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When is comes to discussing the price of anything the phrases ‘you get what you pay for’, ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch’ and ‘if it’s too good to be true, it probably is’ are commonplace. The widespread use of such phrases in this context does show that lots of people support these axioms: the more you spend, the better something is.

However, with the proliferation of open–source content management systems (or CMSs) such as WordPress (a blogging platform),  Joomla (a content publishing platform) and osCommerce (an eCommerce platform) it is possible to use one of these free platforms to power your website—as opposed to paying a web designer/developer to create a bespoke one from scratch. And contrary to the above beliefs, some people regard these free options as suitable platforms to power their websites. I’m not convinced this is a good idea.

While I am not against the use of such programs (this very blog post is powered by WordPress) I do think you should consider these points before deciding whether to use them or not:

It’s not actually free is it?

Even if you do use a ‘free’ option, you still need to pay a web professional to customise the look and functionality for you. Generally speaking, this would be much quicker—and cheaper—than doing it from scratch. But what if you ask the web person to add a feature that turns out to be very difficult (or even impossible) to implement? If you’re paying by the hour, it could prove costly.

Does one size really fit all?

Open–source CMSs try to be all things to all people; the result is that they please most of the people most of the time. If you’re serious about having a successful website, wouldn’t it be better to go the extra mile from square one and get a website uniquely tailored to your business’s needs? If your chosen CMS doesn’t fit your business model you’re going to have to compromise somewhere down the line.


In the future, your website will grow with your business. What if you need a brand new feature in a couple of years’ time and your CMS doesn’t support it? You wouldn’t want to cap the growth of your business so why do the same with your website?

Lack of support

Every open–source software license I can think of comes without warranty. So, if something goes wrong no one is accountable. It’s easy for your web designer to say “Well, I never programmed it that way!” Conversely, with a bespoke project, you developer is on hand should you need him or her.

Once again I’ll say, I’m not against open-source CMSs. They are useful for some individuals and smaller businesses. Also, some of them can be used in moderation to enhance the rest of your site (like this blog for example). But for a truly successful website I recommend you go down the bespoke route (almost) every time. Yes, you do ‘get what you pay for’.

For further help deciding how to power your website, get a free quote online of call me now on 07843 483 078 and ask for Tim.

Tim Bennett is a web designer and developer. He has a First Class Honours degree in Computing from Leeds Metropolitan University and currently runs his own one-man web design company, Texelate.