WordPress is the most commonly used Content Management System, so why should you avoid it?
Ok, we know, you talked to 10 different designers or developers and 9/10 recommended to use WordPress as your CMS (Content Management System), so why are we saying otherwise?
WordPress has the longest standing of being the preferred CMS by bloggers, and with great reason. If you're a blogger there is nothing better to just go on something like GoDaddy and get yourself a complete website, with domain and hosting for under €70. It's brilliant right? Unfortunately that's only half the picture.
In the early days of WordPress, the whole point was ease of use. If you wanted to write a simple blog, there was nothing better, it was free to use, the tools offered were similar to Microsoft Word, it was brilliant. In time though as it grew in popularity, many started to realise the limitations in terms of scalability and performance, so the solution? Plugins. This is the single most abused feature of WordPress and what makes it the Frankenstein that it is today.
Plugins as one would expect allow the developers to add additional functionality, which in theory sounds great, but in practice they quickly slow down your site, and not to mention the problem that, there are little standards and limitations imposed. A simple plugin that shows links to your social media, has the same privileges to the underlying systems, as your ecommerce plugin that takes care of pricing!
Let’s start by setting the record straight, there are good developers out there that abide by industry standards and best practices. Typically you’ll recognise these from the prices of their themes, which will easily be two to three times more expensive than the rest.
The vast majority of the themes however are not created by these experienced developers, but instead are created by individuals or firms looking to make a quick buck. It is almost impossible for the average Joe to tell between a high quality theme and something made in an afternoon, in many cases the only difference will be price.
This keeps happening over and over again simply because there is no regulator or verifier of these themes, unless an actual developer looks at how the theme was built, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference before it’s too late.
These inferior themes then manifest themselves into very slow and in some cases vulnerable websites, leading to many people believing they need to purchase more powerful servers or even worse, not realising how much this hurts their potential to rank on Google.
Anyone can claim to be a WordPress expert, really! Anyone! At the time of writing this post, there is no official certification offered by the creators or maintainers of WordPress, which results in the wild, wild, really wild, west of customer support. Can’t really blame anyone though either.
Because of this extreme flexibility in the system, there is no way anyone can know all the plugins and themes that exist, and how they would all interact together. This results into a pretty awkward situation if your website has to move hands from you to a developer, or even worse, change developers. Every new person that works on your site will on average need at least 5 hours to familiar himself / herself with your current Frankenstein, before being able to make any real changes, and to top it all off, it’s close to impossible to tell if the change might affect something else on the site.
We understand that by now you might be really worried if your current site is using WordPress, and in all honesty we could go on for much longer, but let’s put everything into perspective.
Did you commission your WordPress site from a reputable developer?
If the answer is yes, then chances are you’re going to be just fine. We still recommend to start making plans with the developer to move away from WordPress but chances are, you can take your time.
You are only using paid plugins from reputable sources
Again, chances are you’re going to be completely fine. You might not be able to scale quickly in case of a traffic spike, and chances are you’re paying a pretty penny for the right servers, but as before you have some time to grow out of it.
You built your site yourself and only used whatever was free
There is a slim possibility that your site is fine, but most likely all the personal information stored in your site’s database has already passed on into multiple hands. You should really just drop the whole site and start over.