I have a question that requires a bit of a long introduction.
For the past 5 years, I have been building custom websites with WordPress. I feel very comfortable with WordPress as a system, but I do not like the direction it is headed towards. It aspires to be more and more of a no code platform, which generally results in making things easier for non-developers, but harder for people like me who do know PHP and build bespoke websites.
So I have come to the conclusion that the reason I’m still using WordPress is not WordPress itself. It’s the huge ecosystem around it that has kept me on board until now. The ecosystem makes it very easy (and therefore cheap) to add value to my customers’ business. They want a form? I install Gravity Forms and it can do anything they need. They want a store? I install WooCommerce. And so on. I know the ecosystem also has it drawbacks, but generally, I feel it’s very useful for my customers.
I feel very much attracted to Kirby as a system. Kirby seems to be made for people like me. In itself, I like it much more than WordPress. But its much smaller ecosystem has so far kept me from actually using it for clients. The amount of ready-made solutions is much lower in the Kirby world, which means I will have to build much more stuff myself. It’s not that I don’t like that, actually quite the opposite, I like to build things. But will I still be able to deliver the same value to clients within the same price and time range if I switch from WP to Kirby?
I imagine I’m not the first one to switch from WordPress to Kirby. I’m curious if anyone would be so kind as to share their experiences in this area.
Welcome to the community. I am long time Kirby user building sites for clients such of yourself. Kirby is more of a very powerful, very flexible framework for crafting sites and has a lot of power and flexibility under the hood. You can actually get along way just with the built in features of Kirby - this isn’t a “oh there’s a plugin for that” kind of system, it requires a different way of thinking.
Speaking from my own experience as a person who releases plugins - most of mine have come out of a need on a clients site and if its something im likely to use on more than one projects, i’ve turned it into a plugin and made it publicly available. For the most part, Kirby already has a lot of what i need under the hood to get the job done, but sometimes it makes sense to wrap that code up into a site or page method and put it in a plugin that i can use again on another project.
My best advice is just try it. Take a clients site that you have built in the past and have a go at building it again on Kirby. The community here is utterly awesome and we will help you get over any blockers you run into.
To answer your question regarding offering value for clients - I once set out to build a project on WordPress at the clients request, and after 2 weeks of not getting far, I started again using Kirby. The site was done in a couple of days. Its a very fast system to build with.
You will have a lot of fun, I promise
I was a WordPress user for a couple of sites for years. WP is what you said, a vast ecosystem, a plugin for everything. It is what non-developers want/need.
But there were three main reasons I needed something else which turned out to be Kirby.
- Cost. $50 for a theme, $100 for plugins. That is $150 yearly.
- Plugins that end up abandoned or have security issues.
- Even when you find reasonable plugins, they are never exactly what I want.
So there were two options, learn how to change or build my own themes/plugins for WP or find something completely different. I opted for the latter.
Kirby is great, it has most of what you need already baked in but doesn’t actually force anything on you. Basic frontend, basic backend then it’s up to you to decide what more you want to add depending on your needs.
There is a lot to be said for simplicity and convenience if you want something like a blog, woo commerce store and so on. WP is probably a better or at least simpler option.
As noted above the best thing to do is try Kirby, build something see where it takes you and determine how good a fit it is for you.
Really appreciate you have taken the time to answer my question. As both of you suggest, I think it is time for me to just try and build a project with Kirby, maybe an old one, I don’t know yet. Just need to find the time to actually do it