I read an interesting article this week on CSS-Tricks on why he’s using WordPress (WP) for his website and why he wouldn’t consider changing. It made a change from the general topic of which CMS was best and it presented conclusions based on personal circumstance as opposed to personal preference.
I felt I could relate to this post and decided to write my own personal summary of how I feel about WP and other CMS’s.
Amazingly WP now powers about 20% of the web – an absolutely astonishing statistic. When I discovered WP I was really amazed at the power I it gave you to create – pretty much – any website you heart desires. Maybe a basic website with a CMS, a ecommerce website or – as I have recently experienced – a online booking system.
Here are a few reasons as to why I think WP really is an amazing tool.
WP is very well made. There are people out there who dedicate their lives to making sure WP is top dog, I imagine the majority of these people will be very skilled professionals at the top of their game. These people release updates and fix bugs in addition to continuously improving an already superb CMS.
Almost all the Front-end developers I have met have used WP at some point in their careers. Chances are if you encounter a problem or issue with WP then someone, somewhere has also encountered and overcome that same issue.
The general friendly nature of the web community means that people like to help others and share their knowledge. Some developers may have made a new plug-in, wrote a tutorial, answered a question or tweeted some advice. Consequently a quick Google search normally resolves any WP problems I have.
WordPress is a very, very powerful tool. It can do pretty much anything a websites requires to some extent. The core WP functionality enable a Web Developer to set up – debatably – the best CMS website for any of their clients.
WP has the best User interface, the best code syntax, the best online documentation, the best online tutorials and the best available literature. It is quite simply – in my eyes – the best CMS around.
Combine that ‘bestness’ with the thousands of plug-ins available – WP becomes a formidable tool.
Yes there’s a but! It’s brilliant for what it is but as I’ve developed and improved as a web person I’ve realised WP does have its drawbacks.
It’s very very heavy. Just look at the amount of files and the capability in a WP build and consider how much of that will actually be used. Many people – including myself – use WP for small sites such as this blog you’re reading now. In my opinion it’s overkill. I’m currently in the process of making my Webknit site completely static. I will update each file by hand when I want something adding, amending or deleting. It’s a laborious task in some aspects, but I guarantee it will be super fast compared to a WP build. If a CMS is essential for you or your clients website then you could consider something such as Statamic. By removing the database and using flat files, CMS’s like this are fast and, at the same time include many WP benefits such as a control panel, themes and add-ons.
Another thing I find very frustrating about WP is that the code within plugins is often very poor. They are definitely not something I could use at my workplace where high standards are essential. The plug-in might work, but can you guarantee it’s 100% secure, as fast as can be and it’s not going to break anything?
In addition to these things making your own code means you have complete control over how it functions, looks and more importantly how it can be fixed, expanded or improved.
I guess the whole argument depends on many different circumstances. Who your client is? What the site’s for? Who’s using it? And probably the biggest question – what your budget/time-frame is?
WP is great to get a site set up quickly and cheaply and it generally will be the best option for most developers. However for bigger, bespoke sites or people who want the best then custom code may be the way forward.
Long live WordPress!