The Many Reasons to be Wary of WordPress
Posted on 03/23/2022 at 10:00 AM
WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) on the web. However, many of the features that draw businesses to WordPress end up being the primary complaints users have. If you're considering a WordPress website for your business, check out this list of WordPress headaches you're bound to run into.
Many of the benefits that attract businesses to WordPress turn out to be some of the biggest pitfalls of the CMS platform. If you keep up with web design and development, you've likely heard how WordPress is inexpensive and easy to use with plenty of themes and plug-ins that allow you to customize your website. While the claims may be true on the surface, they come with a weighty list of caveats.
WordPress claims that you can "Build simply." and that you can "Create any kind of website. No code, no manuals, no limits." These buzzwords are a great selling point for users who don't have custom development experience or who do not want to pay for professional web development services. However, if you want to add different content types, mix themes and plug-ins, and stay up to date with best practices for website health, you'll likely find yourself in over your head.
WordPress is a self-hosted platform, so when it comes to website management and hosting, you're on your own. Managing website hosting without sufficient experience can lead to a whole array of issues from security to functionality to simply keeping your website live. If you can't figure out how to do something or run into a serious issue, you'll likely need to hire a web developer to help.
The cheapest plan on WordPress is incredibly reasonable and comes with one year of no domain charges. However, it's so affordable for a reason. This plan doesn't allow you to upload videos, install plug-ins, auto back up your website data, and more. For about ten times the price of the most affordable plan, you can get the fully upgraded plan with all the bells and whistles. But hidden in all those bells and whistles is a vast array of additional costs.
- Domain Name: WordPress hosting prices do not include your domain name. When you sign-up for any of the packages, you get your domain name free for one year. After that, if you want to keep your website name, you'll have to pay additional annual fees.
- Design & Themes: Naturally, you want your web design to match the branding of your business. You don't want a cookie-cutter WordPress template that a thousand other websites use, you want your website to be your own. But this is going to cost you. Some themes are free, but that comes with the likelihood that your website won't stand out from the competition. So you may want to buy a theme, which can cost you upwards of $200, not to mention the fact that a pre-built theme may not match the functionality you want or that some design aspects require coding knowledge.
- Plug-Ins & Extensions: Plug-ins/extensions can be added to your website to allow you to add SEO tools, extra security, email-marketing tools, and more. However, most of these plug-ins are not free and many WordPress plug-ins have reoccurring fees that just keep stacking up.
- Support: If you can't figure out how to do something, your website breaks/crashes, or you lose your data, you'll likely need to pay a developer to help. Since WordPress can be so complex, the need to hire a developer for support can be never-ending.
WordPress boasts "Thousands of easy‑to‑install add‑ons mean you’ll never outgrow your website. Collect leads, create contact forms, create subscriptions, automatically backup your site, and a whole lot more. No matter what you want to do, there’s a plugin for that." That's all well and good until it isn't. Ignoring the money, time, and frustration that come with thousands of plug-ins, there are even more problems that plug-ins inevitably bring.
- Speed: Thousands of plug-ins to choose from sounds great until you realize that plug-ins slow down your website. Each plug-in you add will make your website slower and slower.
- Compatibility: Plug-ins are made by tons of different vendors and are not necessarily made to be compatible with others. Two plug-ins from two different vendors may cancel out the very functionally you are trying to achieve and can even cause website crashes. Additionally, since plug-ins from different vendors can be so different, they can take a lot of time and effort to figure out.
Say you have some development and coding experience and don't want any plug-ins, extra design, additional functionality, and don't care about hidden costs. If this is the case, the points made thus far may not have you batting an eye. However, there are a host of issues you'll encounter on WordPress.
WordPress is known for its extremely frequent updates. In 2021 alone, WordPress released over two dozen updates. This doesn't account for any theme or plug-in updates (which are also frequent). It's not unreasonable to assume that if you have a WordPress website with a handful of plug-ins, you can expect to do upwards of fifty updates in a single year. Even if you don't mind putting in the time to update your website (which is necessary to avoid website breaks and crashes), you're still stuck with a major issue. WordPress updates, theme updates, and plug-ins can often cause one or more of the features to break.
Easy to Hack
The fact that WordPress is both an open-source CMS platform and one of the most frequently used CMS platforms makes it a prime target for hackers. You can install security plug-ins to try and prevent this, but this does not leave you truly protected. There are plenty of other factors that make WordPress an easy target for hackers:
- Your website (including plug-ins and themes) is not fully updated
- The bounty of nulled or pirated plug-ins and themes that are full of malware
- You haven't added SSL to your WordPress website
- A wide variety of security steps that should be taken, but are often not
- These can be hard to identify, implement, and stay up to date on
Slow Load Speed
Having slow load speed on your website not only creates a bad user experience that can deter visitors from your website, but can also harm your search engine rankings. Load speed is a factor in SEO rankings, so having a slow website will cost you valuable traffic. WordPress remains a consistently slow platform for a wide range of reasons including:
- Heavy plug-ins and themes
- Crowded databases
- Unreliable hosting
- Having lots of images and/or videos
What if you do everything right from keeping your website updated to performing any necessary ongoing maintenance but something still goes wrong? What if your website crashes or is hacked? What if you can't figure out how to make the design, content, or layout changes you want to make? You call support! But it's not always that simple. If you pay for an upgraded website plan on WordPress you get access to live chat support. But there are distinct limitations on what the WordPress support team will help you with. You won't be able to receive help with:
- Third-party plug-ins and themes
- WordPress sites that are hosted by a company other than WordPress
- Writing and editing code
- And more
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