Should I build a WordPress website or a custom website?

The main benefits of building your website with a website building tool is a reduction in development cost and time.

Because many of the features come pre-built, you won’t have to put an extensive budget toward developing these elements. In addition, many online website building tools allow you to customize certain features and designs so you can still have a custom-looking website. If you create your website using a website building tool, what you save in time and money, you sacrifice in flexibility.

Although website building tools are improving, sometimes you reach a point where the structure and options available aren’t enough for what you want to do.


Groupon: Using a blog as a test

Groupon was one of the fastest growing companies ever. The company started by featuring one deeply discounted deal a day at a local or national business. Within 2 years, the company had over $100 million in sales and was valued at over a billion dollars.

The current version of Groupon we see today however is much different than what Groupon looked like when it started.

To see if people would be interested in Groupon’s concept, they started the website as a hacked together WordPress blog.

“We took a WordPress Blog and we skimmed it to say Groupon and then every day we would do a new post with the points embedded. It was totally ghetto,“ said Andrew Mason, founder of Groupon.

In an interview, Mason stated the reason behind starting with a blog instead of building something more,

“It was enough to prove the concept and show that it was something that people really liked,”
– Andrew Mason, Founder of Groupon

Because Groupon was testing a content-focused website, they didn’t need many custom features to make a first version of their concept. By starting with a WordPress blog, Groupon was able to release their product early to make sure what they wanted to build had enough interest before they built more.

If your idea works when it’s a limited blog, this could mean you’re on to something. And once you know people want what you’re building, this increases the chances that an improvement in the quality of your website will be worth it.

A blog could be the experiment on route to building your idea.

Eventually their website hit a point where WordPress was limiting what they could do. They switched over to a fully custom site to create a more robust website and design experience.

Think about where you see your idea now and where you want it to go.

If you are testing your idea with customers or have a limited budget, and you don’t need many unique features for your idea to work, starting with a website building tool could be a good option.

Keep in mind the limitations in terms of the features and design experience you can create with a website building tool and see how this aligns with your current business priorities and budget.

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