9 reasons not to use WordPress for a Business website
Making the decision to stop using WordPress was a tough one.
After over a decade of using it to build websites, we face reality.
Since early 2016, there are better alternatives!
Fact: WordPress is the most popular blogging platform in the world.
While this sounds great, two words should set off a warning:
- "Popular"; and:
In short, "Popular" means more vulnurable (just like Windows is more vulnurable than Mac), and "Blogging platform" means it wasn't designed to do anything else but blogging. When you use it for business, you force it to do something it wasn't meant to.
Let's dive into the details!
1. WordPress was designed for blogging
WordPress was released on May 27th 2003, as a blogging platform. This is before social networks existed (Facebook appeared in 2004!)
As expected, when you first open WordPress you quickly notice that posts (articles) are the heart of this content management system.
2. WordPress has limited features for Pages
Naturally, most of the native features offered by WordPress are designed around blog posts: Post categories, keywords, tags, archives, comments, and more.
In addition, WordPress also offers Static Pages (simply referred to as Pages) out of the box. Features for Pages are deliberately limited. As a blogging platform, pages were designed to stay static - with the possibility to make some page updates. The dynamic part is the blog posts.
So, if Pages (and not blog posts) are your main content, you should think twice!
3. WordPress-based websites strongly depend on Plug-Ins
Are you planning on doing more than simple informative pages? If you are thinking of adding a second language, integrating social media to share pages, integrating marketing tools, a newsletter provider, users log-in, etc. you'll depend on Plug-Ins and this is where the trouble (or shall I say fun?) begins. :)
Meet WordPress Plugins. Both its power and its Achilles heel!
Plug-ins are small add-ons, often written by individual programmers to extend WordPress's functionality and add features.
On the one hand, this is the strength of WordPress (strong community development) - which made it more popular than other blogging platforms, like Drupal, Joomla or Blogger. But it's also its achilles heel.
Plug-ins exist for everything: Carousel sliders, Users log-in, social media, e-commerce, backups, menus for mobile phones, you name it !
But from a programming point of view - these are often patches (hacks), or fixes (think duct-tape). Remember, WordPress wasn't made to do this - it's a blogging platform after all. And when you look at the code of some plug-ins, it's ugly.
4. There is no sheriff in town
There is no strict standardization (nor quality checks) for privately developped plug-ins. Anyone can write and publish a plug-in, and he/she can decide to keep maintaining it or not. Free plug-ins are more likely to be abandoned, and some plug-ins might be malicious.
5. WordPress Plug-ins are spaghetti
If you run a quick search, you'll see that many plug-ins (Free and paid) do the same thing.
So when you need a new feature, you try one, then another similar one to see if it's better. Soon enough Plug-Ins become unmanageable (not to mention that one often forgets to uninstall a plugin that either didn't do what was expected of it, or when its support has halted).
Simply ask yourself, do you uninstall every software you stopped using on your PC/Mac or every unused app on your smartphone? Me neither.
The system will eventually break either on a plugin update, or on a WordPress update.
A sane programmer will not touch a broken WordPress, unless paid hourly for his time, with no results guaranteed.
6. WordPress is the most spammed and most hacked CMS in the world
WordPress's popularity made it the target for many attacks - security and spam. Hackers' favorite, it is the most hacked CMS every year, by far. Just google 'most hacked CMS'.
WordPress is Open-Source so attackers know the code that you are running. They use vulnerabilities (holes) in Plug-Ins to find their way into your system.
7. WordPress Updates are inevitable and time consuming
To reduce the chances of getting hacked - your best choice is to keep up with plug-in and WordPress updates - which is time consuming and can break. The more plug-ins you use, the more often you need to update.
WordPress's History shows that support for some plugins, maintained by individuals, is halted with no notice. So while plugins are easy to get you started, they can stop working when you update the system, leaving you with no immediate solution to replace them or uninstall them.
Spaghetti & Duct-tape - A simple example
Let's say you want to categorize pages.
As a reminder, in Wordpress, articles (called posts) come first, and pages come second. Which means, everything you do with pages, even simply adding page categories - requires a plug-in.
So you google 'add category to pages wordpress plugin'. In this specific example, the first result on Google is a plug-in called 'Add Category to Pages'. Simply read its description to understand it's a hack: it modifies WordPress's already built-in Categories for Posts feature to fit Pages.
What's wrong with that? Well, nothing at first sight. Also, it has 5-star reviews, so you install it and you're happy.
Then, when you start using it, you discover that it affected your blog's search results. Pages are now included in search results which until now included only Posts. Why? because categories and tags are now shared between Posts and Pages. While this might be what you want, it might as well not be.
Trouble is that you have no control, and have no way of knowing that before you install the plugin and notice that search results have actually changed.
So now, you either look for a new plug-in, abandon the idea altogether or keep this plug-in and compromise your visitors' web experience.
But this is not all... If you decide not to use it, or try another plugin instead, would you remember to uninstall it?
If not, you add unnecessary vulnerability to your website and a few months later you won't be able to remember which of the installed Plug-Ins you actually use.
Spaghetti & Duct-tape.
Oh, and do you realize how much time you lose when you try out a failed plug-in? And how much time you'll lose for updates?
8. WordPress is slower
The way WordPress processes pages before it renders them was designed back in 2003. Today, we see more and more visual content. Other CMSs have learned from WordPress's mistakes so faster methods are used to serve pages, images and videos.
9. WordPress cannot always give you the exact results you want from a page or post
Most users use WordPress's built-in editor (WYSIWYG).
While this is very user-friendly to edit pages, the end results are not always as expected.
For example, you'll often find extra spaces that you cannot get rid of, or special characters that WordPress's editor just doesn't know how to handle.
If you're a perfectionnist you'll have to learn to breath deeply.
Selecting WordPress for a business site in 2017 is like sticking to your 15 year-old rusty car. It has served you well, but you know it has problems which will eventually cost you more. Time to move on!
WordPress is great for blogging and static pages and maybe add some limited features. You'll find agencies that claim to specialize in WordPress, but it will be only a matter of time until you ask for a feature and they'll say that their hands are tied.
Try to look a year or two down the road, because as your needs evolve you'll pack your WordPress with plug-ins, it will become slower, more vulnurable, less adapted and less manageable.
Web Agencies that have the means to develop their proper technology, have done so for a good reason.
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