Name recognition is gold. When you think “search engine,” (almost?) everybody thinks Google. It’s a brand so well-known that it has become a verb.
Although probably not quite as ubiquitous, ask people about a platform on which websites are built and the most likely response is going to be WordPress. That’s not surprising – more than 65% of all sites on the web are built using WordPress.
But being popular does not always mean being the best, and as a content management system (CMS), WordPress does have its limitations.
Many of the challenges in WordPress come from people trying to make it do more than what it was intended to do. WordPress started out as a blogging platform, but problems began to arise when people tried to make it act as a proper CMS.
In short, developers and others expanded the functionality of blogging sites by adding plugins. A plugin is a bit of programming or software that adds a specific feature to the website. Easy to install, and often free, there is a large and open marketplace for plugins that can be downloaded right into the WordPress site, without having to do any custom coding.
But using plugins can cause problems with your entire website:
1. They can create security issues.
Anyone can create a plugin and make it available, without any guarantee that it is free from bugs or security vulnerabilities. It makes it easy for malicious software to attack your entire site, not just that particular plugin. The sheer number of WordPress sites also makes it a target for hackers.
2. They can slow down your website.
All those plugins take up CPU capacity, and some plugins (especially older ones), can be bloated and inefficient. Because those plugins are designed by different people, there can be issues with how they “play” with one another. The more plugins added, the slower the site will be.
3. Some plugins are just plain bad.
There are thousands of plugins available, many of which are built by very good programmers and which work very well. But there are also many that are developed by people who are not good at programming, resulting in plugins that have errors and bugs. There are no quality standards for plugin developers!
4. They need to be updated frequently.
WordPress frequently releases updates. Some of those are needed to ensure all those plugins work well together. But updates are not always upgrades, and there’s no guarantee that all the plugins that did work together on your site will continue to play nicely after an upgrade.
5. They can result in lower SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
An out-of-the-box WordPress site has some basic SEO capability, but to increase the ability of Google and other search engines to find your site, additional plugins are needed. Those plugins are not always effective as the tools found in a proper CMS and they pose the same type of risks as other plugins.
A word about cost
One of the big attractions of WordPress sites is its initial price. An out-of-the-box site, even with a number of paid plugins, is less expensive to do an original build than many full-functional CMS platforms. But initial price is just one part of cost. Over the lifespan of a WordPress site, you can expect to spend more on maintenance as you address these types of plugin issues, including the need to buy updated versions of the plugins used on the site.
Why does all this matter? Your website is the place where people find out about you and learn more about you. If your site can’t be found because of poor SEO, is clunky and slow (or worse, not secure), you’ve lost an opportunity to engage.
However, even with all this, there is still a place for WordPress sites, and Blueprint has years of experience in building them. What we bring to the table is the expertise in finding the right theme and the right plugins to help make the site work the way you want, and the support to make sure it continues to work in the future. We also build sites on other platforms (most notably, the Concrete CMS) that often work better than WordPress.
Contact us if you want to learn more about the best solution for your website.