Is WordPress really so bad?

March 7, 2014

WordPress now powers 18.9% of the Web and has over 46m downloads so is it really so bad?

Right off the bat I’ll take that one and my answer is no, it’s actually very good.  However I have met people with a similar IT background to mine, firmly rooted in development (and I’m old enough to remember writing pre Windows MS-DOS software never mind website development), who aren’t so complimentary about CMS solutions like WordPress.

I kind of see why some developers get melancholy about the never ending summers of our youth when we meticulously wrote each piece of code using HTML, CSS, XML, PHP, ASP, .NET, SQL, Java, etc. which only equally skilled fellow developers could understand.  We were held in high esteem and our skills were sought after but it ultimately meant customers had very little control over their websites, if any.  Every change or addition pretty much had to be applied by somebody with developer skills.  Today, good CMS solutions like WordPress make it a lot easier for people to manage their website content and some olds school developers see that as an insult to their skill set and years of experience.

Fear not I say, all is not lost.  Every Plugin, Widget and Theme is written by a developer so we still have our uses in the brave new CMS world. Good PHP, HTML, CSS and Javascript skills require more than a quick flick through an “Idiots guide” to perfect and truly make your site stand out.

But it hasn’t always been plain sailing for WordPress in the IT world and for some people it’s still in choppy waters (see what I did there?)

WordPress got off to a bad start when it first arrived in 2003 because it somehow became known internationally as “blogging software”. Yet looking at WordPress today that is so limiting as to the true power and its real potential:

This website you’re on right now is built using WordPress. OK it’s the blog section, but visit any of the other pages which all display website content and it’s still all WordPress. It can really offer much more than the few benefits you usually hear about. Finally before we get into the meat of the why it’s so good, let’s clear up another myth while we’re at it: A blog is a website and a website is a blog. There is NO difference.

My 15 reasons why WordPress is really so good:

    1. Save Money – You no longer do you need to send the simplest changes to your designer or heaven forbid add a whole new page.  Just make the changes yourself whenever it suits you and save the money you would’ve paid your designer.  Apply changes whenever you like, preview them before putting them live and if you don’t like the changes simply trash them.  Also Since you don’t have to wait a few days for your designer to make basic changes, the content on your website can be altered immediately by you, thereby giving your website visitors the most timely and current details possible.
    2. WordPress is well supported – Anything you want to do with a WordPress site has probably been done before. This is a good thing because if you encounter any problems, a quick Google search should produce the answer. The WordPress community is incredibly helpful. I only ever had one question about my site design that I couldn’t answer through searching.  I posted on the WordPress forum and had a solution in a matter of minutes. I don’t know how this kind-hearted community of forum members came to be, but they’re there and they’re happy to tell you everything you need to know to do everything you want to do. It’s beautiful.
    3. Greater Accessibility – Make changes or add content from any computer in the world with Internet access and a browser without the need for additional and expensive developer software or fixing firewall settings.
    4. Better Time Management – Add content and then schedule those posts to publish on your site on whatever day and time you want. You could write an entire 12-week online course, break it up into 12 pieces and have each one automatically post to the site at the same time, on the same day for 12 weeks.
    5. Social Networking Friendly – A quick look over my site will give a brief idea as to how well WordPress supports social media. You can put sharing buttons on all your content, to all your favorite networking sites. And the format of blog comments allows visitors to directly engage with you and your content through the site. If you want to get noticed on the internet, you have to be social, and WordPress knows it.
    6. Engage with Current Media – Easily add audio and video to posts and pages.
    7. Ultimate in SEO Friendliness – The construction of WordPress blog code is consistent and streamlined without excessive HTML code that Google finds very inviting for indexing. Plus, with the right setup and plugin, you’re able to customize every page or post you make to give you the highest possible probability of getting your pages in high search results positions.
    8. Search Engine Magnetism – As a result of your inspiration to post content more often, your frequency of contribution will attract Google robots and other search engines like magnets. The robots will search your entire site every day looking for new content and new pages and changes they can index. New pages get indexed in hours or even MINUTES when you commit to adding new content over time.
    9. Insanely Fast Learning Curve – Learning to edit content, create new pages, add photos, images and videos is very easy.  Figuring out these simple procedures on your own would only take a novice a few hours. With initial one-on-one training from an expert WordPress trainer like we offer at Fluid Web Development, all of these functions can be performed by YOU in under an hour.  Keeping your content up to date with WordPress does not require any design or programming experience.
    10. Improved Security – One of the subjects “against” WordPress or other blog software that use plugins (plugins are small add-on programs to enhance the capability of the blog software) is that hackers can break in to your Web site. But, the exact opposite is in fact true: If you have the right people involved in the setup of your WordPress installation, your blog site can be hacker-proofed even more securely than a traditional Web site.
    11. Two-Way Communication with Visitors – Through the use of blog comments, you are no longer restricted to one-way “outbound” communication with visitors like you would be with a traditional Web site. Sure, you can always have a “contact us” page on your traditional Web site, but blog comments allow for anonymous two-way discussion between you and your readers. And, every time someone makes a comment to one of your posts, the inclusion of their content full of keyword phrases helps you to build better search positioning. It’s like getting free SEO help from the general public!
    12. Free Upgrades – Unlike traditional Web site software like Dreamweaver, PhotoShop or Flash, upgrades to WordPress blog software is free.
    13. You’re in good company – There’s an impressive list of people who are using WordPress already. They include: Playstation, Smashing Magazine, The Who, Tom Jones, Pac-Man, GigaOM and many more. If those guys are using WordPress, they must all agree on something.
    14. Mobile Readiness – No need to produce a second Web site just for mobile users. WordPress automatically recognizes if a person is viewing the site through a Web browser or mobile device and configures the content to be viewed appropriately on either.
    15. Ease of Printing – Designers are notorious for creating Web sites that are too wide to print. With a simple plugin, all your WordPress blog site content can be easily printed in easy-to-read format…without creating duplicate “printable” versions of pages. No need for sacrificing screen view design just so that people can print the pages.
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