Almost every website and blog we deliver is built on WordPress. Needless to say, we like WordPress a lot. Based upon our experiences, I'd like to give you some things to think about before plunging headlong to bringing up a WordPress-based website.
One of the things that makes WordPress so attractive is the almost infinite supply of nice-looking themes. It's very tempting to browse the WordPress theme websites, find a nice, theme, buy, it, and presto you have a website.
In some cases that's OK. If you have zero money, installing WordPress and a $39 theme will get you on the Internet with a website that you are at least not going to be ashamed of. And once in a while you'll discover a stock off-the-shelf theme that absolutely nails it for your business.
Most of our clients however are beyond the stage of financing their startup with the grocery money. We want their websites to convey that they are a step above their competitors. While occassionally you can do that with an off-the-shelf theme, more often some custom design work is necessary to achieve that goal.
Another hazard of using an off-the-shelf theme: Your website will look exactly like someone else's.
There is a second reason why we like WordPress: Custom Content Management. Some of the under-the-hood functionality incorporated into recent releases of WordPress - like custom post types, custom taxonomies, featured images, etc - allow us to create a website that is tailored to your business.
For example, we delivered a website for a local automobile dealership:
When the site admin wants to add a new automobile listing to the website, she essentially clicks on a "New List" command. Up pops a form containing all the automotive-specific details (make, model, year, mileage, etc). When she clicks save it will be published to the website immediately. Visitors can display the inventory and search for specific cars. The point is that a little bit of time and money spent on custom development will reap rewards for years to come.
A Final Caution:
Many older themes have not been updated to take advantage of some of WordPress' best new features. For example, Menu administration was drastically overhauled in version 3.0. The new menu administration panel allows you to easily add items to the menubar, rearrange the menubar, etc. Themes designed prior to WordPress 3.0 do not contain support for this new functionality, resulting - in many cases - to an inability to make the menubar match your needs.
Not Exactly About WordPress, But...
Your website should be more than a pretty face. Your website should make your target audience say, "I want that!". This reaction usually doesn't happen by itself. Some research and customer-interviews are almost always necessary to get the branding, positioning, and message just right in order to provoke this reaction. We use our Buyer Highway proprietary framework to accomplish this, and there are also a few other people around the country with similar skills in leveraging Buyer Personas that can accomplish the same thing.