Reasons NOT to use Wordpress

Reasons NOT to use Wordpress

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The number of times we come across disgruntled Wordpress website owners and the amount of time we have spent updating and fixing it means Wordpress is a BAD CHOICE for a business website.

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  in Blogosphere by Paul

Wordpress is fundamentally a blogging system forced into other roles by using a zillion different bolt-ons which have been written by developers of varying reliability. It was not made for business websites.

Make no mistake, Wordpress will demand a lot from you and/or your developer.  Time mostly, and skill setting up snapshot backups at the very least, because you're going to need a lot of those.  Okay get the kettle on - here are the BIG FIVE reasons not to use Wordpress..

1. Lack of Control Over Design and Appearance

"Oh but there are thousands of themes to choose from" I can hear you say.  Yes there are, but then you want a different page layout for a certain selection of pages, so we produce a new page template but the instant we do that we've ruined one of the (so-called biggest) advantages of Wordpress - the ability to apply another theme.  Once a developer starts messing with it the website owner is left with an overweight slug of a website with limited potential, which is everything a website owner doesn't need.  As you'll see later, there are other common reasons you can't just throw another theme up.  A 'normal' bespoke website affords full control, always.

2. It Will Cost Time and Money - Frequently

The big selling point which sounds great on the face of it, is that Wordpress is free and you can buy a 'premium' theme for around $50 and hey presto! You have a great looking website.  That is until you discover that the theme includes paid subscriptions for some of the plug-ins it uses, and when you add your own content it doesn't look half as good as it did on the demo.  Most of the time you can't even get the content on the demo, or you can but guess what, it's got a price tag.  So what do you do, buy another theme and risk the same issues?  Get a developer to dig into it?  It's all time and money, but that's nothing compared to the management overhead..

It needs plug-ins to make it do what you want it to do, sometimes lots of them, and the more you have, the slower and more fragile the website becomes - but that's for later - more plug-ins means more updates.  And more updates means is more time spent doing snapshot backups, because you never want to trust a plug-in update to work or not or to suddenly clash with one of the other plug-ins (oh no - which one?!).  These updates can break your website, it's just more time and frustration when it does. Time is money, whether it's your time or a developers time.

3. Wordpress is Big (Huge!) and Slow

Because it tries to be all things to everybody it loads a huge amount of stuff that you and your visitors don't need, which naturally makes it slow.  And the more functionality you add via plug-ins the slower it gets.  Page load times are a Google ranking factor, and slow pages are a big turn-off for visitors.  Wordpress fans will say it just needs to be set up properly and put on some optimised hosting platform.  If you don't know how to go about all that then it's another job for the developers.  More money.  And anyway, imagine doing all that and putting a NON-WordPress website on it - it would fly! 

4. Wordpress is Fragile

Sometimes loading a theme or installing a plug-in will exceed file and memory usage limits set by PHP and Apache.  This happens often and you'll need to get round it one way or the other..  Shared hosting doesn't help.  But the real fragility comes in when you install a plug-in that conflicts with another, or even breaks the website.  Even an update can cause a conflict. Everybody watches those progress indicators with their fingers crossed because if it doesn't work it's another trip to the developers or hours spent trying to back it out from the backups.  You did full backups before the updates right?

Theme and plug-in vendors occasionally disappear or become disinterested.  Wordpress continues with its update program and at some point you'll see a theme or plug-in becomes outdated and incompatible and you can't get an update because there isn't one.  So try another theme or plug-in?  What about all the content you've created - you'll need to re-create it.  And no, you can't just load another theme because many of them use their own content-creation methods with proprietary blocks and so on. 

5. Wordpress is Vulnerable

The code is open-source which means hackers can inspect every corner of the code used to build your website.  And when they find a little hole, which is what they're good at, they will exploit it on your website and the millions of other using Wordpress.  It's that frequency of use that makes it a target.  It is quite simple to determine if a website is open source or not, so robots crawl the web looking for Wordpress sites which makes them a much easier target than a normal website.  And of course, for the same reason that makes them vulnerable, any little holes become public knowledge before you can say "I wish I'd got a normal website"!

I actually wrapped quite a number of reasons up in to five there - but how many reasons not to use Wordpress are enough to convince? You'll see other websites out there with up to nineteen reasons (!) so you don't have to just take our word for it.  But - in the interests of balance and fairness I thought it would be useful to address some of the most popular reasons people will quote for using Wordpress.

1. Wordpress is used by 30% of all websites on the planet, and dominates the CMS market at 60%.

That doesn't make it the best system for everybody.  Bloggers might be suited to Wordpress, but that's not because of the volume of Wordpress sites out there.  Back in the day the VHS system dominated the video market, but Betamax was much better. Market saturation is irrelevant.  It carries the same weight as the phrase "We've been doing it this way for 100 years"!

2. WordPress is incredibly extensible with plugins.

It is, and the more you install the more fragile and slower it becomes.  And choosing a reliable plug-in vendor is a minefield.

3. WordPress lets you change how it looks using themes. No code required.
Simply applying a new theme to change the look and feel of a Wordpress website is nothing more than a myth. You will have created your pages using your theme and it's page builders.  A new theme won't recognise those page builders so you'll have to start again.  Rarely will a business be able to download and install a new theme and have it working without a lot of additional work.
4. WordPress is affordable compared to other solutions.

Could be true if the owner knows what s/he is doing and has low expectations and plenty of time.  But see above, Wordpress has a high maintenance overhead which means either your time or a developers time.  Either way it means on-going costs.

5. It's easy to find Wordpress help.

And a good job too because you'll be needing it!  There is a wealth of information out there about all the problems people come across using Wordpress and most of the time you'll find an answer from somebody who has experienced the same problem and fixed it - after some digging.

6. WordPress connects with your favorite third-party tools.

So does any other website!

7. WordPress makes search engine optimization easier.

NOT TRUE!  In fact it can complicate it.  Wordpress needs a plugin (yes another one) to correctly handle SEO, but good on-page SEO is the simplest thing in the world and can be handled perfectly well outside the Wordpress world, without plugins!

8. WordPress loads quickly…if you configure it right.

So it doesn't load quickly if you don't configure it right?  I'm yet to see a Wordpress website loading fast on standard shared hosting.  

9. WordPress makes content creation as easy as typing in Word.

Hello? So does every other CMS I can think of.

CONCLUSION

Unless you've got low expectations and plenty of time on your hands - avoid Wordpress - it sucks!



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