WordPress Is Not The Only Game In Town

I’m going to be black balled from the Guild of WPers when I publish this post, but here we go anyway! WordPress is not the only game in town, sometimes WordPress is not the best tool for every project {sharp intake of breath from the audience}.

If there is a pre-made website solution for a particular project you are planning, then please look into that before you try and build a custom solution from WordPress plugins and a theme.

WordPress is of course open source and free but any complex problem you are trying to solve probably needs some custom plugins and a decent looking theme and that’s not free.

Don’t get me wrong I’m a huge fan of WordPress and I’ve based my business around it but I have found certain situations pre-made single solutions software as a service is better.  Here are some examples:

Training – If you are looking to create a members only training site, there are plugins out there but they are pretty complex and expensive. There are software solutions to create your training business (more later).

Helpdesk – the plugins out there are not that great, and require a lot of setup, it’s far easier to assign a custom domain to Helpscout.

E-Commerce – I’ve talked about my love/hate relationship with  WooCommerce in Why I’m Breaking Up With WooCommerce if you want a simple robust e-commerce site look to Shopify, I built a test drop shipping store in a few hours.

CRM / Project Management – this is an area that plugin developers have not touched in my experience Basecamp and the rest do a better job.

.com vs .org – WordPress itself has two versions, if you want a simple blogging solution look to WordPress.com rather than creating a custom site with WordPress.org.

Case Study – A Course Website

I’m build a course to expand upon my idea of a µAgency, the free introduction course will be coming out soon and the paid version a little later this year. I was looking into the best plugins to use for a learning management system or LMS.

Here are my requirements:

  • Protected course material (video)
  • Student registration
  • Payment gateway
  • Email Integration to up sell courses and keep in contact with students
  • Responsive out of the box
  • User only forums for questions about content
  • Integrates with Freshbooks so my accounts are done automatically
  • Nice to have – affiliate program so students can refer me and earn a fee.

WordPress solution

For a WordPress solution I would need:

  • Custom theme $50,
  • Learndash plugin $150 (learn dash has zapier integration for Freshbooks)
  • Private video subscription with Vimeo $100 per annum,
  • wp affiliate plugin $99 per annum

So the total cost to build this site per year would be about $400 plus my time to bring all these disparate systems together and build the site.

While searching for LMS plugins I saw some ads for Teachable.com a single solution website builder, I decided to investigate.

Teachable solution

For a teachable solution I would need:

  • 1 subscription to teachable $39/month

All of my requirements are built in plus some additional item such as author sharing, automatic affiliate payments.

Teachable is designed out of the box to sell courses. That’s all it does it has design back end features I need.

I signed up for a free account and my site was built, I added a few stock photos and voila a “school” in their terms to sell courses, it looks good has lots of great features and will enable me to build my course with ease.

They host my videos securely, manage students have back end email facilities, affiliates with auto payments, they handle refunds and payments through their system and give me a monthly payout.

The have zapier integration so I can add invoices to my system to automate my accounts.

Neil is a happy chappy, site built in about an hour, custom domain assigned.  My course structure is built I just need to drop in my videos.

I’m busy creating my content once that is done I’ll sign up for a premium subscription at $39 per month or  $468 per annum, so the price is similar but the effort was way less.  That payment is monthly rather than a large up front payment for plugins.  One sale per month will pay for this project.

Wrap Up – WordPress Is Not The Only Game In Town

Choose the best tool for the job, if you need a hole in a wall choose a drill if you need to dig a hole it’s a spade.

WordPress will do the job, but sometimes the effort outweighs results. I love WordPress and I’ll always provide WordPress technical support, but sometimes I tell my clients no, use this instead.

MicroAgencySchool.com will be opening it’s doors soon. I could have built it with Learndash but the quickest route to market is Teachable. I’m using the correct tool!

Are there any single solution website builders you prefer over WordPress? Discussion in the comments below.

Photo Credit: grahamsholt Flickr via Compfight cc

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