WordPress is one of the most robust content management solutions on the web, providing you with a litany of easy-to-use tools that can be utilized to facilitate the web design & development process. Well over 80 percent of websites on the internet today utilize PHP, which is the core language behind WordPress development. The WordPress CMS is also powered and supported by thousands of developers across the globe, with a rapidly growing following. As with all content management systems, there are pros and cons to using WordPress, all of which you should be aware of before starting your next web development project.
Pros of Using WordPress
An Open Source Platform
One of the most beneficial aspects of the WordPress CMS is that it’s an open source website development platform. This system design choice can save you time and money, as the code used for developing a website is entirely free to distribute and modify, so you won’t need to worry about paying licensing fees just to use specific content in the creation of your website. You also won’t need to spend as much time developing your own code (depending on the customization and complexity of your project), as you may often find that your coding solution has already been created by the WordPress community is available for integration into an existing project.
WordPress is the largest self-hosted blogging and website development platform in the world, there is a lot of open source content that you can use when developing your own website. You should also be aware of the fact that many different types of websites have been built with WordPress, from small personal blogs to robust eCommerce shops and Fortune 500 sites, this extremely powerful CMS allows for varying levels of customization for all experience levels.
Thousands of Robust Plugins
When building your website, you may want to highlight your brand while also appealing to users expectations by extending the functionality of your site. One of the easiest ways to make your website stand out from the crowd while also providing site visitors with modern features (that advanced users these days have come to expect) is with the utilization of plugins, of which there are thousands to choose from. These plugins greatly extend the capabilities of your website, from increasing the page speed performance to boosting site security or even adding a social media feed to your website.
There are also plenty of plugins that can assist you in the management of your website, such as Google Analytics+, which tracks exactly when and how users visit your website, an essential tool when you’re attempting to monitor user behavior and increase site traffic and usability. If you’re the owner of a business and are looking for ways to expand and sell your products online, you can utilize the many WordPress eCommerce plugins that allow you to add comprehensive inventory management, order tracking, and purchase notifications, effortlessly creating an online storefront without all of the hassle of having to hire a developer to create this for you. These are just a couple of examples as to what WordPress plugins do and how you can benefit from them.
Ease of Use and Website Management
Once the website is set up, you have the ability to manage and improve various aspects of the website with little to no coding experience required (this is highly dependent on the website theme and original implementation), you don’t have to be a developer to make use of the many features available on WordPress. You can edit your site content, add in new themes and plugins, and make changes to your website images with hardly any technical or computer expertise, allowing you to bolster you brand without the hassle of learning new skills or bringing in new talent to do so, which can help you save your business a lot of money.
One of the primary reasons that WordPress is so easy to use is because it utilizes a database to store and serve up website information, allowing users to easily search your website for archived pages and posts while making it exceedingly easy for you as the owner to manage various types of content throughout the website. The admin interface is very user-friendly, so you won’t need to spend much time learning all the ins and outs of how to tinker with the site settings or add new content to your blog.
Fantastic Platform for SEO
If you’ve been involved with the design or management of a website in the past, you likely understand just how important it is to integrate search engine optimization into your website and its content to generate traffic and ultimately, new business for your website. The WordPress CMS is a fantastic platform for SEO, as it utilizes premier semantic coding practices that allow the user to easily manage the SEO aspects of a website that affect its potential for ranking on Google and other search engines.
There are a wide array of SEO plugins to select from to further your ability to improve your website rankings on search results, including simple plugins that guide you through the best SEO practices each post and page. These plugins also provide you with the option of adding basic H1 tags around keywords as well as meta titles and meta descriptions. With a higher ranking on Google, site traffic will increase dramatically, boosting your chances of converting these leads into loyal customers.
Thousands of Premade Themes to Choose From
Although these “canned” solutions may be utilized by many other website owners across the internet, there are literally thousands of premade themes to choose from, allowing you to implement them in unique ways that will keep your website fresh and original. For those on a budget, these “out of the box” solutions will allow you to manipulate various aspects of your website, tailoring the design to fit your exact specifications without needing to build every facet of the design from scratch (highly dependent upon the theme — not all themes are created equal).
The library of themes available on WordPress includes themes for all industries and types of websites, from eCommerce sites and real estate templates to restaurants and medical industry templates, you’ll be able to find the themes that work best for you and your brand. When you’re searching for the right theme on WordPress, your options are presented to you by layout, features, and subject matter, facilitating the website theme search process.
Cons of using WordPress
Performance Can Be an Issue
While there are plenty of benefits to using WordPress as your content management system of choice, there are also a few cons that you should be aware of before starting the design of your website. For one, performance can be an issue when using this platform, as the over-utilization of plugins and “bloatware” may lead you to find that your website is slowing down, which is largely due to potential plugin conflicts and poor theme design. While many plugins are designed to be compatible across many additional plugins, it’s impossible to account for the code issues that could present themselves when placing a dozen plugins on your website post-setup & design.
Thankfully, the WordPress community is quick to offer solutions in the event that your plugins are causing conflicts or the themes you’ve chosen to integrate into your design aren’t compatible (or for a more personal and complete approach, your local web development team). The basic themes and layouts offered through WordPress should work just fine, but the more comprehensive themes and plugins can cause problems. The possibility of running into issues is particularly prevalent when you create your own custom theme or plugin from scratch. Getting the code you work on to function properly with every other feature implemented on your site can be a hassle if you don’t know how to identify the issue at hand.
Built With PHP
These issues also come into focus if you’re looking to modify the functionality of your site, as you may need to learn how to code and manipulate PHP, which isn’t exactly easy and doesn’t include the streamlined processes and semantic coding practices of newer programming languages. With web technologies advancing on a daily basis, the continual usage of PHP places website owners that use WordPress at a slight disadvantage in comparison to competitors that utilize more modern programming languages, although PHP does have its benefits and is far from the point where it’s no longer beneficial to use WordPress.
Possible Security Flaws
One of the most notable cons of using WordPress is the fact that there are possible security flaws that you’ll have to contend with. With the immense popularity of the platform, and thousands of available plugins to choose from, not all are made equal. Some of these plugins are built directly with vulnerabilities to potential threats and hackers, as a programmer can intentionally input malicious code into their plugins. While the open source environment of this CMS is one of its greatest aspect, it’s also one of the issues that causes hackers to target potential security holes.
If you don’t have much experience in writing code, it’s also possible that you could unintentionally put out poorly written code that could attract hackers to your site. Let’s say you install a plugin onto your newly designed website that allows you to send newsletters to every member who has joined your site. If the plugin has been written with malicious intent, it’s possible for your e-mail list to be sent directly to the developer of this plugin, providing them with access to the e-mail addresses of your customers.
There are, thankfully, ways in which to combat these threats and hackers, although you will typically be required to install updates and various patches on a regular basis in order to keep your website as secure as possible. If you want to update and patch these themes in a quick and efficient manner, you’ll need to know how to do so, which can be tricky if you’ve never done it before (for most plugins, WordPress provides an auto-update feature, allowing you to update your qualifying plugins with the click of a button). Updating certain plugins can also damage compatibility with others. These issues aren’t exactly common, but they can pop up and are frustrating to deal with without the help of a developer. As touched upon previously, members of the WordPress community can provide useful assistance whenever you run into one of these issues.
The Bottom Line
Overall, WordPress is an extremely robust and powerful CMS that can be an effective development solution for any website. Its benefits far exceed its flaws and, with the right development team, can be a highly effective and high performance website for any business.
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