When to Use WordPress for Your Site

by Matt Montaruli on August 23, 2012

Choosing the right tools for the job may be one of the most important steps of any project. This includes determining when to use a CMS, and specifically when to use WordPress as a CMS solution.

We’ll detail below when it is most appropriate to use WordPress, when you should use another CMS, or choose another, non-CMS solution altogether.

You’ve Decided to Self-Host Your Blog

WordPress is the most popular self-hosted blogging platform today. It is popular, well supported, actively developed and open sourced.

It isn’t lightweight, nor is it slow or bulky.

Only in the more “extreme” cases–much larger content sites, or much much smaller blogs should you consider a solution other than WordPress.

When you need a small to moderate size site needing a CMS

If your site is on the smaller to moderate size, there is certainly a lot of boilerplate and coding repetition that WordPress (or any CMS) could manage for you.

You’ll likely be adding and editing content and don’t want to be bogged down with the coding minutia for every single page.

Additionally, if you were installing WordPress just for the blog section of your site, it might be worthwhile to use the installation to manage all of the content on your site, not just the blog.

When multiple people are editing content

If you have multiple writers/editors for your site that don’t know anything about HTML, a CMS (especially WordPress) is something to seriously consider.

Even if they do know some HTML, it’ll still often be easier for them to create a new page or section in WordPress rather than code out an entire new page. You’ll save both your time and the other writer’s/editor’s time by installing WordPress, as they’ll be able to focus on the content, rather than the code.

When a site has an unspecified number of sections that will likely be added to later

WordPress makes creating new sections a snap. It is also very easy to add new navigation items to your side or horizontal navigation.

Thus, if you’ve designed a few templates or even coded a site to completion, knowing full well that you’ll be adding to it in the future, you’ll likely find it much easier to convert your site to a CMS.

When you shouldn’t use WordPress

You shouldn’t use WordPress if you have a very large site, one that would require a more sophisticated CMS such as Drupal or Joomla, or if you have a very small site.

Solutions such as Jekyll or Stasis might suit your tastes just fine for a smaller site that has some boilerplate repetition. These are great in that they convert your code into static HTML pages–meaning fast load times and no databases, while still allowing for scalability as you add content.