WordPress is, without a doubt, the most popular content management system out there. But, it’s not the only option. Before making a decision on a website platform, it’s a good idea to write down what you need your website to do.
I build on WordPress and find that it is a versatile and powerful tool but like all content management systems it can have its drawbacks. I hope that this article can help you determine what route is best for you and your business.
The history of WordPress
Founded in 2003, WordPress has gone on to power over 70 million websites world-wide. Built by UK website developer Mike Little and American Matt Mullenweg.
Primarily a blogging platform, WordPress has become more and more popular. This is because of its easy installation and quick set up time.
During the first few years, there was a flurry of updates and improvements to the CMS. These updates included:
- SEO friendly permalinks
- Plugin support
- A templating system
These updates make the platform tempting for the everyday web developer to use on custom builds. Back in 2010 WordPress added custom post types. This means that it’s possible to build a website that contains lots of different content types.
Matt Mullenweg has stated that the focus of WordPress’ future is around social, mobile and as an application platform.
What are the benefits of using WordPress?
To get the most out of your website you need to ensure that it is performing at its best, all the time. You can base this on metrics such as page loading times, page size and website caching.
The first and easiest way to improve WordPress performance is plugins. This doesn’t mean that you should use lots of plugins on your WordPress site, in fact quite the opposite. You should avoid relying on too many plugins, as you only need the right ones. Too many plugins can slow your site.
One plugin that I use on all websites I build is WP Fastest Cache. It enables the minification and combination of CSS and JS files. This means that the file sizes are as small as possible and a minimal amount of requests get sent to the server.
This plugin also enables browser caching. This means your website will load far quicker than one without a plugin like this.
Website performance is a key factor when ranking on Search Engines such a Google and Bing. This is because poor website performance often leads to poor user experiences.
WordPress has a bad reputation for security. This comes from developers being very lax in the set-up and installation. Yet, this is far from the case if you take the correct steps to harden security. It is then a very secure and reliable platform on which to build and manage your website.
As a WordPress developer my steps to ensure a high level of security include many different things. Including, changing the database table prefix from the default “wp_”. This prevents hackers from assuming your database table names. Alongside this, I also add a plugin called Wordfence. This plugin has many enhancements such as setting a max amount of password attempts. This avoids brute-force attacks. It also goes without saying that I use secure usernames and passwords. This is something that a large amount of people still don’t do, if you are one of those people, change your username and password immediately!
Easy to use and maintain
WordPress has great usability. It includes an admin dashboard that makes it easy to navigate between pages, posts and settings. If you’ve never used the WordPress CMS system before, it’s nice and easy to learn.
My customers often want to know how to make changes to their sites themselves. This makes WordPress a great platform as it’s so easy to use, even for those that have very little experience. Changes can include things like:
- updating blog posts
- adding new pages
- updating your images
- adding new products
These items above, amongst many others are very simple and straightforward.
I always receive great feedback when showing clients how to edit their websites. It’s often compared to editing a word document. Not only this, it also makes my life easier as a developer as I can maintain the sites that I build in an efficient and streamlined manner. Keeping costs down for my customers.
Quick for web development
There are many other content management systems out there, such as:
All these platforms require a far higher investment in terms of time, cost and usability. But, WordPress is just the opposite. WordPress has a super quick installation process. It has a simple to use templating system. And, it has a huge library of plugins, themes and documentation. All this reduces development time. It also makes it a far less time consuming task when compared to its competitors.
What are the drawbacks of WordPress?
WordPress is a fantastic platform but there are some drawbacks. My main dislike associated with WordPress are pre-built theme websites like ThemeForest. They offer themes that are ready to buy and install, that offer a wealth of functionality and design options. This sounds like a great deal at first glance, “a website for £20? Wow!”.
Realistically, this is not the case. The huge range of options that are included within these themes clutter up admin pages with lots of unnecessary fields. This can make it a nightmare to update and maintain.
In comparison, the websites that I build are fully bespoke. This allows me to display only the fields you see on the website, in the admin area. Leading to a far quicker website and many minutes saved every time you update it.
Plugins are external software modules that insert into your site to extend functionality. They can add functionality like booking systems, security software, chat-bots and much more.
A lot of plugins are susceptible to software bugs, hacking and viruses. Due to the fact that plugins are 3rd party applications, you have no control over their updates.
In my development on WordPress, I use minimal plugins to avoid situations like this. And, when I do use plugins, I ensure that they’re trusted and have a good reputation for security. This way, I never compromise with my clients business.
Keeping your website up to date is important to its health but it can be a pain. Think of your website like a car. To keep it running you need to have it regularly serviced and maintained. Most Premium WordPress themes offer regular updates. These updates are extremely important to maintain appropriate security.
This is all well and good, but these updates can sometimes cause issues on your site. To avoid this, I will always test updates before pushing them live and keep a close eye on your site after. This is part of why, if you don’t have an in-house developer or IT team, it might be best to have a professional like myself on hand to host and maintain your site.
For those concerned about their website security, I offer a maintenance plan which includes monthly updates to WordPress, plugins and themes – find out more information here.
So, is WordPress really the best CMS?
Although WordPress is not the only CMS on the market, it will always be my personal preference over other Content Management Systems. It may have its drawbacks but if you know how to avoid falling into these traps, WordPress can be an extremely useful platform to utilise.
I hope that this article has given you some insights into the WordPress CMS. If you want to speak to someone that can offer professional and realistic advice about your website goals, you can contact me today.