be that hiring a WordPress designer is a bit like hiring a personal chef. Tell them what you like, and they create things for you. But they leave you to clean and occasionally replace the pots and pans.

The Verdict?

For me, I use self-hosted WordPress websites for all my businesses. But I’m not you.

WordPress is definitely better – but that better comes at a cost. Choose the option that feels right for you.

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SHAUN KILLIAN

Shaun Killian (me) is a small business owner, who is passionate about helping other small businesses succeed. He has been working with website design since 2008. He is also an expert in digital marketing, including SEO, content marketing and email marketing. In a former life, Shaun was a school teacher and principal before a heart transplant and bilateral leg amputation led him in other directions.