Thoughts on Design with Margaux: Why Wordpress isn't an acceptable CMS for your Business's Website
As I find myself becoming more and more of a web designer (remember I'm trained as an architect). I am encountering more and more potential clients using Wordpress sites. Not that there is anything wrong with Wordpress... well I guess I think there is, if not I wouldn't feel compelled to write this, but it is the most popular CMS out there right now. So what exactly is so wrong with it? Why does it bother me to have clients come to me with Wordpress sites and want edits / us to take over there management of their Wordpress sites? I'm going to try to come up with a list that is concise and illustrates why I really don't believe you are getting the 'bang' for your business website when you are using a Wordpress CMS - that's content management system for those not up to date with the lingo.
- Blogging v. Business - Let me start with this and it DRIVES ME CRAZY. Wordpress is a blogging CMS. It's amazing for your blog, but let's say your business wants to sell things, or have reviews or have lots of custom features. This is where Wordpress falls short. Wordpress was and is developed to be for BLOGS, not your business. Yes there a plugin and widgets but that's another problem in itself.
- Wordpress is just not a CMS - There's no real permission system you can use to let groups of people carefully manage parts of the site well. There's not a very detailed versioning system, you can preview what something will look like before publishing, but that's hardly an exhaustive list of who made what change and when. There's no in-context editing so you're always explaining to a client that "you have to go here to the 'pages' section of your dashboard to fix that typo" - that's super counter intuitive. Its akin to introducing someone to a typesetting machine when they want to write a quick note.
- Security - Security is a major problem of WordPress websites. Typically brute force attack is one of the main concerns. BFAs are when someone tries to access the dashboard of your WordPress site or your FTP account by trying out different user names with different password combinations. - now I know that sounds crazy but we've had issues with this when a client who wanted to stay on his Wordpress site and not convert over to a better CMS, luckily we are building a new site now. But even with choosing a strong password, and let's be real here, I know most of the potential clients I encounter have passwords that are easy for them to remember, so they aren't necessarily strong, and are easily guessed.
Another big security hole is represented by the third-party themes and plugins and widgets which are made by both professional development companies as well by individuals or even hackers. These files are verified, but sometimes the developers can hide fishy code that will not catch the attention of the verifier. Often bring your whole site down.
- Limitations - Working within the Wordpress confined css/coding framework means you are stuck with that format and structure, unless extensive programming work is done. The work involved makes you wonder why you didn't start from scratch in the first place. And this is a big one for me, I take a lot of great pride in making almost all our sites from scratch. I believe each client has an individuality and specialty to offer and shouldn't be stuck with a templated site. I believe you can tell when a site is a template and why do you want to not stand apart from your competitors. With other CMSs, And Let me be up front, we have our own CMS - but we also LOVE Concrete5, you get the ability and agility to really go in and make your site customized for you and your clientele and business. Get your super awesome designer, hopefully me, to design you a one of a kind website and see the difference compared to a Wordpress template. It will be worth it. Trust me.
- Search Engines - SEO or search engine optimization is extremely important, I know we all want to be on that Google Front page, and while many Wordpress modules and templates propose they are SEO friendly, the code is not optimized, pages load slow, and Google has to read through all the layers of Wordpress code, which means the site really is not"optimal" for search engine robots. On top of that, Worpress is often used to create spam-filled websites, which Google blacklists as spam. And you definitely don't want your site being listed as spam, there goes all your hard work!
- Bulky/Buggy Code - The 3rd party plugins and widgets can really bogg down your hosting resources, making your site load time take too long and Search Engine Optimization rankings plummet. Since there is no official Wordpress development team, any issues must be dealt with through public forums, which basically means there is no guarantee you will get an answer or fix for whatever problem or bug the site faces.
So that's my take on the Wordpress debate And let me leave you with these thoughts when deciding on building or hiring someone to build your website. Websites are like houses. You want someone with a lot of experience to build the bones and make it livable, but the person who lives there for a decade is going to want to be able to make changes to their house later without having to call the original builder. That original builder doesn't want to be heading back out to install a ceiling fan or paint a wall, and the owner doesn't want to pay their rates for that kind of work anyway. The owner should be able to do some of that work on their own, and they should be able to hire the handyman down the street to do some of the work. There shouldn't be fear that their whole house will fall to the ground because the neighbor kid helped them change bathroom faucets. -Margaux Verdera of the graphic, web and app design company m+j design