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12 REASONS NOT TO USE WORDPRESS

DISCLAIMER: We want to emphasize that our comments about Wordpress are not intended to criticize or disparage those who do choose to use it. We simply wish to share widely-known flaws that exist with the software, which is why we personally do not recommend it.

What is Wordpress?

Wordpress is free web software which was originally designed for making blogs, and later on, full websites. It is used on over 50 million websites which equates to around 5% of the top 10,000 sites. There is no doubt that it is a popular platform.

As Wordpress is relatively easy to set up and install, it is frequently used by people wishing to set their personal website up themselves without using web developers, and for that it serves its purpose well. It also enables the website owner to make their own updates, without the need to hire a web developer. But a business needs a responsive, reliable and secure website - after all, your website is the first point of call for most potential customers. Your website reflects your business in the same way that you wouldn't use home-printed business cards, a Wordpress site is unlikely to give the right impression.

Here are some valid reasons why we recommend that you do NOT use Wordpress for your business website:

1. Security Many security holes exsist and every hacker on the planet targets and hijacks the millions of vulnerable Wordpress websites, worldwide. This expoitation is usually not even known to the website owner, until it's too late. Many of the millions of Wordpress themes and plugins are authored by hobbyists, and filled with security vulnerabilities.

Every website on the Internet is vulnerable to hackers to some degree; however, having a custom website would mean that a hacker would need to target your website specifically. The difference with a WordPress based website is that the hacker can target millions of websites at once, without knowing or caring who they belong to.

2. Updates While it's true that Wordpress regularly releases updates to fix all the security holes, the trouble is with an average of more than one patch a month it can be time consuming to keep your web site secure. The updates will need to be done by someone technical, which means clients inevitably end up paying for this extra work in the long run. The other major downside to updates is that there is always a risk they will break your site, especially if you used a customised theme and popular plugins. Add to that continually evolving nature of the admin area to add to the confusion.

There are 100's of template and plugin developers riding the Wordpress bandwagon. That might seem like a "good" thing, but every month or so, Wordpress comes out with an update, forcing you to update the entire system (ironicaly, to address security vulnerabilities.) Many times this will disable or cause issues with modules you are using, meaning you have to get a developer to assist, and it's completely unsupported by the module developer. This costs money, labor and down time.

3. Spam If there is one constant on the internet, it is the flooding of spam. Wordpress is and always has been a blog posting system. This makes it a magnet and a target for automated spambots. Many users report getting 10-20+ junk E-mails per day, and the wordpress blog posting system [even if disabled] gets brute force attacked continuously. In summary, Wordpress is an easy target for web abuse and hackers.

4. Plugins Plugins are in essence a fantastic idea. Each plugin is an extension to WordPress written by a third-party developer. They each add functionality to WordPress that is not in the original system. Unfortunately as there are so many plugins, written by so many people, many have their own security vulnerabilities and issues. Many plugins are written by hobbyists to do something for their own site, they release the code for free and then forget about it.

For example, it's possible that two plugins will both work brilliantly independently, yet when both installed can conflict and cause issues. Coupled with the updates, plugins can also break. A plugin can be working perfectly, and then after a client updates their core system, the plugin can often break, and will remain broken until the plugin's developer is able to update it. As plugins can often be the basis of essential features of a client's website, and as we've already established that the core system needs to be updated regularly you'll be faced with a dilemma, choosing between a working site or a secure one.

5. 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 often makes you wonder why you didn't start from scratch in the first place.

Alternatively, with a custom built website, the web developer is proficient with his or her own code, and it is usually much easier, and therefore more cost efficient to develop custom features. With a Wordpress site, clients often reach the end of the functionality earlier than expected, and have to start from scratch.

6. Bulky/Buggy Code The 3rd party modules and apps can really bog down your hosting resources. Since there is no official Wordpress development team, any issues must be dealt with through public forums. No guarantee you will get an answer or fix for whatever problem or bug the site faces.

7. Creativity Font styles, layout, and the entire page structure is dictated by strict CSS page formatting, and great effort must be made to reverse-engineer the Wordpress code. A web designer must be hired to put graphics and other creative content on the site (and what else do you want a site for?)

8. Support Because Wordpress is open source, it is free and developed by the 'community'. This is a good idea and allows such software as Wordpress and many UNIX based systems to remain free. However it does cause an issue with support. As there is no official development team, and as the client has never paid anyone for the software, there is no phone number to call and no guaranteed way of getting a response. Therefore if a client's website breaks, perhaps after an update, any errors can be hard to diagnose. The usual process is to use Google to search various support forums, and if no one else has had the same issue, post a ticket to a forum, and hope that someone can help you fix your issue. Even then a client, or web developer, is only likely to receive a pointer in the right direction, and will need to do a fair bit of work themselves. This can be difficult for a professional web developer, and can prove almost impossible for many web designers who only know how to install and use WordPress.

9. Content The sparkling thought that an instant site is yours after a quick installation is quickly replaced when you realize you have 10 empty pages, a generic header and navigation, and nothing actually "works." Customizing, developing the pages, and writing good content to fit in each page is what makes your site memorable, and creates the value.

While you can change HTML in the body of your page, you have no access to the HTML of the head and footer sections of your page. You also have no access to the PHP files you would normally have access to on a self-hosted WordPress.org installation. What this also means is that you can't add CSS or JavaScript links or blocks to your webpage as you normally would. Any Javascript code added to the body of your page is cleanly removed when you update the page. So how can you add in that cool new JavaScript widget you use on all your other websites? You can't. You are limited to whatever widgets WordPress.com provides you with. When it comes to displaying multiple images there are 2 options - as a slide show and as a gallery. Thinking of embedding an iframe from another site as a workaround? It won't work. WordPress.com has a list of external sites it allows connections to and chances are your site is not one of them.

10. Search Engines SEO, or search engine optimization, is extremely important, and while many Wordpress modules proport to make it SEO friendly, the code is not optimized, pages load slow, and google has to read through all the layers of Wordpress code, 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. There are lots of SEO plugins for WordPress, and by picking and choosing the correct ones you can achieve a certain level of optimisation. However, you never have the fine control that you get with a custom website, and therefore full search engine optimisation is not possible.

11. Speed The speed of a website affects the SEO as well as the general user experience. As Wordpress caters for many different styles of websites and has lots of features that are often unused, the code is very 'bloated'. This means your server is processing a lot more code than it needs to which means each page is slower and you will reach the limits of your server much quicker. One of the advantages of a custom website is that it can do exactly what is required with no unnecessary overheads, and therefore run very efficiently.

12. Hosting You might have been told by your host that Wordpress was your only option, or your hosting offered Wordpress as part of their plan. You should not feel this is the only choice out there. The only 'easy' part about Wordpress is pressing the button to install it. Consider all of the advantages you'll enjoy from having a custom website developed.

In case you think I am personally biased against Wordpress, try doing a Google search for 'Reasons why not to use Wordpress' and you'll see that these reasons are both valid and common. Another search for 'Wordpress white screen' should trigger more alarm bells.

There are now websites popping up where they offer WordPress Malware Virus Removal. You pay around $90.00 (US) and they clean your website, scan and remove all infected files, and remove you from any resulting blacklists you may have wound up on. It fixes the problem - until you either get attacked again, or install some plug-in or template that has more vulnerabilities. Then you can always hire the people for another $90.00 to fix it again.

Alternatives to Wordpress A hand-authored website is a much better option. At Webberman, we've been creating unique websites for 20 years and can create something perfect for your business. We also maintain websites at very affordable rates. Sometimes we'll make minor changes at no charge. Our relationship with our customers is important to us, so we are always very fair in our pricing.

We develop websites in two ways, totally hand-authored websites made from scratch, and template-based websites based on a framework template, but highly customized to reflect your specific business and website requirements. A template-based website can provide more features, and always across all platforms. At Webberman, we'll discuss these options with you when we consult to learn about your website requirements.