As you’re probably well aware, WordPress is kind of a big deal when it comes to the internet, websites and the platforms they are built and run on. Perhaps unsurprisingly it’s something that WordPress takes great delight in shouting about in their own marketing – you’ve no doubt seen the proud proclamation before that 25% of the internet is run using WordPress.
Despite the fact that when WordPress first came to prominence it was primarily known as a blogging platform – and the new activity of blogging was very much a personal thing at that time – it didn’t take long for the power of WordPress as a website content management system (CMS) to be noticed by businesses. Soon enough more and more businesses began to consider, plan and make migrations to WordPress from their previous (usually entirely bespoke built) websites.
Today then, the WordPress footprint on the internet very much extends to business websites as well, and while competitors old and new – Joomla, Squarespace and Wix to name just a few – continue to front up and challenge in the business website space, there’s no doubt that WordPress continues to be the preeminent CMS on the market. Indeed, there’s never anything bad about a little bit of competition and these alternative products are one of the factors that ensures WordPress continues to develop in functionality and depth of configurability.
Of course, when any player or product in a market achieves this kind of dominance, it will also acquire its fair share of detractors to go with it and WordPress is no exception on this front. In web development world it seems you either love WordPress or you dismiss it with a tut of disdain, wondering how anyone could select the platform if they’ve heard the horror stories about it.
Here at Fourgreenleaves Marketing? Well, we’re firmly in the “love it” camp and this is for two main reasons – we know we can trust WordPress as a platform to build beautiful websites with AND we consider most of the aforementioned horror stories to actually be myths or simply a result of people not properly understanding WordPress.
Now we’re not going to make a statement like that and not back it up, so let’s take a look at some of the most common criticisms of WordPress and the reason why we consider them myths that should really be ignored. We’ll kick off with one we’ve touched on already:
WordPress is only a blogging platform
Yes, WordPress was originally designed for blogging, but you know what they say about small acorns right(?), and the WordPress CMS is now so much more than the platform it started out as. If WordPress hadn’t evolved since those initial days then quite simply, it wouldn’t still be around.
This evolution has been so wide-ranging and sustained that today it’s no exaggeration to say that thousands and thousands of successful brand, corporate and eCommerce websites are built on the WordPress platform. It most definitely is not, and hasn’t for quite some time been, just for blogging. This is a full-featured CMS capable of supporting websites of just about any size, form or function out there.
WordPress is free and there’s got to be a reason for that!
Well, where to start with this one? OK, yes, in a sense WordPress is free but the first thing to say is that this doesn’t automatically make something rubbish, especially with a wealth of top quality technology being provided on an open source basis nowadays.
Now, with that dealt with, the next thing to point out is that while WordPress.com is free, its bigger brother WordPress.org is not, and the two really should not be confused. When you build a website on WordPress.com, you are building a site hosted on WordPress servers and that sits on a WordPress sub-domain. It’s also relatively inflexible and limited in what can be done with, and plugged in to,the website. So there you go, there’s your free WordPress website, and as you first suspected, there is indeed a reason that it is free.
Building a website on WordPress.org is different because this is where you take the WordPress website platform in all of its glory and host it on a third party server. Now that you’ve sorted your own hosting out, you’ve also opened up a wealth of possibilities for your site, possibilities underpinned by the full breadth of WordPress functionality and which will really make your site just that, YOURS!
You now have the freedom use your own branded domain, use your chosen theme, style & design however you see fit and install the plugins that will really make your website fire on all cylinders. This is where WordPress websites really become a truly amazing tool for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Of course, the big possible downside to this is that when you work with WordPress.org, the responsibility of maintaining your website is now in your hands and not those of WordPress. You must make regular backups, fix bugs, apply updates and install essential plugins when necessary. Combine this with the design skills you’re going to need to bring your vision for your website to life and you might start to see finding a WordPress expert as a good move.
So there you go, yes WordPress might be free but the domains, hosting, skilled development and ongoing support are not. This is a seriously good bit of kit and this is why there are always going to be price tags associated with getting the most from it.
WordPress is complicated to use and difficult to customise
No, no, no, no, no, no, NO!
You can probably tell that this one really frustrates us because the reason that WordPress detractors trot it out is blatantly obvious. If you try to use any type of remotely technical equipment without first reading some kind of instruction manual or taking the time to understand its workings then what do you expect is going to happen? If you’ve ever dived ‘gung ho’ in to a piece of generic Swedish flat pack furniture then you can probably take an educated guess.
People expect intuitiveness and ease of use when it comes to technology today and that’s fair enough. But there are limits to this and one of those is that no piece of genuinely useful, feature-rich technology is just going to work like magic. When it comes to WordPress – as with most things in life – the more you put in, the more you get out.
Take the time to learn WordPress and you’ll be paid back handsomely. Honestly, there really isn’t much to be scared of – it’s a logical environment to build your website within and while yes, the WordPress ecosystem of themes and plugins can sometime seem massive, it’s simply the case that it has to be that way to provide the extreme levels of customisation that it does. In reality, code is what most people find scary when it comes to developing a website, and you don’t need to add or edit a single line of it to carry out any customisation in WordPress or make any changes.
So to this claim we say simply RTFM (if you’re not sure, look it up)… well that, or get in touch with someone who has!
WordPress is not secure
It’s fair enough that businesses are hugely cautious when it comes to the security of their website. Barely a day goes by without some kind of information security or hacking story making the news and these are times where management of your digital property can make or break a reputation. Security should therefore be an area of focus when selecting a CMS, but to proclaim that WordPress isn’t 100% secure and to roll this out as a major problem with the platform? Nope, sorry, we’re just not having this either.
We say this for two reasons. Firstly, which website CMS or piece of software in general is actually 100% secure? The answer is none. In a fast evolving digital landscape, new cyber security threats appear every day and the best that online property owners can do is secure their assets as best as possible.
This brings us on to the second reason in that when it comes to securing your website we believe that a well managed WordPress site offers more and better options for security than any other CMS out there.
We say ‘well-managed’ because a huge part of achieving and maintaining a secure WordPress site is proper management in the shape of activities such as selecting a reliable host, making sure updates are applied as and when they become available, and making regular backups. But this is the case with any website built on any CMS.
Beyond these management factors, WordPress rolls out more updates to make its sites secured than any other CMS available, and the available solutions get more numerous and better by the day. Free plugins like SG SiteScanner, from our preferred WordPress hosts SiteGround, and UpDraft Plus for backup management make securing your website more hassle-free than ever.
WordPress websites are slow
No they’re not. Poorly built and optimised WordPress sites hosted on outdated server technology are slow.
As we’ve touched on a few times already in this piece, website maintenance and getting factors like these right are your (or your web developer’s) responsibility. If you bought a Ferrari and then tried to drive it with a couple of the wheels not bolted on properly then your shiny new piece of automotive exotica would be slow. The same goes for your WordPress site.
Improving the speed of your site involves technical approach and analysis. Ensuring your host runs PHP7, optimizing or scaling your images and deploying a good caching plugin are just some of the ways to increase the load speed of your site.
Ultimately this issue of speed and ensuring your site is fast as lightning comes down to two things:
- Identifying a reliable host with up to date technologies and a track record in WordPress website hosting. As we’ve mentioned already, our host of choice is SiteGround and we honestly don’t think you can go wrong with these guys.
- Identifying a WordPress developer and support partner who understands how to build and maintain a site for speed alongside equally important factors such as design and security (*cough* TALK TO US! *cough*).
So, is WordPress the right CMS for your website?
The million dollar question. Well look, there’s loads of alternatives out there and some of them do certain things very well, and in some areas it can be said they’re stronger than WordPress. We’re not going to say that WordPress is perfect and is the answer for every business out there looking for a CMS to build their website on.
However, what we will say is that it’s a powerful all-rounder and there won’t be too many businesses out there who go far wrong by selecting WordPress as the platform for their website to run on. As we’ve mentioned, the very fact that a product establishes itself as a dominant player in a market will see it gain detractors, it’s then all about filtering out which criticisms are valid and which are born simply of a dislike for the market position that WordPress has built (and earned).
As you can see, a lot of the time, the supposed weaknesses of WordPress can actually be strengths when the platform is implemented and maintained correctly. In fact, they’re just some of the reasons why we love working with WordPress and why if you’re looking for a partner to build your new WordPress site or work with on your existing one, then getting in touch with us is a great move.