As a business owner, you dream of having an attractive website for your business, but it’s easy to run into a lot of problems when trying to achieve this. Issues might include things like which website design company is the best to use, how much will the website cost, and whether it will be delivered on time. In addition, choosing the right platform is also a challenging task. In this article, we’re going to take a detailed look at two viable platforms, WordPress and Bootstrap. Hopefully, by the end of it, this will be one area that has been clarified in your quest for the perfect business website!
What is WordPress?
In the simplest terms, WordPress is an open-source Content Management System (or CMS) for short.
Since the launch of WordPress back in October of 2003, when the first version of WordPress was released, its popularity has soared with millions now using WordPress to build dynamic and modern websites which are designed to withstand the stress and strains of the modern market.
There are several features of WordPress that set it apart from its competitors, with one of the primary attractions being it’s not only free to use but incredibly user-friendly. WordPress allows you to design, launch and maintain your website via a single login with nothing to download to your computer. All that is needed to get up and running is a domain name and hosting. You don’t even need to be a design expert as there are thousands of pre-built designs (called themes) which can be used to help you create your perfect website. In reality, you could launch a brand new website in a matter of hours, even with minimal experience which is pretty impressive!
What is Bootstrap?
Bootstrap is an entirely different type of web design tool than WordPress and, despite what you might read online, is primarily designed to appeal to those who want to work directly with code to build a website but who need a bit of a helping hand in doing so. The official Bootstrap website describes it as ‘The most popular HTML, CSS, and JS framework for developing responsive, mobile-first projects on the web.’.
One way of thinking of this is a bit like a toolkit that has lots of pre-made components ready to go that can be used to build a responsive website. It’s a powerful framework that can save a web designer tens if not hundreds of hours when creating a new website.
WordPress vs Bootstrap
There can definitely be a lot of confusion with those new to web design when it comes to WordPress and Bootstrap and this is often because some designers use Bootstrap to build themes that then run on WordPress. That doesn’t mean however that the two platforms have to be used alongside each other, rather that they are complementary tools for those who want both a CMS and high levels of control over the design of their website. Let’s take a look at a few points in order to hopefully further understand the differences between each.
1. Ease of use
Despite being the most powerful and flexible platform out there, WordPress is also regarded as one of the easiest to use platforms.
Rather than having a complicated dashboard, it comes with a simple sidebar with different menu options available. With easy-to-use tools for creating posts and pages, you can easily customize the look of your website, add navigation menus, and more.
All of this can be done with absolutely no coding experience (or the need to ever go near code) which is fantastic, especially if you’re a beginner at website design.
Bootstrap, unlike WordPress has a pretty steep learning curve as you need to know you’re way around code (and a code editor) from the get go. To be able to use Bootstrap you must know all the available CSS classes within Bootstrap, but also how these classes are accessed by the Bootstrap components. In addition, you will need to spend some time experimenting with and getting used to the grid system. I believe it goes without saying that Bootstrap’s excellent documentation goes a long way in assisting you along the learning process, and once you’re comfortable with it, you won’t need much time to learn the newer versions of the code.
If you have no knowledge of coding, you will find WordPress is super flexible when it comes to making your website come to life with a ton of options available to help you customize the design and function of your website. WordPress themes often have their own specific customization options which mean you can style your website to a point where it’s close to unique without having to employ the skills of a web designer. Where you find that a theme doesn’t allow a certain customization you can almost always get around this by either using a plugin to achieve a design look or add a function, or, you can dive into the code and make more in-depth changes there.
The Bootstrap framework allows you to create a totally new website from scratch which means you can build your website to your exact specs from the ground up.
This ultimate level of control means there is in reality no limit to what you can build as there isn’t an overarching framework/system you have to work within (as is the case with WordPress). So, although the skills required are significantly more extensive to use Bootstrap, in theory, your only limit is your imagination. Winner: Bootstrap
WordPress code is written in a way that ensures it can be easily ‘read’ by search engines. Every page, post, and image on a website can have its own meta tag keywords, descriptions, and titles, and can be optimized for specific keywords, providing the ability to be very precise when it comes to search engine optimization. The hallmark of usability that defines WordPress extends in this regard to SEO optimization which helps make what can be a tricky task that bit easier.
Because of the manual nature of coding a Bootstrap website, you’ll have to not only have the know-how when it comes to coding SEO-friendly pages but will need to pour in that much more effort when optimizing these pages. As such, if you build a website with Bootstrap it’s well worth making the effort to ensure your site is as SEO friendly as possible as you go through the design and build process, rather than leaving it to the end.
As we’ve discussed, WordPress is pretty user-friendly straight out of the box which makes it ideal for beginners. But, no matter what your level of experience, you’ll likely have questions about how to do something in WordPress along the way and, in this regard, WordPress is truly brilliant with a vast network of support available to you. This support comes in multiple guises, such as ‘paid for’ support from WordPress experts right through to a treasure trove of information on forums and in blog posts. Whatever your WordPress problem you’ll be pretty much guaranteed to find the answer to it somewhere online!
There is no doubt that Bootstrap offers an impressive support community with an agile response time and online support for problems and queries. Along with extensive examples which can really help point you in the right direction, Bootstrap also offers great documentation for developers.
5. Plugins for customization
There is no doubt that plugins are the backbone of this platform. With the assistance of plugins, users can customize and enhance the functionality of the site and add features and functionalities as desired. Installing a plugin will be the only thing that is needed to be done in order to add a new feature to your site. It would be an understatement to say that the library of available plugins for WordPress is extensive… odds are, no matter the requirement, you’ll be able to find a suitable plugin to help!
Bootstrap itself comes bundled with a range of plugins to help you design the perfect website. In addition, there are a number of third-party plugins available on marketplaces like Code Canyon which can be incorporated into your Bootstrap website. Just don’t expect to find as many options available to you as you would for WordPress.
WordPress websites are not necessarily mobile-friendly straight out of the box. Whether or not they work well on a mobile (or a tablet etc.) will very much depend on the theme used and how well this has been designed for mobile use.
Bootstrap is a ‘mobile first’ framework which means the mobile experience should be excellent for all websites designed using Bootstrap. Given the importance of having a mobile-friendly website in this day and age, this is a major plus point when it comes to using Bootstrap to design your website.
Wrapping it up
Whether to use Bootstrap or WordPress may not be the right question. I think in the end, it comes down to how you want to develop your site and why you want to develop it. WordPress is an excellent tool for anyone who wants to get up and running quickly, with minimal start-up costs and minimal knowledge of the underlying language.
For those who value absolute control over ease of use (from a web design perspective) then Bootstrap could be the best solution. You’ll just need to be happy working in code and accept that what might be a minor tweak in WordPress could take longer in Bootstrap.
Both systems are free to use which is brilliant and allows you to try without having to spend a penny. So, if in doubt, give them both a go!
About our Guest Author: Rids Vazirani has been working with WPWeb since Jan 2019 as Content Manager. He is a passionate content writer and has a love for WordPress so he spends a significant amount of time writing about it.