By: Kimberly McCormick – Bayshore Solutions Corporate Marketing Team

As the Corporate Marketing Director, tasked with communicating the messaging around our services and capabilities,  I was recently able to listen to some client services stories that helped me better understand the difference in custom developed websites and open source website platforms (like WordPress for example) from a marketing cost and business risk standpoint.

When researching/shopping for website providers, a typical Marketing Director (who is charged with their company’s Web presence and performance) will encounter a significant price difference between an open source web platform and a custom designed and developed website.  Open source solutions do cost less.  So what are some of the things you get for the premium price of a custom developed website?  Let me share these “Lessons-learned” stories to illustrate one differentiating aspect…security.

Bayshore Solutions was approached with desperate pleas for help from 2 organizations whose open source websites had been infected by viruses. The infestation had not only hijacked the content showing on their websites, but had rapidly spread to those companies’ customers and potential customers visiting their websites. In addition, their search engine rankings were damaged – to the point that Google, Bing and Yahoo all put up warning flags on search results for their websites communicating, “Caution this website is virus-Infected!”  This situation is a corporate marketer’s worst nightmare.  Imagine how this was ruining their target customer goodwill and confidence, their SEO clout, and bringing their hard-won online marketing progress to its knees.

In both cases, our team was able to determine that the cause of the security breach was in open-source plug-ins to their website platforms that were either left vulnerable at the code level by presumably inexperienced open source developers, or were the intentional creations of malicious programmers who can easily use the open source arena to wreak havoc.  In both cases, the victim company’s first indication of trouble came too late – after infection and damage had occurred. And there was really no one for the companies to contact for remedy and support at the open source web platform.

Contrast this with a custom developed website, not utilizing open source and hosted with Bayshore Solutions.  In this hosting scenario, when we detect injection attempts and attacks, we are often able to proactively stop them, and we are able to proactively alert our customers about ongoing threats, before damage and further infection spreads. In addition, we are here in-person to support the ongoing health and welfare of our customers websites.  In the development aspect, the source code of a custom website is not “Open” and any application integrations are selected, vetted and managed through our developers and project managers.  This gives our customers better security and control of their website, as a key driving force in their market share and business growth.

Yes, a custom solution costs more. However in the customer cases above, even after detection, quarantine and elimination of that particular open source security breach, the companies are still not recovered to pre-attack market position, and the cost to those businesses of repairing the damage, lost customer confidence, and search marketing deterioration has far outweighed the price benefit of their open source decision.

That said, open source solutions like WordPress are not all bad, (We are using WordPress with this corporate blog you are reading right now) and an expert Web partner with processes in place to protect against the security risks associated with open source solutions can help mitigate your exposure. However, your expert partner’s ongoing time will have a price tag in addition to the open source platform package.

When choosing the Web partner and Web platform that your will rely on to deliver the returns for your digital investment, this is an example of the deeper cost-benefit factors that might not be readily apparent, but are decision-dynamics that a smart marketer should consider.

Bayshore Solutions offers an “Envision” consulting service that can help you identify your business’s unique web requirements, and thoroughly address this and other dynamics that will help you make your most intelligent Web investment to grow your business.


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