Can you do this in WordPress?
This time last year, I blogged about 'Choosing the right Software for your Business' - something i feel is absolutely crucial - but based on some recent conversations with clients and prospects, I'd like to delve a little deeper into this issue.
The central point is illustrated by the question we have been asked several times, which is essentially: "Can you do <this> in WordPress?"
The answer is invariably "Yes!", with different intonations and expressions, however, really, it's not the right question in the first place and part of our job is to guide clients towards the heart of the issue, which centers around what they really want to achieve.
I should probably have prefaced this with an open statement that I like WordPress. It's a great blog engine and simple CMS which is very flexible and provides an excellent platform for many small businesses and websites. We build lots of sites using it (and offer some good value starter packages too), and of course, are a part of Plugin Hero, building WordPress plugins for sale.
So it's not that I don't want people to use it and it's not that I have anything against WordPress in specific, it's more the notion that you can choose your technology, select your platform and then figure out how to use it to solve a business problem or fulfill a requirement.
You're about to shout "Of course you can!" and naturally, you're right, but it doesn't typically end well - all too often the end results don't work quite how they should do (because of some constraint or other within the chosen platform), it takes longer to implement than it should - or the stability and functionality of the final solution suffers in some way from the process.
There are a lot of things to factor in when choosing which technologies to use (occasionally the technology itself is a driver, but those instances are fairly rare) and although your 'comfort zone' should naturally be one of those, it's vitally important not to compromise the end results with a blinkered choice of platform, components or even programming language before you've even started.
The world of technology is vast and there are many ways to skin your digital cat. Just because you CAN do it with WordPress (or any other tech) doesn't mean you should.
Do your research and pick the right technology to solve your problem with - it'll save you time, money and stress in the long run!