Given the fact that 43% of the web is built on this popular content management system (CMS), we wanted to share our honest thoughts on some of the disadvantages of using WordPress.
As a website design agency, we work with a number of content management systems and so are in a great position to give our opinion on what we really think about them. After all, honesty is always the best policy, right?
We believe that having as much information (good and bad) is the best way to make a decision, whether that’s for a new car, hat or website, the concept still applies!
Our clients love WordPress and we build in it regularly, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for everyone’s needs and wants.
Please note that WordPress offer two types of website.
WordPress.com is an out-of-the-box solution, great for small businesses that want to run their website themselves. It offers hosting and website themes/templates and it is great to get started fast. However, you cannot customise these sites very much.
WordPress.org, which is what we work with and what are talking about in this post, is the open source software you download and host wherever you want. Developers can build a website from scratch and customise it as much as they want.
In today’s post, we’re going to discuss 10 disadvantages of using WordPress that we think are important to consider when choosing a suitable CMS for your website.
Limited out-of-the-box functionality
From a developer perspective, compared to other CMS choices one of the disadvantages of using WordPress is that it has limited out-of-the-box functionality. When you get started, a developer will be building from scratch.
If you’re trying to get a customised website online fairly quickly or you don’t want to spend too much money on the technology or development it’s probably not the best fit. A quick solution could be using WordPress.com to get things up and running but with less customisable options.
You might not know this given how popular WordPress is now, but it actually started out as a blogging platform. After an existing blogging software, b2/cafelog was discontinued by its developers, two users decided to build a new platform on top of it.
The first version of WordPress was released in 2003 and thanks to a huge, loyal community around the world, the CMS has grown to be the CMS powerhouse it is today.
To be used so widely across the web, WordPress has evolved over time to support a whole host of online functionality. However, one of the disadvantages of using WordPress is that some elements of the architecture are now feeling pretty old-fashioned.
Given the size of the organisation, it’s likely very hard to shift and change the foundations of the technology. New CMS companies such as Craft CMS, for example, are offering an easier, more intuitive, out-of-the-box approach to building and development compared to WordPress. And this often is more appealing to both developers and clients.
Inexperienced developer pool
With WordPress, it can be quite easy to build a website without a huge level of skill. Given it’s such a popular platform, the demand for WordPress developers is high and many will use it as a way to build out their portfolio and gain experience.
There are so many plugins available, so an inexperienced developer could easily build what you want and in theory, that’s great! However using a lot of plugins really slows your site down and of course, a slower site = fewer conversions.
Working with a more experienced developer means they’re more likely to know how to fix bugs and issues that can occur – sometimes plugins conflict with each other and require additional coding and support. We do recommend a more experienced developer if you need a bespoke feature building from scratch.
In any situation, it’s absolutely key to research who your developer is and ensures they have a good portfolio of work that suits your requirements.
Speed & Security
Watch out for hackers
This sounds terrifying but the risk is only increased due to the size and usage of WordPress – hackers will always target sites they can have the most impact on.
As WordPress is an older CMS it doesn’t have the same level of security built in as standard. We recommend using plugins and systems such as WordFence to increase the security levels and keep your site secure.
The speed of build
Here at Strafe Creative, we’ve been building in WordPress for over 10 years so we’ve created a number of automated workflows that get the build process up and running much faster.
When you start building in WordPress it really is like a website skeleton, compared to some of the newer content management systems that offer a ‘plug and play’ style experience.
Without automation, the whole process of building a website in WordPress can be fairly slow.
Limited quality assurance for plugins
Pretty much anyone can create, add and sell plugins to the WordPress marketplace. This is great as there are so many options available but it does mean they might not be of high quality or do what you want.
Here is our QA checklist for plugins from the WordPress marketplace:
- Is it receiving regular updates and maintenance?
- Check how many downloads it has had (>1000 is best)
- Read the reviews (are they positive?)
- Does it have lots of 5⭐️reviews? (>100 at least)
- Does the system look well supported?
Plugins can slow your site down
There’s a balance with plugins and it all comes down to cost vs value. For example, a plugin that costs £100, might take a developer 10 days to build the same functionality, so probably going to make more sense to just buy the plugin.
For example, contact form plugins make the creation and linking of forms to email systems very simple. You can easily create, update and manage each form and its location on your site. This kind of tool would be a lot of work to build from scratch so is definitely worth using a plugin for.
On the other hand, a plugin that takes 5 mins to install might only take a developer 20 mins to code, and probably will perform better in the long run.
A great example of this is adding Google Analytics or tag manager to your site. In reality, this is just one simple line of code that needs to be inserted into the <head> tag. Despite this, however, a plugin doing the same job might add 50 – 100 lines of code into the same spot. If you do the same with Facebook and LinkedIn pixels you’re adding a lot of extra code and this will bloat the system, slowing your site down.
You’ll need to weigh up the cost vs value for the features and functionality you’re after as the more plugins you do add, the slower your site will become.
Uploading your content
You know that feeling of frustration when you drop an image into a Word document and it moves all your text out of place and then disappears and just causes chaos?
Well, to be honest, sometimes one of the key disadvantages of using WordPress is that uploading content into their basic backend system can feel the same. Limited formatting options, images in the wrong places etc…
Whilst this can we be a struggle, there is actually a solution…
We always recommend using ACF (Advance Custom Fields), a well-supported WordPress plugin that I know most developers use. ACF gives you the option to have individual boxes and sections for content, making life much easier for the content manager once the developer has built it.
When we go live, all Strafe Creative clients have access to the Welcome Dashboard which helps them navigate the back-end system and upload content easily. Learn more about that here.
To tackle this poor content-uploading system, WordPress has revised the backend with a new style called Gutenburg.
Aesthetically it looks clean and better to work with, but many content managers don’t like it and choose to work with the easier, classic version. Over time this will improve, but at the time of writing this, it’s still not that popular with developers and admin.
Compared to some of the other content management systems, the admin panel is a problem with WordPress as it’s very slow.
When I say very slow I’m referring to 5 – 10 seconds of loading time, which doesn’t sound THAT long however in terms of load speed for a website that is pretty long.
If you’re amending content, updating and then refreshing the page over and over with small tweaks, 5 – 10 seconds can feel pretty slow and can really add up.
Of course, many people still love and trust WordPress and are more than happy to wait those few seconds for the pages to update.
We love you really WordPress
Despite all these challenges (every CMS has a few), we regularly build in WordPress and our clients love it.
In general, WordPress continues to remain a hugely popular CMS for a whole host of reasons; lots of plugins, templated themes, the ability to build your own site without much technical knowledge – the list of pros goes on!
But as you know in the spirit of being completely transparent we wanted to make sure you, our reader and researcher, are aware of the possible challenges you could face when working with WordPress. Good luck in choosing the right CMS for you!