Series – What is the Value of? – WordPress

This is one of a series of posts about the value of various web tools.  Please feel free to let me know if there’s a particular web tool you would like me to address.

These days WordPress is everywhere.  It’s used by 75 million websites around the world and is the go-to web building platform for a large number of developers.   In this article I’ll be discussing the pros and cons of WordPress and why is may or may not be the right choice for your website.

First off, let’s take a moment to address what WordPress actually is.  It started off as a blogging platform, originally designed in 2003 to be an online publishing tool for the written word.  Because it was launched as an open source, free content management system, the web development community started creating plugins that allowed for a much wider range of functionality than WordPress originally allowed.

These days WordPress can do just about anything, however there are a few drawbacks to using it.  Here are a few issues that show up with WordPress:

  • Updates.  WordPress sends out regular updates of the overall platform, and every plugin you use on your site requires its own updates as well.  If you don’t update WordPress regularly your hosting company may shut your site down.  Because the updates are often security related, there’s a risk to hosting sites that are not up to date and while most hosting companies will notify you before shut down it’s definitely something you need to keep an eye on.
  • Plugins. In order for WordPress to be more than just a blogging platform, it needs plugins.  Plugins are individual programs that developers have created to address a specific need.  For example, there’s plugins that add slide shows, some that add email subscription capabilities, others that add eCommerce.  The issue with plugins is that they become obsolete as WordPress continually updates and not all developers keep updating their plugins to keep up with WordPress. Plugins can also conflict with each other, as a site often uses myriad plugins from many different developers.

However, the downsides to WordPress are usually outweighed by the benefits:

  • Cost.  WordPress is free.  A large number of plugins are free as well, and when costs come into play they are usually quite affordable compared to other platforms.  There’s a cost to building the site to start with, and the usual costs of domain name registration and site hosting, but other than that it’s a very affordable system.  My maintenance plans for WordPress are the lowest in cost out of all the platforms I work with.
  • Flexibility.  Because of the plug and play nature of most plugins for WordPress, you can do just about anything in the platform.  There’s no limit to the number of plugins you can use, and new tools are constantly being created to make WordPress even more useful.  For someone starting out with their online presence, WordPress is a smart choice as it will not limit your options down the road as your business and site grow.

All in all, WordPress is definitely a content management system that should be considered when you make your choice of what to build your site in.  As always, let me know if you have questions and I’ll be happy to talk with you about the pros and cons of WordPress in your specific situation.




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