Which to choose – WordPress or custom code for blog website

Which to choose – WordPress or custom code for blog website

Post by: Niraj Dhungana

Posted on: Nov 15, 2021

#Full Stack# WordPress

There is a very simple and cost effective way to create a blog or any kind of website and that is WordPress.

But if you are a programmer, I am especially asking web developers. Then creating your personal website using WordPress may hurt your or someone else's ego.

When I was first learning web development. I used to visit other programmers' blogs or personal websites and I used to open the source code to check whether the website was built with wordpress or not.

For me, if I had got a url ending with wp-content it was meh and if I didn't I would think oh he/she really is a programmer.

Do not panic, that was my past. Now I don’t do that because I understand the logic behind why people choose WordPress over custom coding. Even though they are programmers.

Tip: Do not search on my website. It's built on Next JS, MongoDB, Cloudinary and some other stuff.

What is WordPress?

I know - I know, you already know what WordPress is? You just want to know what to use for your personal blog: WordPress or your custom coding skills?

But the answer is not that simple because according to the Wikipedia ”WordPress is used by 42.8% of the top 10 million websites as of October 2021”. Remember what it is saying, “from top 10 million websites".

Why is that because that’s a lot of users, right?

WordPress is a free and open source CMS (content management system) written in php and paired with a MySQL or MariaDB database. And that is not the best thing about it.

The best thing about WordPress is. It’s a plug and play game because of its plugin architecture.

You can simply go to a hosting provider and buy a hosting plan and a domain. Most of the time they come in combo offers. Then you can install WordPress themes and a bunch of free plugins to make any kind of website.

You can create a simple blog website, e-commerce, information dense website or any kind of website that you can think of. That’s it, you don’t need to worry about anything more than just buying a hosting and a domain.

What is custom coding?

Like we already discussed above WordPress is just a plug and play game. Which anyone can play by watching some YouTube tutorials. But on the other hand custom coding websites are not like that.

You need to code everything by hand when you want to go with custom coding. Like here we are talking about the personal blog website so lets use the same example.

There are lots of things which you need to be clear about while you want to custom code your blog website.

Like are you going to just add one or two static blog posts inside your website or you want to write updated blog posts all the time?

Are you going to add digital assets to your websites like images and videos or you just want to use some text? Do you want your website to be scalable or not?

And yes, all of these things matter when you want to create a blog website with custom coding.

Why do I care about all these things?

It’s a good question. WordPress has been here since 2003 which is 18 years at the time I am writing this post. It’s a good amount of time for any software to flourish.

With WordPress you don’t need to worry about the frontend, backend, database, cloud storage or anything like that. It has all the things you will need from start to finish.

But on the other hand when you want to create your own personal blog website using custom coding. You need to write everything from scratch like.

How do you want your website to look (frontend)? How and where you are going to store your blog posts (database) or media files like images and videos (cloud storage) for those blog posts.

WYSIWYG editor will hurt you

Not just that you need to code all the tiny things as well like where you are going to write your post (a text editor)? And I am sure adding a text editor where you will have all the features.

Like bold, italic, code, blockquote, insert link, videos or image and other necessary things. This will not be an easy thing for you. I am saying this from my own experience.

Because a good wysiwyg editor (text editor) comes with a price and to be honest even though you pay them they are not as good as the WordPress block or classic editor.

By the way if you don’t know WYSIWYG stands for “what you see is what you get”.

Difference between custom code vs WordPress

You will get lots of free themes for wordpress and now you are done with your frontend. You can directly start to write posts with videos, images or embedded YouTube videos. You can use freely available plugins to customize your website.

But here you need to write code on your own for every bit of space or color that you want as your frontend. You need to purchase cloud storage where you are going to store all the media files.

Also you need to write a backend where you are going to put the puzzle pieces together. So, that your readers will get the finished product. Also a hosting where you can host your backend code.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Don’t forget the most important thing if you are creating a blog website is SEO. SEO is a necessity for your website to come on search results. It is a whole new topic where I can write another 2000 word blog post.

As a programmer it is your responsibility to find out how you are going to do the SEO in your custom coded website. Inside WordPress it is just another plugin which you can install for free.

Now after reading this post you may feel like I am writing this post to sell you guys a WordPress subscription. But I am just showing you guys the reality. You need to be prepared for all those obstacles which we talk about above. If you want to create a custom blog website.

There are also some other alternatives like Ghost, Contentful or other headless CMS providers but hey again you are using the other people's code with extra money.

What do I suggest?

I write all the good and bad things above but still it is not clear what to use WordPress or custom coding? Now let me conclude everything with my own experiences.

My very first website was built on WordPress. At that time I didn’t know anything called programming. But when I found out WordPress is not just a single option to create websites.

I started learning HTML, CSS, JavaScript and a whole lot of other goodies. After that I always wanted to create my own blog website with features like WordPress. Which never happened. Because WordPress is huge.

But I realized I don’t need the entire WordPress. The thing that I only want is to create a blogging site where I can write. With images and some text decorations options and yes SEO also.

The website on which you are currently reading this post is the result of that dream. But the journey from there (zero) to here was so painful and enjoyable at the same time.

Because I am a self taught programmer and I learned a lot of things from front to back while creating this website. After all, it was my dream come true moment.

Conclusion of everything: if you think you want to learn while creating your own website, if you are ready to be frustrated with errors and want a little happiness after days of hustle and bustle to solve that error. Go with a custom website.

Also keep in mind creating and maintaining a custom website is not easy and cost effective. It will cost you a lot compared to WordPress websites.

You need a domain, hosting to host your backend, cloud storage like AWS, Google Cloud or Cloudinary. And the most important thing you need to know how put them all together.

Also you may think we don't need all these things we can store everything inside a single directory with the help of file system. Then you will face a difficulty if you want to scale in future.

You can find out here: how I made a complete custom professional website for free?

If you don’t want to become frustrated all the time until you make your website live. If you just want a website to put out your thoughts as a blog post then go with WordPress.