WordPress is pretty awesome. You can build things quickly (and cost-effectively). There are other site builders out there that reduce website build time to weeks rather than months, but I find that WordPress is pretty tried and tested. There is an abundance of plugins and widgets to cover pretty much all bases and many are free. The ones you pay for are often cost a tiny percentage of what it would be to build using a development team. Most ad-ons are robust, reviewed and updated, and built responsively so they work an all devices. Some work hand-in-hand with others and if you get stuck there are many developers out there to help. Most devs I have worked with over the last 25 years have all championed WordPress because it is open source and super-flexible.
But, it isn’t for everybody. You still need some knowledge to get it working, but one web developer (or designer) can do a lot on their own. A recent project shown here was for a medieval jousting festival. The owner had hired an agency to build a site to sell tickets online which could be used to enter the event. The agency decided to build it themselves, from scratch. Now, lets look at the requirements:
- Buy a ticket or multiple tickets for specific dates
- Purchase add-ons
- Pay by PayPal or debit card
- Create and email digital tickets with QR codes for entrance to the festival
- Have the ticket scanned and confirmed at the gate and fed back into the system for reporting
- Ability to offer refunds
- Manage ticket stock
- Offer discounts
- And more
After a number of months it didn’t transpire and I assume the project ran out of budget. I’m not going to blame the agency here. Maybe it was a problem with the original brief or just an enthusiastic team. Development can get hard, particularly if you haven’t built a specific system before. I have been there many times in the past, with projects going over budget and scope creeping out of control. Development is expensive and shouldn’t be underestimated.
After the project was referred to me, I realised there was a desperate need to deliver the project quickly for a reasonable cost. The festival was in 6 months. I brought in reliable support from a partner, IDS logic, and in around 2 weeks we’d fixed their old site to take online bookings and built and launched a brand new one 6 weeks later. How did we do it? With WordPress plugins and 3rd party apps.
For ticketing I used FooEvents which builds on the WooCommerce shopping functionality – a popular extension for WordPress. It delivered all the functionality required, and even included an iPhone app to scan tickets. It’s worth noting that although there’s an annual fee for Foo Events, you get updates, improvements and support. And if it doesn’t work exactly as you want? Well, there are other plugins out there, or you could spend a lot of money with a development team.
- Poster artwork
- Web design
- WordPress development