Clutch spoke with Joe Egan, the Founder of Transfuture, about WordPress– one of the most popular options to consider when looking to build a website.
Introduce your business and what you do there.
I’m a founder at Transfuture. We’re a Brooklyn-based digital design agency specializing in brand and web development, including UI/UX design, and how all of those things apply to the web. Our work spans all sectors from cultural nonprofits, large corporate entities, boutique B2B consultancies, startups, and so on.
What are the typical challenges clients will have when contacting you about building a website?
This is a tricky question to answer, given that there are so many factors at play. But in my experience, most of our clients approach us for the same handful of reasons: they’re looking for people who are genuinely interested in learning about their business, innovating on their behalf, and applying their creative expertise to telling their story in a way that they find difficult to do on their own.
These are all common business challenges: finding a team that is capable of delivering, one that is sincere and empathizes with priorities, and one that can deliver within budget and on time.
Are there any factors that you think people need to consider before choosing a platform?
One of our most important responsibilities when making technology recommendations is ensuring that our client won’t find themselves cornered by it down the road. There are many terrific platforms out their, but if it becomes hard to find a developer or if it becomes inordinately expensive to maintain — or get out of — it’s not in our client’s best interest. So for this reason, it’s not surprising that our instinct is to recommend the most mainstream solutions available. In most cases, that’s WordPress.
Could you provide us an introduction into WordPress—what it is and what makes it stand out from other platforms?
WordPress is an open-source publishing tool for the web, which began as a blog-publishing tool. Because of its ease of use and other factors, it experienced an ever-increasing rate of acquisition, and this resulted in a network effect, whereby a large userbase and programming scene grew around it. It’s an open-source platform that quickly evolved into the world’s most popular CMS.
As a result of so many people contributing to it, there has been a network effect that has resulted into WordPress’ vast plug-in technology. It went from being a blog-publishing tool to an enterprise-level CMS.
There has been some misunderstanding around this, with people thinking that WordPress is just for blogs, and that it can’t be used to build elaborate websites.
Are there any companies or persons that would be an ideal client for WordPress?
A better question might be “Who isn’t an ideal WordPress user?”, as that is a narrower, more interesting vertical. In our clients’ sphere, most B2B businesses are ideal candidates. Larger, more complex entities certainly can be as well—Bloomberg, New York Times. I mean, even Beyoncé uses it.
The only off case that sticks out is due to WordPress having a legacy reputation for security holes. Were I the owner of the cybersecurity firm, I might not use WordPress, if only for PR purposes. Is there a rational reason for this? Probably not.
Are there any ways of ensuring that a WordPress site is secure?
Is it necessary that a company or individual have a technical background or general technical knowledge in order to operate a WordPress site?
An editor or beginner admin can do a lot without much specialized experience. There are also endless online learning resources available. That said, there is definitely a need for expertise in order to actually build a WordPress site.
Are there any special or unique offerings within WordPress?
I would mention the general ease of use along with the platform’s plug-in technology. Clients with budgets of under $100,000 usually aren’t looking to spend a lot of money on programming. They will want to spend it on creative thinking, logic, strategy, messaging—the things that people will see. WordPress offers a great way to add functionality to sites without breaking the bank.
Are there any services which haven't performed up to your expectations, or is there any tool which you'd like to see implemented within WordPress?
There is a general consensus that the user interface doesn’t win any beauty awards. It still has high marks for usability, and the interface becomes familiar quickly. This is what I look for in almost any interface. I can be picky, but I don’t have too many strong criticisms for WordPress.
Is it costlier to build a basic website versus an enterprise-level one? Where might we start to incur more costs when building a WordPress site?
Functionality definitely plays a big role in assessing project scope and budget. Custom e-commerce functionality, user accounts, multiple user types that have to be designed for, these are the types of things that affect the project scope.
Audience is another factor. An investment firm may only make 6 transactions in a successful year. In a case like that, brand and messaging is most important to them, but, functionality, not so much. Whereas a media client targeting a mass audience will have different priorities. We’re designing for a lot more chaos in the second case, basically.
Have you had interactions with any of their support team or support resources?
In 9 out of 10 cases, the community will be sufficient. Between that and the online resources available, it’s typically enough. Everything is transparent with WordPress, so getting answers isn’t too difficult.
Do you have any additional comments regarding WordPress or choosing an agency?
I believe that we basically covered WordPress. In terms of choosing an agency, it can be a personal decision for a lot of companies. Some clients want to work with large agencies, while others prefer a more intimate relationship that builds over time. It varies on a case-by-case basis.
We have five additional questions. For each of these, we ask that you rate WordPress on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best score.
How would you rate WordPress for its functionality and available features?
4.5 – There is room for improvement in everything.
How would you rate WordPress for ease of use and ease of implementation?
3 – From a layperson’s perspective. We can use WooCommerce or Shopify to build an online store, with Shopify being a simpler choice for someone just getting their feet wet.
I would rate WordPress 4 or 5 from a developer’s perspective.
How would you rate WordPress for support, as in the response of their team, and the helpfulness of available resources online?
5 – The communities and support forums are usually enough to get us where we need to go.
How likely are you to recommend WordPress to a friend or colleague?
5 – I’ve recommended it to my father.
How would you rate WordPress for overall satisfaction with the platform?
5 – It’s very powerful.