• Pros and Cons of WordPress

I get asked on a regular basis about the platforms that I use to build websites for clients. While there is a multitude of options available out there, the industry standard for Content Management Systems (CMS) these days is WordPress.

What is a CMS?

A CMS is essentially a web platform that has a backend access panel for users to log in and make content changes on their own. This is particularly sought after by a lot of businesses these days, as people want to be less dependent on third party service providers to update their websites. The good thing about a CMS (at least a well-built one) is that it does not require users to have any coding knowledge in order to make changes. The idea is to have a modular backend panel that can be easily manipulated by dragging and dropping elements on to a page and modifying the content.

Most clients that I work with are already familiar with WordPress and they want to know what the advantages and disadvantages of it are. Since I get this question on a regular basis, I thought it might be useful to create this post in order to shed some light into the matter and provide some clarity.

  • Pros of WordPress

1. Easy Updates

As mentioned above, the main draw of WordPress is the easy content updates that it offers to users with limited or no coding knowledge. It may take some time to get used to the interface, as not everything is 100% intuitive, but it is a million times easier than having to learn a coding language from scratch and building your own website. This feature is probably the number one reason why WordPress is so popular.

2. Free

You know the saying “nothing is free” right? Well, WordPress is actually free! It is an open source system to which thousands of developers from around the world contribute. There are alternatives to WordPress that offer more support and maintenance but it is very hard to compete against ‘free’.

3. Blogging

WordPress initially started as a blogging platform years ago. Although it evolved and turned into something much bigger, blogging is still at the core of the entire platform. Especially with thousands of companies competing for search engine rankings in each category these days, blogging has become a necessity for any business that wants to stay relevant and move up in search results. Constant stream of fresh content is critical for a website’s success and blogging function in WordPress makes it extremely easy.

4. Responsive Design

Google’s last year algorithm tweak that started favouring mobile-friendly websites changed the web design game big time. Since then, ‘responsive design’ has become a buzzword in the industry and everyone started asking about mobile friendliness of websites. The good news is, pretty much all modern WordPress templates come with responsive design functionality built-in. That means your website layout will adjust based on the screen on which you view it. Most WordPress templates even allow you to show and hide certain elements based on device specifications, which makes life so much easier.

5. Plugins

Nevermind that I put this as number five, it could easily be number one. Plugins are what make WordPress flexible and adaptable. Thanks to the worldwide developer community, there is and endless stream of plugins that you can simply install and start using right away. These are extremely useful applications that add new functionality to a website ranging from e-commerce applications to appointment booking; event registration to custom page design elements. Just like there is an app for everything in smartphones, there is a plugin for everything in WordPress.

  • Cons of WordPress

1. Security

The first thing that biggest opposers of WordPress will tell you is the security flaws. The open source nature of WordPress, as much of a strength as it is, makes WordPress more vulnerable to security issues. To mitigate this, it helps to be knowledgable in selecting themes and plugins, as they are what make a site vulnerable to attacks.

2. Customization

It can be tricky to customize WordPress, as it is designed to be a modular system. If you have no coding knowledge you might get confined in whatever functionality your theme offers. In order create custom layouts and looks, you need a good understanding of how PHP works (the language that WordPress is built on) and how to style the look of a page using HTML and CSS.

3. Regular Updates

This is not so much of a con as it is a maintenance challenge. WordPress and the premium themes are constantly improved and updated. If you are not not set up for automatic updates, this becomes a manual process that you need to keep an eye on. Installing these regular updates is important in order to improve security levels and take advantage of new features that are being added.

4. Speed

Some WordPress themes contain lots of generic code that is unnecessary for most sites. This can result in increased page load times and frustrated users. If you have no prior experience with WordPress you may not necessarily know which themes are good for what purpose, which is why it is important to get professional help.

To Sum It All Up

In short, WordPress, despite some of its shortcomings, is as popular as it is for a reason. Depending on who you talk to people might have other additions to the pros or cons side of the list but I think this article covers a good chunk of both sides.

WordPress, just like any other product on the market, has die-hard fans as well as haters. When talking about these different ideas, I like to make the product speak for itself so here’s a list of some of the big companies that use WordPress as their website platform. If they are happy with it, there is no reason why you can’t be…

Time Inc., Sony Music, Xerox, The New York Times, Fortune, MTV News, Best Buy, and even AMC.

The list goes on here if you want to take a look.