Why Using WordPress to Create a Website STINKS! (Part 1)

Why Using WordPress to Create a Website STINKS! (Part 1)

I conduct a training with my recently hired salespeople called, "WordPress Stinketh." I feel it's very important for them to know what they're up against when they go to speak to the public and why so many people still choose such a dumb website builder.

The big reason WordPress is such a big deal these days (as of this date, 43% of all websites are built on the platform) is:

  1. It's free.
  2. It's old.
  3. It's open source.
  4. It's "easy to use."

Let's address these reasons one by one.

WordPress is "free."

I always present this point with a Jabba-the-Hutt-like chuckle: "Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho…"

The WordPress platform is free to log-on to and, if you don't need any real functionality, you can create a site without spending a dime. However, if you need forms, calendars, log-in portals, etc., you'll end up paying for a good service anyway.

Even with a "free" site, you'll still need to register your domain (not free) and sign up to have your site hosted someplace (also not free).

For reasons I'll discuss when it comes time to talk about its open-source-ness, you'll also end up spending a lot of money (and/or time) fixing broken plug-ins and sluggish themes.

Many customers who come to Surge Web Design [Link to Home page] after using WordPress for a while are surprised that we can offer cheaper monthly fees while significantly reducing site downtime. "More service for less money?! Quinn, you're crazy!"

WordPress is old. 

WordPress has been around since 2003. In the tech world, that's ancient. If WordPress were a band, it would be the guys who played backup for Mozart. Since it's that old, lots of people have been using it (and teaching others to use it) for a long time. That makes people reluctant to change.

WordPress started out as a blogging platform, but grew into the mess of a middle-aged, balding, paunch-gutted website-building system it is today. Old systems tend to be patched-up code applied over patched-up code. This leads to poor performance and slow speed.

The good news is Google Trends is showing a slow decrease in interest over the platform over the course of the last ten years. The problems inherent to the platform seem to be catching up to the idyllic, open-source, "free love" roots of the system.

WordPress is Open Source.

"Open Source" means anyone can write code that interacts with a platform. There are two big categories this code falls into: plug-ins and themes.

Let's start with plug-ins. Let's say I want a pink river dolphin to swim across the screen whenever someone opens my homepage. This is not a free and readily available option through the standard WordPress library, but I really want people to see how amazing pink river dolphins are. I could hire someone (or figure it out for myself) to build out the code that would allow my special swimming friend to join the party. That code is a plug-in. We should call it something fancy like "Pink River Dolphin Welcome Party" (PRiDoWeP).

Developers across the world have made thousands of plug-ins. WordPress admits that there are 59,681 free plug-ins available at the time of writing. How could that many free options be bad, right?

Well, a million people have written a billion lines of code to make their WordPress websites do what they wanted them to. Sometimes that code is well supported by a room full of trained and capable developers (read: expensive). On the free side, the code is often built and then left to fester. No updates, no changes, no support. This is why so many WordPress sites break. The base code of the site gets an update from WordPress itself, but the plug-in stays stagnant. That usually results in the old code not working with the new code and–CRASH–your site goes down in the middle of the Super Bowl.

Themes have similar issues. Themes are responsible for the visual aspect of the site–like font, color, layout, etc. Themes also come in a huge variety and many are not optimized for speed or user experience. Google will ding you in SEO for doing either of those things poorly. Because WordPress is Open Source, a theme can be developed by an undergrad at the University of Wyoming for a class project and then left to fester. Or you can get lucky and find a theme that has a well-educated creator who tenderly changes the source code to keep up with the times.

WordPress is "Easy to Use."

It's really not. There. Can we just move on?

Okay, so it's more complicated than that. A basic website is easy to build, but once you get into adding functionality and customization, you should have a Computer Science degree. Adding plug-ins adds a level of complexity. Then, keeping up with breakdowns after subsequent updates makes WordPress much harder to use.

There are many other website platforms that are easier to use and provide a much higher level of base SEO power. In a future article, you'll see further discussion from us where you can see some of the more popular and affordable options.

Now can we move on?

So, What To Do?

WordPress is not helpful, affordable, or effective for the average user. Unless you have years of coding experience, I suggest you hire a professional web design  and SEO company like Surge Web Design. Check out one of our websites A Superior Cut. The company has recently expanded from Salt Lake City,  Utah to Fruitland, Idaho, and has been pleased with the easy not-wordpress-hosting transition. Overall, the cost and time savings have been successful for our clients and will make it worth it for you too. You can reach out to us by calling (208) 391-3413 or emailing info@surgewebdesign.com.