Word Press: Benefits and Challenges

In 2005 my company Kenosis Designs opened in Wake Forest, N.C.  At that time I had been building websites as a hobby since 1998.  I had gained some notoriety as a designer but programming was not my thing.  If you ask our senior programer Kristi she will tell you I am still not.

In those days, unless you were a enterprise level company, sites were all written in HTML and some scripting by hand and designs were cryptic and browsers were limited in what they could do.  It was a new frontier to see who could create the next thing. This new thing called a blog was coming available. Word Press among many other tools emerged. It was for bloggers only. Other tools called content management systems were popping up here and there.  They were amazing and yet in their infancy.  They were full of bugs and many of them were open source which means they were developed by a lot of people.

We chose to white label our own CMS product and worked on a product that we felt had a future. We didn’t see WordPress becoming anything more than a blog tool.  Little did we know, in a few years it would become the largest CMS and now the most widely adopted website platform in the world.  There are over 80 million installs of it today. It powers 26.4% of the the websites in the world and 56% of the market share in content management systems. (According to ManageWP.com)

While it is celebrated my many, it is panned by some as well.  What we want to do is outline some very basic but important reasons to use this product and some cases where it may not be the right fit.

Benefits

  • FREE – It is amazing that this kind of software is no cost to you to own and use.
  • Widely Accepted – It is the most popular CMS tool on the internet by far.
  • Serviceable – Anyone who knows PHP and MySql can program for it.
  • Community – Help is always available somewhere.
  • Extendable – Almost 500k plugins that do almost anything you can imagine. Many are free and many others are reasonable in cost.
  • Regularly Updated – WordPress seeks to keep their software up to date and secure.
  • Customizable – Free / Paid themes abound or you can have something built from the ground up.
  • Powerful – The tools available for WordPress today are powerful enough for just about any small to medium business enterprise. It is only getting better.
  • Affordable – You can spend what you want on a WordPress website. Budgets can range from 1,500.00 to 25,000.00+  easily. Start small and grow big.  You may outgrow WordPress at some point but what a great problem to have.

Challenges

  • Limitations – For enterprise level and some corporations the database structure of WordPress is not able to handle queries and calculations that push MySql to its limits.
  • Security – Though WordPress works hard to keep it secure, because it is the most widely adopted platform it is a target for hackers.  Make sure you have professionals reviewing your security needs.
  • Plugin Conflicts – Because there are so many different contributors there are times when conflicts occur interfere with functionality. Testing and work arounds can cost time and money.
  • Credibility – This is not a WordPress issues but an issue with WordPress plugin developers.  Vetting and knowing the quality of the plugins you purchase is very important. It is also important to keep them up to date.
  • Professional Set Up – While WordPress can be set up by an end-user is it not always easy or as time efficient as some SAAS systems (Squarespace, Wix etc) The trade off here is customization and monthly fees. WordPress works best when a professional sets it up and guides people in how to use it. It has a front-end cost but then low cost to maintain. SAAS systems are limited in functionality and have on-going costs. However WordPress will cost money to set up and do right.