When novice marketers and business owners think of building websites, WordPress is one of the top recommendations they get from their peers. And since 40.9% of all websites are built on this content management system (CMS), it seems like the only logical choice.
It also doesn’t hurt that WordPress has a lot to offer. Customer support is pretty good, the sites can be optimized for search engines, you can tailor it to your needs since it is open-source, and of course, it’s totally free.
But here’s the deal: WordPress may not be the perfect CMS that it’s believed to be.
Yes, a WordPress site is easy to handle and install through the cheapest single-click GoDaddy hosting, but it is actually quite an overkill. You get 1,960,581 code and comment lines from 8 different programming languages – that is what it takes to build a WordPress site!
Here are some more reasons why you should avoid using WordPress to develop your website.
With so many complexities, attacking your website becomes a lot easier for hackers. For instance, if you made a five-page website with WordPress, hackers can attack potential vulnerabilities in over 2100 WordPress files. So if a hacker gets in through one of those, other potential vulnerabilities can also come under attacks like those in Apache, PHP, MySQL, and your server’s operating system.
With a five-page HTML website, you can significantly decrease those entry points to five and eliminate the need for MySQL or PHP.
Besides, it is quite easy for these malicious individuals to figure out that your website’s on WordPress. If you are using the free version, it says WordPress right there in the footer. And since thousands of websites are built like yours, a bug that affects one can be used to put down them all.
The sad part is that even the most talked-about security plugins can’t offer 100% fool-proof protection. Considering these security issues, building a website on WordPress can be a risky proposition.
Since it is open-source software, hundreds of developers are working on WordPress at any given time. This results in an onslaught of updates, and the onus falls on you and your developer to ensure that all of them are installed promptly.
The trouble is that it happens a lot more often than any self-respecting business owner would have the time to deal with. You might even end up getting notifications more than six times a month. WordPress persuades its users to get the upgrades, but not many do.
But on the other hand, website owners who don’t comply can face security issues and risk user’s personal information. Failure to update can also mess up your website because some themes and plugins refuse to work with older versions. Sometimes, things simply break down for no reason at all.
Do you really have the time and tenacity to inspect your website thoroughly every time there’s an upgrade?
You can find thousands of website designs in every color and form on WordPress and external sites like Template Monster. These designs are called Themes, and they essentially take care of your site’s entire front-end styling.
You can pick one that offers a good color scheme, page layouts, suitable fonts, and more design specifications. You download it, install it, and it looks like crap.
The problem with these Themes is that a one-size-fits-all design, no matter how expensive, won’t look very premium with your brand collateral on it.
And so you end up hiring a web developer anyway.
By now, you’ve spent money twice designing a website that’s supposed to be free.
If you want to stand out from the competition, WordPress sites aren’t your best bet. A custom-built website design is always better because it lets you custom-build the front-end instead of opting for something out of a catalog.
WordPress itself is a very bare-bones platform that can’t do much besides handling the content for blogs. It was never built to support websites in the first place.
To deal with these issues, site owners invest in plugins that are small software or add-ons use to add new functionality without altering the basic code of a theme or site template. WordPress has a store that offers more than 50,000 official plugins.
Whether you need better SEO, faster speeds, better analytics, or tighter security, there’s a plugin for that.
The trouble is that the more plugins you add to your site, the bulkier and slower it becomes in the long run. And God forbid if you decide to use an ‘unofficial’ plugin because now you’ve given hackers and malware an easy entryway to your website.
And if it crashes, you won’t have much support to help your website function properly again. Furthermore, since these plugins are from different sources and developers, you can’t expect them to work in harmony.
While WordPress isn’t vulnerable to every malware on the internet, it is susceptible to the following security issues:
WordPress has made a name for being an SEO-friendly platform. But it really doesn’t do much for your SEO unless you’ve bought the right plugin for the job.
The free version has very basic optimization, and it can mess up your SEO by ruining the sitemap. You see, WordPress has a built-in category system and special tagging features that can create duplicates of your pages, and you won’t know about them if you don’t know where to look.
Once the sitemap becomes erroneous, only a professional SEO specialist can fix it for you.
That isn’t very SEO-friendly, now is it?
All these small expenses can add up to big expenditures that can put a strain on your business from the get-go. That’s why from a financial perspective, it makes sense to invest in a bespoke website. It can be a large expense upfront, but you won’t keep bleeding money on a website a year down the line.
We can’t deny that WordPress is great for blogging, and the free version is pretty good until you want more from it.
If you need anything at all, you’ll have to get a plugin. Let’s say you want to sell hand-made goods online; you’ll have to install one of the many shopping cart plugins available to you. Or, if you have a subscription-based business, you’ll have to purchase an expensive extension plugin to go over your shopping cart plugin.
Sure, the directory plugins are free. But they also don’t undergo a review process and conform to any submission guidelines like the commission-based alternatives.
There is another long con in the plugins directory. You install a free version of a plugin, and it performs perfectly alright. You decide to buy the premium version and head to the WordPress Plugin directory to look for it.
Turns out that it isn’t available there. You can only get the premium version from individual websites or third-party markets that aren’t subjected to code reviews. You still pay for it, download, and install it. This is when you realize that your website is now caught in an endless security loophole.
Now you know that free WordPress was never really free at all.
We’ve already discussed how plugins have the power to slow down your WordPress website. But that isn’t the only factor; the platform itself is quite slow and made worse by over-crowded databases and a frustratingly busy codebase.
And suppose you also have heavy images, heavy themes, an unreliable CDN, and bad hosting in the mix. In that case, you can say goodbye to the idea of having a website that loads quickly.
This is a problem because visitors bounce off if a page takes longer than 2 seconds to load. Google also considers load speed a ranking factor for search results.
WordPress powers millions of blogs, and that’s just it.
It was never meant to please visitors, convert them into paying customers, and process payments securely. All these capabilities were an afterthought, and it shows.
If you want to build a run-of-the-mill five-page company website, WordPress is good enough. But if you require a powerful web platform that’s functional and beautiful, there are other options out there that can better fulfill those needs.
When you keep buying plugins, that too from multiple providers, you end up spending a lot of time, money, and people resources on the website. Don’t forget to factor in the time it takes to acquire, connect and operate each tool.
Why would you do that when you can find integrated solutions for the same amount of money but none of the headache?
Don’t leave your digital presence dependent on WordPress. Instead, invest in a commercially viable solution by hiring professional web developers at a reasonable cost who can create the perfect site for you.
Ryan is the VP of Operations for DEV.co. He brings over a decade of experience in managing custom website and software development projects for clients small and large, managing internal and external teams on meeting and exceeding client expectations–delivering projects on-time and within budget requirements. Ryan is based in El Paso, Texas.