Web design for the digitally disinterested

(AKA: “maybe WordPress doesn’t suit everybody”)

We’d argue the case that you should be using WordPress because of open-source standards, mobile-optimisation, support, security & scaling and guaranteed long-term adoption. And we’d be right, of sorts. If you cared.

These are all admirable, providing an irrefutable argument that concludes with “… and therefore you’d have to be a complete idiot not to use WordPress for the next iteration of your web-site”.


Not all clients understand or even buy-in to moral/ethical standpoints of Open Source. Some don’t care about support or even security. These are the digital-disinterested types. The web is not core, or even a serious part of what they do. They “just want a site”.

They’re used to using amateurs, bartering know-how for favours. They wouldn’t dream of paying “a bloke in designer jeans” £150 an hour to develop a digital strategy.

For them, they want to have a site, without writing a line of code or learning a complex platform. And yes, WordPress can acquire complexity due to its extensible nature and plugin architecture.

What they crave is an online solution so that non-webby folks and designers can bring any design to life and with a click of a button, and publish a website with a friendly CMS (for managing the content).

True, a well curated WordPress installation running a small number of tightly managed plugins, probably running JetPack would do the trick, but so would a million other solutions.

For them, there is a long list of potential solutions and answers, including:

  • Webydo. Very simple web site design and build, without having to code. Unlimited pages and well received for about a fiver a month, what’s not to like
  • 1 & 1 Business. For a tenner a month and a couple of hours to get started you’ll have a slick site with access to some nice features.
  • Google Sites. We all trust Google (should we really?) so for free they’ll give you a basic site. If you use any of their premium Apps services you’ll get a bit more for your £5 pmpp cost. Basic templating that plays remarkably well with other service. Not the prettiest, mind.
  • Weebly. Nice modern and easy to build simple websites without knowing anything about coding or design. A fiver per month gets you going, £15 and you get a super-sexy online store
  • WordPress.com. A fiver a month spent with WordPress gets you a very basic looking site but with serious credentials. Only supplied direct via WordPress.com but does get you into the platform used by the big boys, albeit in a small way

A fiver a month actually gets you a long way. It doesn’t provide you with real-world help nor a turnkey solution, but the FAQ and video sections are quite good. It also doesn’t provide the gamut of additional services the more serious organisations need.

Hellfire, it’s a fiver a month and they do a pretty good job too. If your world changes and you become digitally interested, then you can always migrate onto a more serious platform.

Me? I’d pick the WordPress.com service, pay a bloke in cheap jeans to write the words at £40 an hour and use a design student to choose a free theme and font, pay her/him in vodka. Sorted, a website for a lot less than £500.

By Mike Montford de Lys, Platform Strategy Consultants