WordPress allows people to build good looking websites in a few minutes

I don't build WordPress websites, this is why

Fri 21st Apr 2017

WordPress is one of the most widely used content management system in the world. It allows people to build good looking websites in a few minutes using themes, plugins and WYSIWYG editors. Despite all these features, WordPress has some severe pitfalls that can affect your online presence.

If you are considering using a WordPress developer, it is essential for you to consider the common flaws within the platform:

1. Vulnerability to hackers and spammers

Most attacks are carried out by bots (or botnets) - which crawl websites looking for vulnerabilities to exploit. The bots don't carry out sophisticated attacks, but they are used because they can quickly exploit a large number of sites. WordPress is used very widely, the same database and file structure across hundreds of thousands of websites, setup with varying degrees of expertise, make WordPress sites an easy target for bots. 

WordPress are good at releasing updates to patch security holes, but if you don't keep up with these your website becomes more vulnerable to attack. The other weakness of a WordPress website could be an old version of a theme or plugin that has a security flaw, see point 5 below.

2. Bloated code

Bloated code is one of the major reasons I don't build WordPress websites. Speed is so important and unnecessary code slows things down. Most themes and plugins are bloated to start with because they contain features some users don't want or need. As you add content to your site, the WYSIWYG editor generates cluttered HTML. There are ways to reduce this problem, by installing HTML/CSS/JS minifiers, but these can cause other issues and conflicts.

3. Easy setup

Yes, I've put this as a disadvantage! The fact that WordPress websites are easy to setup means that anyone with a computer or laptop can set themselves up as a WordPress 'developer' and they can set up sites that look impressive... but that's where it ends, a badly setup WordPress website can be unsecure, slow and not perform well in terms of SEO.

3. No Tech Support

In most cases, WordPress doesn’t provide technical support to their end users. It crowdsources support through the WP community. You can find various support forum posts that are left unsolved or unanswered, or worse still, provide inaccurate or bad quality solutions.

4. User Privileges and User-Generated Content

WordPress treats registered users as the site owners or editors. And the login and profile pages, by default, are designed as admin pages. This means that non-technical people have access to edit technical aspects of the site, leading to a variety of issues including layout problems or potentially a broken website.

5. Upgrades and Plugins

Your WordPress site and any plugins you use will need to be updated regularly to help try to avoid security issues but, because WordPress is open source, you never know how your website might react to an update or how well the update or plugin has been programmed.

6. Free Themes

There are a plethora of free third-party themes that come with all sorts of tempting offers, but these can contain hidden codes and links which compromise the integrity of your website. Instead of using a third-party theme, you should find an official WordPress theme to avoid such issues.

7. SEO

WordPress sells itself as an SEO-friendly platform that automatically optimises your website and boosts its ranking on various search engine platforms. But in reality, WordPress can create problems if you don’t have enough knowledge about good SEO techniques and practice. The major issue is the tagging and category system, which can create duplicates, incoherent urls and a confusing site map.

Conclusion

In the right hands, WordPress is a great platform for developing high-quality websites, but it has some disadvantages that could land you in trouble. It looks as if I've picked unfairly on WordPress, but many of the points above apply to other website builders or building systems. Custom content management systems present their own set of issues, but I believe that they are far outweighed by the benefits. 

My websites are built using a custom content managagement system which only contains the features you need, so your website code will be lightweight and fast. Even the least technical end user will be able to navigate the admin system and can't break the website, but will be able to add their own content in a quick, easy and SEO friendly way. I offer to show my clients how to use the CMS but in reality, very few people take me up on the offer after having a look on their own and being able to use it straight away.

I've been designing and developing websites for Suffolk and Essex businesses for over six years, if you want to work with me, call me on 07920 096283 or contact me to find out how I can help you.

by Rachel Watson