We often get asked if we build WordPress websites, so we've put together this article to explain why we don't. Are there any circumstances in which we’d recommend WordPress? The simple answer is: it depends on what it is that you do. If you're a blogger and want a straightforward blogging platform, it's probably the right solution for you. However if you want a fully customisable, scalable and secure business website, it definitely isn’t. Here’s why.
You’re only as good as your plugins
WordPress is open source software, which means that it works almost like a community project – with many people around the globe working together to offer suggestions on how to improve it, create additional functionality and contribute to its ongoing development.
Originally intended for the creation of blogs, over the years as other developers have added thousands upon thousands of plugins and themes, this very basic tool has grown almost beyond control.
A plugin is software which adds greater functionality and capability. With WordPress, you’re given a basic starting point and you’re expected to build from there.
So, you’ll need a plugin to back up your data. You’ll need a separate plugin - and in many cases, more than that - to add layers of security and keep hackers at bay.
That’s even before you start adding all the nice stuff. There are a whole host of plugins to add social links, create contact forms or add shopping carts.
Of course, this all well and good, but you’re still limited by what’s available to you and many plugins have one or two ideals that never quite seem to hit the mark. If you want something that’s truly bespoke and customisable for your business needs, choose a developer who can create exactly what you’re looking for so you don’t have to rely on a workaround.
Plugins can inject malicious code
If you’re buying a pretty theme or a must-have plugin from a developer working out of a garden shed, who is to say that there aren’t some seriously nasty pieces of code lurking in the background?
WordPress is built on trust and in some unfortunate circumstances, that trust can get taken advantage of – especially if website owners don’t know code themselves and who aren't confident enough to go digging behind the scenes.
Of course, not all plugins are malicious. Some might simply not work very well because they're an off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all solution. We've seen websites suffer from serious errors because of an innocent installation that turned out to be fatally incompatible with everything else. It happens.
If you choose to work with a developer, however, it's their job to write and create a precise function or feature that's tailored to your needs.
It’s not as low maintenance as you might think
Both the core platform of WordPress and plugins need to be updated often. Why? Well, the reasons can vary but updates tend to address security flaws, feature upgrades and incompatibility issues (see above).
What's more, if you don't stay up-to-date with this constant stream of updates, you'll leave yourself vulnerable to hackers.
Remember our previous point about open source software? WordPress is freely available to everybody which means it's freely available to cyber criminals too. Once they've worked out a weakness in the software, it exposes all sites set up on the WordPress platform. Hence the need for updates.
It means that, unfortunately, if you have a WordPress site you can't afford to set it up and simply let it run itself.
You won’t always have as much control as you’d like
Even if you're confident that your site is as secure as it can be, that doesn't mean the server it's hosted on is built like an iron fortress.
Often, cheaper hosting companies will host many WordPress sites on the same server so if one website is hacked, there is the potential for all to be compromised.
WordPress is a very steep learning curve
How many times have you heard statements attesting to the supposed ease of WordPress?Apparently it's just a matter of watching a few YouTube videos and you'll have everything you need to be on your way.
For the business owners who don't have time to watch endless tutorials or who get frustrated at the fact that WordPress really isn't as straightforward and user friendly as it's claimed to be, this can be a source of annoyance.
If a developer recommends WordPress should I walk away?
WordPress is an easy option for most so called web design companies – and very often there is no real “development” involved, just the confidence and understanding of the installation of various plugins and themes.
WordPress is good for blogs and for people who both have the time to keep on top of updates and who are prepared to look "under the hood" for incompatibility and security issues. If you’re after a basic business start-up website, you could even look at a free website builder as a temporary solution.
However, for those who want bespoke features, complete control and ease of use, we'd recommend working with a development company that understands your needs and is totally aligned with what you want to achieve.
A custom website doesn’t mean expense, quite the opposite in fact. Many clients tell us that our customisable, cost-effective and user-friendly content management system offers peace-of-mind security, ease of use and superior functionality – and we’re often cheaper than those who create WordPress only sites.
If you'd like to discuss your requirements with us, click here to drop us an email.