What is this "WordPress" you keep hearing about?
Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard of WordPress. In fact, any time a website is mentioned, this is likely one of the first things you hear (both good and bad reviews).
What is WordPress?
WordPress is known as an online Content Management System (CMS). There are hundreds, if not thousands, of CMS varieties out there. A CMS allows you to make website edits without coding - usually right in your browser. Think of it like a very intricate Microsoft Word for your website. As you can imagine, with a Content Management System implemented, you can create better sites quicker and more reliably. WordPress is also "open source," meaning that anyone can see the underlying code. It's why so many websites are powered by WordPress, why there are so many options available, and why there is such a large community of support.
When most people discuss WordPress, they're discussing WordPress.org, which is the full downloadable platform. WordPress.com is a basic blogging site (owned by the same entity).
Unfortunately, it isn't all roses.
WordPress is a great platform. But here are some of its shortcomings:
- Setup. You need to find a host, install WordPress (from WordPress.org), find the right template (from hundreds of thousands), find and install the necessary plugins, and familiarize yourself with the plethora of settings.
- Security. Unfortunately, one downfall of "open source" is security - WordPress bugs are found frequently, so in some instances, your site is more likely to be compromised than others. It's not terribly likely, but it happens.
- Regular downloads of updates. WordPress sites require you to regularly download and install updates - partially because of the security issue mentioned above. Not only does this take time, but this could "break" other parts of the site. Widget X may not work with the new update, causing that functionality to be inoperable on your website until it is fixed. As you can imagine, this can cause some level of paranoia.
- Knowing what plugins to install. Downloading plugins is necessary to have your WordPress site function as you wish - from a calendar plugin to a contact form plugin. There is a plugin for almost every need...but how do you pick which one is best? How can you count on it always working, improving, and being supported? Should you pay for plugins? There are a plethora of options...and deciding on what to do with plugins can be a time-consuming challenge. Not to mention that some widgets and some templates don't play nicely together.
- Support. While the WordPress community is massive and helpful, when you need help, it's not instantaneous nor guaranteed. Hiring a web developer to fix every problem can get costly. Relying on the kindness of random strangers on forums can be scary.
- Lack of control. While WordPress is supposed to be user-friendly, it still has a considerable learning curve. Often times, web developers won't train clients on how to perform basic site maintenance so that they can keep that recurring revenue opportunity. In these instances, customers can't take advantage of the fact that their site is on a CMS. Even when customers do have access to it and receive some education, they're too overwhelmed to attempt to make changes or too intimidated that they may mess something up.
While WordPress has fantastic functionality and customization, it really requires more resources to keep it working smoothly and always looking great. Many businesses don't have that kind of money, and to be honest, can still have a very successful website without that level of intricacy.
As you can see, WordPress is great, but often times, it's overkill for what many businesses/organizations need.
There are many other CMS platforms on the market. We specialize in Squarespace, and are actually listed as a Squarespace Specialist. If you want an amazing website built on an easy-to-manage platform with unparalleled support, let us help you give it a try!