A few days I was invited to the American Express Open forum. This is a social network built around American Express card holders. Thinking access to this social network of business owners could help me in my continual quest to learn more about our clients I decide to post some "market research" questions. In the forum you can post questions to the Open forum and other business owners can chime in with their "advice". The questions I posed were "Is a website something you build yourself or hire someone to do build for you?" and "How much can I expect to pay for a website?".
After a short time the responses to make questions began to roll in. One thing I found in common with the answers provided by these so called "experts" was that I could build a site on my own with Wordpress. I also found plenty of people who feel I should pay between $5k and $25k to build my website and were happy to do it for me -- but I'll save that for another day.
What I'd like to address today is the question about whether WordPress is a good way to build a website. In short my answer to the question is a resounding -- "No!". Here are 10 reasons why WordPress is a horrible way to build a website. If you disagree don't hesitate to state your case in the comments section. I'm not saying WordPress is good for nothing -- just not good to build a website and heres why...
1. You'll need to buy separate hosting.
WordPress is code that needs to live on a server and is not a service. You can buy it as a service but it will be very limited and not provide enough flexibility for you to turn out a website. Instead you'll end up having to pay for separate hosting and then install and configure WordPress in that environment. You'll find a bunch of people who say how "easy" this is and then promptly turn around and recommend you watch a series of tutorial on the subject --- doesn't sound easy to me if I have to take classes on the subject.
2. It's hard to configure and install.
I alluded to this above but WordPress is a pain to configure. Simply put, you're not going to be able to do that without advanced knowledge of hosting, code, and software. There are some services that can make this easier but everything comes with a trade off. At the end of the day you're going to need to install WordPress on a server so you better know the directory structure and get used to tweaking a config file.
3. Attaching your domain name is a pain.
When you setup WordPress your domain name isn't going to automatically start working like magic. In fact, that only happens with WebStarts and I wish more people realized it for my sake. If you choose to build your website with WordPress you'll need to create some sort of record in whatever software you're using as a webserver and then point your domain name to that record.
4. It's not flexible.
Everyone says WordPress is so flexible. I've never found this to be the case. WordPress was designed from the ground up to be a blogging platform. I'll talk more about that later but this means no matter what you do WordPress is designed for text to be published in a series of inline posts. A bunch of companies have tried to solve this problem but at the end of the day there's no real drag and drop easy way to designer a unique website in WordPress. All you can do is manipulate blocks of content. The end result is often time having a site that looks like hundreds of others that used a similar theme.
5. It's hard to use.
If all you want to do is type text into a box then WordPress is not too hard to use. Yes, you'll have to overcome the complexities of configuring and installing it but if you just want to run a blog WordPress is reasonably easy to figure out. If you want to upload photos, add a form, take payments, or really any other function that makes a website valuable to your business forget about it. You'll need to find "Plug-ins" to do most of these things and everyone one of those plug-ins will need to be installed and configured. If you make it past that hurdle there's little rhyme or reason to where you can expect to manage those plug-ins in the backend.
6. It's one dimensional.
Again, WordPress was designed from the ground up to be a blog platform and if that's what you're using it for it's fine. If you want to try to run your website on it you're going to run into limitations. It wasn't designed to be an all-in-one website solution. You're better off with a website builder like https://webstarts.com.
7. They all look the same.
I touched on this earlier but since you can't really create a WordPress template without knowing how to code you're going to end up choosing an existing theme. Although there's a wide selection of themes available on the web there are really only about 6 different layouts to choose from. Everything else is just a images, and typography swapped out. If your website looks like a theme or a template your customers will think you're not committed to putting time into your website and move on.
8. Features are difficult to install and manage.
Earlier I mentioned plug-ins. If you want to sell something from your website, gather contact information, or do just about anything else you're going to need to find and install plug-ins. Those plugins are going to have their own learning curve. Many times these plug-ins end up costing money, being out of date, or being buggy. Since WordPress is an opensource platform anyone can create these plug-ins. That can be both good and bad. Good because there are a lot of plugins available but bad because a lot of them are crap.
9. SEO is overrated.
There's so much talk on the internet about WordPress being good for SEO but this is simply not true. I've created content with WordPress in an attempt to get better search engine ranking and found that the pages I've created with WordPress actually get worse rank than those I created with other tools. I personally believe this is due to the fact WordPress is a popular tool for cranking out spam. I suspect Google isn't as impressed with content created in WordPress because so many people are trying to create link bait using it.
10. It's not for websites -- It's for blogs.
Once again I'll point out WordPress was never meant to be a way to build website but rather a way to create a blog. Blogs are highly informational while websites are not necessarily. For that reason WordPress is a good tool to get text published to the internet. It's not a good solution if you want to do publish images, video, contact forms, sell products, or really anything else that has to do with making money.
In summary I know I'll probably get some haters for being so harsh about WordPress and of course I'm biased towards https://webstarts.com to create websites. But let's face it, if WordPress was everything it's been hyped to be I wouldn't have ever needed to create WebStarts. Take the time, do your own investigation, and make an informed decision. Trolls and haters feel free to comment below.