Wordpress is Not So Bad

Wordpress is used by the majority of websites, some of the reasons for this are:

  1. Easy to use
  2. Easy to maintain
  3. Flexible

The question to ask: Is Wordpress suitable for everyone, and if not who is better off with another tool.

Recently, I was asked about this article. The author compares a Wordpress site to a piece of machinery, which needs maintenance, and time to keep running. I agree Wordpress is a complex machine, needing TLC.

##Wordpress is User-Friendly In my experience Wordpress knowledge can be imparted to new users easily, and they can start with a few basics, like choosing a theme, writing content, and updating Wordpress. Over time other options become understandable. With Wordpress the Learning curve is smaller than Joomla or Drupal. Wordpress belongs to a class of website creation scripts called Content Management Systems.

Content Management systems tend to have the same features:

  • Database Driven
  • Written in a Scripting Language (Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby)
  • Often make use of JavaScript
  • Provide a back-end management tool
  • Are often extendable (plugin/extension and theme/template support)

##Plugins and Theme issues With Wordpress a Franken-Site is possible. If you have a clear idea of the functionality you wish to add to a website, and attempt to minimize the number of plugins you add, you can keep your website working well. Try to pick plugins which have high ratings, and lots of reviews, this helps to choose plugins that will run well. Make sure that the plugins you use are in development, or at least maintained. With few exceptions nothing can be worse than using old code.

Keep plugins updated as well. When you customize a theme create a child theme, so the underlying theme can receive updates. As with themes be prepared to move to a new theme when the developer no longer maintains a theme.

##Hacks Windows has the most malware, not because it is less secure than its Unix and Linux counterparts, but because it is the main Operating System for desktop and laptop computers. The same is true of Wordpress, since it has the largest share of installations for all CMSes (Content Management Systems), there are more people trying to compromise it. (The other CMSes get hacked too). Fortunately, if you take some precautions, like keeping your Wordpress, plugins, and themes updated, use a security plugin, and a CDN/Firewall you can avoid this.

Some Steps to avoid hacks are:

  1. Update Wordpress, Plugins and Themes everytime there is an update
  2. Use a Wordpress plugin designed to help secure the site
  3. Remove old files when they are no longer needed.
  4. Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network)

##Support Wordpress is an open source software, this means that Wordpress is created by volunteers around the world. This also means that there is no offical telephone support. There are many good books out there, like Wordpress for Dummies. A good book can be a great resource that will minimize your need to search forums for answers to problems. Another good place for support is the webpage of theme and plugin developers. Many of them provide excellent support for their code.

##Is Wordpress for Me? Use this checklist to help determine if Wordpress is for you.

  • I have time to spend each week doing website maintenance
  • I am interested in getting the most out of my Wordpress website
  • I have a website developer who knows Wordpress
  • I need the interactiveness of a database driven website

##Other Ways to Build a Website - Manually Build a HTML website - Custom Build a CMS - Static Site Generator - Use another CMS

Each way to build a website comes with its own strengths and weaknesses. HTML and CSS can be easy to learn, if you want to build a simple page. You can hire programmers to make you a custom CMS, or a professional who specializes in building sites based on a specific CMS, but you may need ongoing assistance to keep the software secure, and up to date. A static Site Generator attempts to provide you with many of the features of a CMS, while giving you a simple HTML and CSS site to place on your server.

##Conclusion Wordpress is a great machine with extensive tools and extensibility, but like any tool it is best used for the proper job. Wordpress began life as a Blogging platform, and still retains that focus. Static sites are a good alternative when you need an informational website which does not need to change very often, and other tools like Joomla, Drupal, etc. have their own strengths and weaknesses.

Written on August 28, 2016