I created my first website in 1996 using Macromedia Cyberstudio (which was bought by Adobe and parts were infused into Dreamweaver). When I discovered the power of WordPress in 2008, I never turned back. I didn’t inhibit my design abilities at all, but added functionality beyond my wildest dreams. Here’s why I continue to be a huge advocate:
1. First, let’s explain what is WordPress: WP is a website creation tool written in PHP. It’s regarded as the most powerful blogging and content management system (or CMS) in existence today.
This means that after the website is designed, approved and deployed, it will now be the easiest method of adding content to for the non-technical user. It will require a little training for the novice to do so in a professional manner, but it has the lowest learning curve available online today. It makes off-boarding training far less frustrating than custom websites, which will invariably get broken soon after turning over login access.
WordPress has User Roles built into it – allowing the developer to own the “Admin” (administrative, or full access) role which protects custom code used to design the site, while supplying Editor, Author and Contributor roles for the end-client and a Subscriber role keeps everyone else out of the site completely, but let’s them comment on blog posts (though you can set that to only upon approval as well).
2. Another advantage to WP is the upgradeability. As its such a stable and popular platform, thousands of 3rd party “plugins” are available to enhance its capabilities without the need of a lot of custom programming.
3. It is relatively e-commerce-ready. Install a plugin such as Woo Commerce (recently acquired by WP parent company, Automaticc) and sign up for a PayPal or Stripe account, and you can begin selling products and services online right away.
4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) basics are built into the system. The framework that WP uses to put websites together is inherently SEO-friendly. Everything from your Permalinks options to adding verbiage or media to your posts is structured to be search engine friendly. And with the addition of a popular SEO plugin such as Yoast, you’ll have added guidance to creating content that will be easily searched and indexed by search engines.
What are some disadvantages to WP?
Never trust an opinion unless the presenter can speak to both sides — nothing is perfect for every scenerio, especially on the internet during its Wild West phase. Here are some concerns that I have about WordPress.
1. It is targeted by lots of malware and virus attacks. Therefore, WP is constantly updating its platform to keep secure against these attacks. As a result, the more plugins and themes that you use, the more things that have to be updated along with WP. Sometimes these result in incompatibilities that can break the site, so I highly recommend keeping up to date back ups. Maintenance is an issue that should be taken seriously. But, if you’re maintaining the content, it can become part of the process.
2. The person designated to add content will have to learn enough html to be able to recognize glitches in content. Very often, when adding content to the content box with the Visual Editor turned on, paragraphs or media won’t look or flow correctly and the only way to fix it is to go to the Text Editor and adjust the code. Its not too complicated once you know how, but infuriating until you do.
3. While in theory creating your own WP site is possible even for the average Joe… sooner rather than later, you’ll want to change your layout in such a way that it may require a skilled coder to edit your existing theme. We highly recommend having the site professionally built first, and then get trained to maintain the content thereafter for efficiency. Undoing improper coding can be much more costly than doing it right the first time.
The bottom line on WordPress as the preferred platform for businesses
In conclusion, while every situation isn’t perfect for WordPress, I do believe it is the best option for the majority of businesses not in large-scale e-commerce markets. It’s content management system and upgradeability make it an incredible user-based platform. And it’s constant upgrades and foothold in the marketplace provide me with piece of mind that I’m not investing my resources into a platform that will be defunct or bought and restructured in the foreseeable future.