WordPress

A Review of WordPress 2019.

Want to know if WordPress is the right solution for your business? Lets find out about the pros and cons of the world's most popular CMS.

WordPress is the world’s most popular and widely used Content Management System (CMS), and while it’s well-known for being a blogging platform, it also dominates in other areas such as e-commerce.

To put this into context, W3Tech’s [1] usage statistics from April this year (2019) shows that WordPress powers about 33.5% of all websites online – which is a pretty huge deal if you think about it! This is including all other CMS avaliable + customed ones.

However, this does not mean that WordPress is the best choice for every business model. Your brand is unique and requires the most appropriate solution to fit your needs. 
Lets discuss the pros and cons of WordPress CMS to find out if it might be something for you!

Pros of using WordPress.

To be honest, the advantages of using WordPress to build your website deserves an article of its own. But here’s a summary of some pros.

62% of the top 100 fastest growing companies in the US (@inc5000) use WordPress.

– Nelio Software [2]

Accessibility.

As you might know, one of our focus values is making digital products accessible for everyone, and that’s one reason why we love WordPress. The team behind this CMS puts a lot of effort into making WordPress accessible and they have regular team meetings, as well as guidelines for both content managers and theme/plugin developers to keep testing and improving their system’s accessibility.

Easy installation.

Many hosts have one-click installation for getting WordPress up and running within minutes. And for those who don’t, WordPress can very quickly be uploaded and set up on your server, either by a developer or if you’re a bit tech savvy you could follow a tutorial.

Free and open source.

This means that the source code behind the WordPress software is released under a license where everyone has the right to study, change, and distribute the software for any purpose. This offers powerful features for growth and success because the CMS is supported by a large community of people contributing to the project. It also means that WordPress is completely free to use.

SEO friendly.

WordPress works well with SEO for many reasons; you have the ability to edit your permalinks, metadata is added automatically, your images are SEO-optimized – there are also several famous SEO plugins to assist you further.

Scalable and changeable.

The way WordPress works with themes and plugins makes it easy for you to setup a website and get started, then change it’s design by switching theme or adding more functionality by installing plugins as you continue developing your website and business model.

Supported by a great community.

This might be connected to the “open source” aspect, but it’s really worth its own space. There’s hundreds of thousands of developers, content creators, and site owners dedicated to make WordPress what it is. That community comes together to analyze, collaborate, to question things and solve problems – maintaining the system and keep improving the experience with WordPress.

Cons of using WordPress.

WordPress i not perfect, but then again; no software is. Here are some of its disadvantages.

Security is in your hands.

Putting the security aspect here might seem unfair to those who know WordPress well and regularly work with the CMS, so we want to highlight the fact that any security issue one might have with WordPress does not come from the fact that the WordPress core itself would be an insecure system to use. Sure, all software has vulnerabilities – but the team behind WordPress take security very seriously and they always strive to prevent and fix issues. What makes this insecure is the fact that YOU are in charge of your website (unless you hire an agency for hosting that includes support), this means that you’re responsible for setting good passwords, making backups, installing updates, deleting unnecessary themes and plugins, etc. All of these things require your attention, automatically making your website vulnerable if you don’t.

How about website speed?

It is unfortunately very easy to make your WordPress website slow. The community behind WP try to keep it as efficient as possible, but because it’s a CMS and not a customed made webpage just to fit your needs, there might be many features included that you don’t use – making downloading all of it unnecessary. Also, some people like to add a lot of plugins (and they all come with their full set of features) as well as use page builders on top of WordPress, and then you have all of their functionalities that you probably just use maybe half of. 
Together, they all increase the physical size of the webpage, thus slowing down its delivery time.

What kind of websites can you make with WordPress?

One of the common misconceptions about WordPress has been that it’s mainly for blogging. The CMS’s purpose was that at one point, but as we’ve mentioned above the software is supported by a great community that continues developing the platform which has drastically changed its capabilities over the years.

Nowadays you can use WordPress for almost any purpose. Here are some suggestions:

  • Booking systems
  • Blogs
  • Business websites
  • Customer relationship management (CRM)
  • E-commerce
  • E-learning
  • Forums / chatrooms
  • Membership sites
  • Portfolios

The list is (almost ????) endless!

Recommended ReadingImprove Your Website’s User Experience.

What you need to know when choosing WP.

It’s easy to make mistakes that cost time and money. That’s why we’ve included these things to know before you get started with creating your first website with WordPress.

WordPress is user-friendly, but you may need a developer.

When it comes to adding and editing pages, writing blog posts, or adjusting things like the menu, WordPress is about as easy as it gets. Depending on what themes and plugins you’re using, doing more advanced changes may be possible too.

But for the average website owner, you’ll want someone around who can get technical. Especially if you want a customized site. And even if you’re using an already customized site, continuous tech support can be a huge asset.

Self-hosted WordPress site vs WordPress.com

Many users new to WordPress wrongly assume WordPress.com is the only place to create a WordPress website. WordPress.com offer a ‘fully hosted’ WordPress service and the basic hosting service is free, but limited. You can therefore buy different add-ons or upgrade packages that are available.

With self-hosting, you yourself choose the provider who will host your WordPress site on their servers. Here you can choose your own domain name and have unrestricted access to themes and plugins.

In our experience, almost all businesses choose to self-host WordPress.

Change your settings.

With a clean and fresh WordPress site, you need to change the site title, tagline, timezone and other settings. Simply head over to Settings –> General to set this up, see figure 1.

It is also good to add an SEO plugin, caching plugin, setup WordPress comments, delete default content, upload a gravatar to display user photos, and install Google Analytics / Google Tag Manager while you’re at it with the settings and all. ????????

wordpress_settings

Figure 1

Think about responsive design.

Responsive design means making your site easy to use on multiple devices. This means that it works well with mobile and tablets by having menus and other widgets that are easy to navigate with.

Look for features like a fluid site grid and flexible images that can translate to non-desktop devices. An example of a responsive theme would be one that can easily translate on a mobile device without any problems.

Use plugins with care.

It’s always a better practice to install a few really important plugins, even though the WordPress plugin directory contains thousands!

In case you don’t know, adding too many plugins to a site comes with a price. Some of the problems to expect include page speed problems, the increased security risk, and incompatibility with other plugins (which will produce errors).

Backup!

Creating backups is the only way to make sure that you can easily recover your website in case of a disaster. Luckily, there are several great WordPress backup plugins to create backups. However, in some cases your hosting company will do this for you (which is great because; automation!) – so ask if you’re unsure.

Setup your website for security.

WordPress is quite secure out of the box. However, you still need to follow best practices to keep your website secure.

Some of these best practices are quite easy to do, like using strong passwords and regularly installing updates.
But we recommend that you read our article about how to secure your website for more information and an overview of how important security is, including a checklist for steps to take. In that article, we also talk about spam protection. Spam comments and e-mails can be quite problematic, they are both annoying and most of them contain links to malicious websites. Spam comments can affect your search rankings and your website’s reputation. 

When to hire a web agency, and when to do it yourself.

This is probably a question you’ve asked yourself before, especially if you’ve sent some inquiries to web agencies and the quote you got back was just over your head.  From this perspective you might ask yourself: what’s the value of hiring a WordPress agency anyway?
We’ve seen this happen before, and are here to clear things up.

We would say that, if in doubt – hire a professional! That means if you’ve never touched code or at all feel uneasy about what we’ve written in the previous chapters; better safe than sorry.

You will, most surely, always end up paying someone anyway. 
From our experience, many businesses start by doing it themselves – then move on to hiring a freelancer that takes an inhuman salary and it turns out he doesn’t know a thing either (and leaves you hanging before deploying, or finishes with bugs) – then having to pay a professional consultant or agency for fixing all of this mess. 
Just as I’m writing this in April 2019, one of our awesome partners are cleaning our new customer’s hacked WordPress site. This site was set up wrongly from the beginning (NOT by us!), and was, after a while, hacked with a URL injection which screwed up all their SEO placements (Google even ended up blacklisting their domain) until they moved over to our agency for help and now we’re cleaning up this mess.

Furthermore:

  • Even if WordPress in itself is free, you always need to pay for hosting. Web agencies work in this business, and are more than aware of good hosting companies out there. Something to take with you: choose a hosting with servers located where your customers reside.
  • The agency will most surely help you to set up a great content plan for how to make sure your website suits your target audience, keeping SEO in mind (or at least, we do ????).
  • The majority of businesses will want to have a professional design, tailored to their brand. This means customization or a more professional looking and unique theme than the free ones.
  • A good web agency will take care of your website’s loading speed and help you to optimize the content, like images.
  • We should not forget about implementing GDPR and the Web Accessibility Directive.
  • As well as setting up features like contact forms and similar functionalities.
  • Oh, and another thing: the security aspect – again.

There are many reasons to hire an agency instead of creating the website yourself. If you are in that situaton where you’re considering this: contact us! We’re more than happy to help you figure it, at least you’ll get some tips.

Also, remember that websites are never “done”. They need to be kept updated and maintained both tech- and content-wise. So if you hire a WordPress agency, try to see if they have you covered with regards to that aspect so you don’t have to do it yourself. It’ll give you some peace of mind.

Conclusion .

At Looping.Tech we absolutely love WordPress and it’s almost always the first choice we consider when discussing a digital solution for a client – however, please note that doesn’t mean it’s the solution we’ll end up choosing. And what we base that choice upon it something we’ll always discuss with the client – we’re never shy to consult or discuss with you regarding your solution. Lets take two examples:

  • A client wants a WordPress website because they’ve heard so many great things about the platform, or maybe all of their competitors are using it. But as a web agency, we understand that some users may not actually need WordPress. For example, if the client just want a small website and does not need to change it regularly or continuously put out new content – they would probably be fine with a simpler solution.
  • A client owns a small e-commerce business and have read that Magento is a robust e-commerce platform. We agree! Magento is an incredibly powerful software, but for cases like these the client could benefit a lot from using Woocommerce or another WordPress e-commerce plugin instead. They are not only easier to get started with, they have a lower cost, large amount of themes to choose from, and work well with a website that might have another focus than just e-commerce (like blogging, or other content focused sites).

To summarize, we love this system because of its ability to do so many things while also being very user-friendly, and because the community is always eager to take its functionality a step further. We think that if you choose to build your website with WordPress, there are lots of exciting possibilities to come in the future.

That’s all from us for now.
Are there any other articles or questions about using WordPress that you want us to make clear? Or any specific tips that have worked for you?
We’d love to hear about them and as always, thanks for your feedback and support! Let’s keep #thepowerofcommunity going. ❤️

References.

[1] “Usage Statistics and Market Share of WordPress for Websites, April 2019”, W3techs.com, 2019. [Online]. Available: https://w3techs.com/technologies/details/cm-wordpress/all/all. [Accessed: 04- Apr- 2019].

[2] “WordPress Use of The Best Companies Inc. 5000 (2016)”, Nelio Software, 2019. [Online]. Available: https://neliosoftware.com/blog/wordpress-use-of-best-companies-inc-5000-2016/. [Accessed: 05- Apr- 2019].