Over 23% of the web is built on WordPress and another massive percentage of the web is built on content management software like Squarespace, Drupal, Magento, Shopify, Joomla, and other CMS platforms. According to Builtwith, over 65% of the top fifteen million websites are built with a CMS. Simply put, most websites are not “websites” but software manipulated to be a website. Software is “eating the world” as the famous quote by Marc Andreessen goes from 2011, and it is now eating all websites.
Gone are the days of simple HTML and CSS websites that could be considered just a website, not a software. Even websites that do not use a formal content management system like WordPress are potentially using an MVC framework like Laravel or Ruby on Rails in which there is most likely a software like backend experience.
Why do websites need to be a software? Well, a software is a much more efficient way to expand, operate, and grow a successful website for a blog, business or any other type of purpose. It allows your business to potentially manage content, product data, and other tasks in an admin panel that will drastically speed up the efficiency and usefulness of the website compared to a website that is not built as a software. Additionally the software architecture of the webiste should make it more efficient to add new features compared to a non software oriented website.
Why is it so important for businesses and people in general to start viewing websites more as software than as websites? Well, when you think about software you think about complex computational interactions programmed by computer scientists who are both smart and extremely talented high paying individuals. That is exactly what your WordPress or other type of software powered website is.
Software Requires Highly Skilled Labor
The people behind WordPress, Automaticc, are amazing software engineers who have built a brilliantly simple, but also scalable and sophisticated piece of web software. You just happen to get to use it for free because they made it free and open source to the entire world. Therefore most people view a WordPress website as cheap, easy and not complicated. In many ways, this could not be further from the truth. Having this view on your website can be dangerous for your business because as you try to scale and grow your website you may not be anticipating or properly budgeting for the level of expertise required to maintain and grow a software.
For instance, if you are paying for a software as a service like Squarespace or Shopify you must know what its strengths and weaknesses are and whether those are a good fit for your business. Additionally, if you are using an open source software like WordPress, you should have a plan for who is going to update the core software, theme, and plugins so that it does not get breached or become obsolete from lack of maintenance and version upgrades.
By thinking about your website as a software tool, not just a “website” you will be thinking about how it can become an increasingly useful software for your business. A software can have users, take payments, schedule events, provide exclusive content and information as well as provide many other useful business tools. However, to get this type of value you need to invest in it like any other software which can be expensive and time consuming.
Highly Skilled Labor is Not Cheap
Having a software mentality about your website versus the more traditional “website” mentality will help your business properly plan and budget more realistically for what it will take to make your website (software) a better and more useful tool for your company. Employing just one average software engineer in Boston will cost approximately $85,000. So if you expect one full time developer to work on your website for an entire year, you can see how it can get expensive quickly. Therefore having the software mentality around your website will help you properly prepare for the appropriate costs that are required to support it.