Let’s say you’ve got a client who needs a website, and you’re putting together the pitch. You’ve listened to their needs, and you’ve got a great solution that involves building a site on WordPress.
Pitching WordPress can be tricky. Folks have their preconceptions, whether they’re based on current information or not. Here are some of the pros and cons to pitching WordPress, as well as how to overcome those pesky cons.
Pros of pitching WordPress
- It’s comfortable. It’s fast to implement, easy to navigate, and (I’m guessing) familiar to you at this point in your career. You know how to get done what you need done, so you can work your way around it efficiently.
- It’s easy to learn. It’s got a user-friendly interface that makes self-managed content feasible, even for the folks who aren’t so familiar with the interwebs. (Pro tip: if you’re going to talk about how WordPress makes it easy for the client to manage the content, be sure the client plans to manage the content. It’s entirely possible they might want to hire you for ongoing maintenance work. Make no assumptions!)
- It can do a lot, and it’ll keep doing more. When you factor in all the available themes and plugins, WordPress is quite robust and can meet the needs of the vast majority of websites out there. And because it’s all open source, it’s getting more robust as time passes.
- The community is large and supportive. Because it’s some of the most widely used software out there, there’s a whole host of support available to you in the form of tutorials, videos, forums, and experts.
As a designer already familiar with WordPress, it’s to your benefit to make the platform attractive to your client. You can finish projects faster and command a better hourly rate, and clients can easily learn to manage their own content. In short, WordPress is ubiquitous for good reasons.
Cons of pitching WordPress
- Its reputation got a little tarnished. Fortunately with each new software update, the security gaps inherent in its PHP code have become smaller and smaller. At this point, the vast majority of the issues have been resolved, though its reputation still has some room for improvement with those who aren’t so plugged in.
- There are frequent core updates. These can sometimes lead to trouble with plugins, not to mention the possible irritation of updating so frequently.
- Plugins can be unpredictable. And because they’re open source as well, you’re tapping into a potentially unknown universe each time you add a new one. It’s always possible that a plugin will have code written into it that gives more access than you’d like to the rest of the site’s code.
- Its permissions and security settings have limitations. The WordPress software doesn’t let you get to the granular level when it comes to these settings. There are ways to get highly customized security settings, but these involve more plugins, which might be counterintuitive. Other CMSes do allow for these highly customized settings.
- It’s not the greatest (yet) at eCommerce. But it’s getting there! Some new themes and integrations lately have made that much easier to set up.
- It’s meant for small-content websites. There’s no out-of-the-box solution for large sites, so loading speed and traffic management can sometimes be problematic for the occasional spikes.
Security concerns, plugin inconsistencies, and a client’s preconceived ideas about WordPress can all work against you if you’re trying to plan a new site. But there’s one more drawback to pitching WordPress that you absolutely must overcome if you’re going to win over your client.
How to overcome the biggest con of pitching WordPress
If you’re pitching WordPress, you’re pitching a technology. And that’s not what you need to be pitching.
When a client is looking for a designer for their site, they aren’t looking for a cutting-edge theme with custom modifications and smooth integration with opt-ins and landing page templates. What they’re really looking for is the solution to an important problem for their business.
So when you’re propping up WordPress as the solution, you aren’t really addressing their issue. Plus, you risk bumping up against their preconceived notions, which could work against you unnecessarily. Instead, you need to focus on YOU and your unique value to this client. You’ve got a clear understanding of the issue they’re facing, you’ve worked out a solution, and you need to show how your design will solve their problem.
When you focus on the technology instead of your solutions, you’re taking some unnecessary risks, and you overlook the very thing they’ve come to you for: a solution. Instead of pitching the how, focus on the what. Impress them with the end result and don’t even get into the specifics of how you’ll build it. Ultimately, if you’ve got the solution that meets the client’s needs in the way the client wants them met, the technology won’t even matter.