Despite the staggering popularity of WordPress, many people say negative things about it. It’s true that it’s not the right website software for everyone. But it’s extremely versatile and full of great features. I find that most people taking a quick dislike to it fall into 2 groups:
- People who want to play at design, but lack the skills needed. They fiddle with it for awhile, and it either ends up looking awful or doesn’t match some website’s features they’re trying to duplicate. No system will turn a newbie into a web designer.
- People who find the interface confusing and cluttered. It is quite complex. But not only is it learnable, there are easy ways to simplify the interface for someone who only wants to write articles, for instance.
I have worked with many web content management systems (aka CMS), so I have a better basis for comparison than most. I get around! Reasons to be cheerful…
- WordPress now comprises 20% of websites worldwide. It has been continuously improved over the years, and now has strong content management capability. eCommerce, photo galleries, blogging, info sites, customer interaction, portfolios, sites for displaying cute cats, on and on.
- There are scads of free and paid plugins that add all types of functionality to it.
- There are excellent themes available to easily make your site look great, even good free ones.
- It’s highly flexible for a developer to work with, and documentation is plentiful.
- Its development team is continually adding features and fixes.
- Free to download and install.
- Because it’s so popular, there are proficient WordPress developers and designers everywhere.
- There is a huge number of tutorial sites, ranging from informal YouTubes to high-quality paid instruction. By contrast, a CMS that’s obscure will be lacking in that area.
Whatever It Is, I’m Against It – Groucho Marx
- Because it’s so popular, it’s a big target for hackers. With this in mind, careful security practices are needed, which require some tech savvy, at least enough to follow instructions for good practices, although you could also argue that good security practices are needed on any type of site. It’s just that if you’re using some obscure CMS, you may have fewer attempts at malfeasance.
- To get control of every little bit, some tech ability is needed, including editing code.
- It’s a somewhat large system, so for some small purposes, such as 1-page sites, it may be overkill.
- Free plugins vary in quality. It’s helpful to have pro experience to evaluate them and use them sensibly.
- There are CMS’s that are easier for newbies.
- There are some specialized purposes that are better served by other tools. No system does everything, no matter what its fanboys say. For instance, I wouldn’t recommend WordPress for groupware or a wiki. I can often recommend another system if WordPress won’t do.
The oldest argument you’ll hear, that it’s only a blogging platform, is so out-of-date as to be entirely worthless. If someone tells you that, then they are years out-of-touch, have not been paying attention, and have certainly not seen the current system.
You may have your own reasons. Does WordPress bring you great happiness? A sense of despair? A desire to eat ice cream? Please tell us in the comments.