The Pros and Cons of WordPress Websites
Since its beginning in 2003, WordPress has become the biggest content management system (CMS) on the market , 40% of all websites in the world are using WordPress. It has grown from its early days as a blogger platform and today is used for directories, forums, galleries, business websites, online shops and more.
WordPress (WP) is the most popular platform we use to build client websites for a couple reasons. It’s the platform of choice for clients that want a content management system as it is considerably more affordable than building a custom CMS website without this open-source software. As well, WordPress offers extensive functionality options with all the various plugins available.
If you’re considering WordPress for your website, we will highlight the PROs and CONs to help you sort out the details. Let’s start with all the things WordPress has going for it.
The Pros of using WordPress
1. WordPress Websites are Easy to Use
WordPress started as a blogging platform, it was developed so that it would be easy for a beginner to navigate, edit blog articles and upload content. No prior coding or web development experience needed. WordPress has changed over the years and now includes website builders, templates, and a robust content management system so it can be used for any kind of website which is the main reason it is so popular. Their easy-to-use backend system lets you easily keep files and content organized so users don’t need to have any technical experience to manage a website and keep it up to date. It might be a bit overwhelming if you are a beginner and want to build a new website from scratch, however WordPress has a ton of tutorials to help you along the way. If you don’t have time to figure out how to build a new website, then its a good idea to contact a reputable web development agency.
2. WordPress is an Open-Source Platform
A major advantage of WordPress is that it’s open-source software which allows developers to easily change and use the code without having to program it from scratch. Open-source software is agile, so developers can solve problems multiple ways and share the code with other programmers.
Being an open-sourced web publishing software gives you unrestricted access to all of the platform’s features and capabilities. Not only that, this web publishing builder is likely to be around for a long time since the software is not maintained by one company or person.
If you have a website that was built with proprietary software that only a small group of programmers can work on, you might have a very difficult time getting support. Having a website that’s open sourced is especially helpful since there are many skilled WordPress developers and web design agencies that can assist you if you ever need to make changes to your website.
3. WordPress Websites are Relatively Inexpensive
As an open-source software, WordPress is free to install, use and modify to match your websites needs. It can be used to create any kind of website, from a blogging site, to a service informational website to a full ecommerce store. There are also countless themes to choose from, giving a professional look with a low-cost price tag or you can have a custom WordPress website built so you can really stand out from the crowd. Many technically inclined people in the WordPress community share their expertise through forums which can mean free support for you. Because the software is open source, programmers share code online saving your budget through less development time.
However, we do offer a word of caution in this regard. Although we are sharing this as a “pro” the costs can add up when using plugins. The more you use, the more complex the site becomes. And when using many plugins to customize your site, you may require the services of a professional to ensure they are working together in the way you intend them to. Be sure to consider all of the factors when it comes to price.
4. WordPress Websites are SEO-Friendly
We all know the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) but how easy is it to implement on your site? WordPress actually makes it straightforward. WP software has many SEO plugins to ensure your site is optimized, we highly recommend using RankMath or Yoast SEO as these are currently the best optimization plugins. Both RankMath and Yoast allows you to easily setup your website’s meta tags, page titles, meta descriptions and sitemaps. It also provides a visual of how your meta descriptions or how your blog will look in search results.
However, to truly win with search engine optimization, we recommend working with an expert that will help you target keywords and can compose strong meta descriptions and write engaging SEO-friendly content and blogs for your site. Our ZOO keepers have the understanding and experience to fully optimize your website so potential and current clients can find you.
5. WordPress is Responsive
The thousands of WP templates that are available are all created to be fully responsive. This means that as the screen size changes the website layout adjusts based on the device being used, so it will look great on laptops, mobile phones, ipads and tablets. With an increasing amount of surfing done on mobile phones today, having a responsive/mobile-friendly website with consistency across all devices is very extremely important for the user-experience.
6. WordPress has over 60K Plugins
A big advantage to using WordPress is that it offers over 60,000 plugins to create a great user experience. There’s a plugin for pretty much every function, from improving SEO, monitoring web analytics to anti-spam protection. Plugins allow you to customize and improve any WordPress informational website or online ecommerce store.
Note that using too many plugins could negatively affect your website’s performance, we will talk about this later when discussing the CONS. When it comes to ecommerce websites, there are some great plugins that will help with inventory management, provide purchase notifications, and track orders.
7. WordPress Websites are Robust and Flexible
The great thing about WordPress is its super flexible. You can use it to build a simple 1-page scrolling website, a multi-page and multi-language websites, for blogs, corporate intranet sites and even custom robust e-commerce websites and integrate it with other software such as CRM, accounting, or inventory systems. You can start with a small website and add to it over time.
WordPress Cons and How to Fix them
1. Frequent Software and Plugins Updates are Required
Although previously mentioned for cost efficiency and the multiple plugins available, this can have a downside. In addition to the cost adding up, the more plugins you add to your website the more you need to ensure they are all working in unison. In order for WordPress to stay secure, there are continual upgrades being done to the core software. There are also frequent theme and plugin updates happening too and if they are not done on a regular basis, it can have a negative affect on your website.
If your website will be a DIY adventure, you may run into trouble when updating the core WordPress software. This could impact the functionality of your website if the site wasn’t designed with best practices in mind. Always gauge the quality of a plugin and install with caution.
When designing your website, there are several ways you can use WordPress. Depending on the skill level of your in-house staff, you may choose to go completely on your own and use a template but remember our caution about plugins and updates. Or, you can hire an experienced and creative team to design and build a custom WordPress website for your business and they would find the best plugins to ensure you have a solid, user and SEO friendly website that will appeal to your target audience.
2. WordPress Sites are More Vulnerable
Another potential drawback of WordPress websites is the fact they can be subject to security breaches. It makes sense that because it is the most popular platform on the internet, it is a target for hackers and spammers.
The way to avoid these hacking incidents is to ensure the WordPress core software and plugins are always updated. Most software updates are released to improve security to try and stay ahead of hackers, so it’s crucial to keep your website up to date. Our clients can choose to implement their own updates or trust our ZOO team to do them. You can do these updates yourself and 95% of the time the site will not be adversely affected. However, in some cases an update to a plugin or WordPress core will cause a conflict between plugins and the core, affecting the functionality or site design. This is because WordPress and plugin developers generally do not launch updates at the same time.
When doing the WordPress core software update, it is recommended that a backup of the site files are taken just in case there are massive conflicts, and you need to revert back to the previous version of the site. At ZOO Media Group, we generally do updates once a month rather than the minute they are released and have not had issues with this approach. The one warning about doing the updates yourself is that if there is an issue, your developer or one of our ZOO WordPress experts may not be able to jump on the fix right away due to project scheduling.
If you’d like our team to take care of updates, we can do it monthly or even every couple of months (sometimes there are not a lot of updates released). In most cases, there are no issues, but if there are issues, we are on the site and can address it right away. We also take a backup of the site to ensure there will be no down time in the event there are issues resulting from the software updates.
We generally leave it up to our clients concerning how they would like to manage their website rather than setting a regular schedule for updates. It is highly recommended that WordPress website software is kept up to date. In addition to potential damage to search ranking, hacking incidents are more time consuming and expensive to clean up, so spending the time to keep the site updated throughout the year will be more cost effective. Some web agencies charge ongoing monthly fees for website maintenance. We choose not to because some months there will be very little work to do, and we only want to charge our clients for actual time spent working on the site. As well, some of our clients choose to do the updates themselves and only contact us if issues arise from the updates.
3. WordPress Sites Can Get Expensive
I previously mentioned that WordPress can start out to be relatively inexpensive due to it having a lot of plugins and templates. However, the fact that WordPress websites are vulnerable to hackers due to its popularity and has frequent software and plugin updates, this will add to the development and maintenance costs. We recommend opting for paid plugins that will provide the site with better security. You might also want to stay away from the overused free WordPress templates and go with a unique custom designed and developed WordPress website instead. It will stand out, have cleaner code, will be faster and provide a better user experience to your customers. Having a well designed and developed WordPress website is still considerably cheaper than building a custom content management system from scratch.
4. WP Templates have Slow Page Speed
Having a site that has slow page loading speed is one of the biggest disadvantages of WordPress websites. If you are using a WordPress template, most of these are often oversaturated with databases, extra code and multiple plugins which can slow your site speed.
Other things that can slow down the speed include using oversized images and graphics or unreliable hosting.
A slow loading website will hurt the user experience, which could result in lost business because your audience will get impatient and leave. If visitors leave your website quickly, it will result in a high bounce rate and will end up hurting your search engine rankings.
Note that Google uses page speed as one of the factors in its ranking algorithms, so this could penalize your website if it loads slowly. At ZOO Media Group, we can assist in removing any unused code on an existing WordPress website and we always ensure the websites we build are clean coded and fast.
5. WordPress Customization Costs
As mentioned earlier, WordPress is very flexible however if you are using a template and want to make a change that isn’t part of the template design, then customization will be required. If you are not a seasoned WordPress developer with lots of experience, then making these changes yourself will not be possible. Custom WordPress website development changes can be expensive depending on what’s needed.
Don’t let these flaws deter you. Many of the disadvantages mentioned above can be rectified by any reputable web development agency or experienced programmer. There are many factors to consider when building a new WordPress website. We strongly recommend you discuss your website needs with web developers that are expert in building custom WordPress websites or templates. If you still have questions, reach out to us today. As always, we are here to help.