WordPress – the pancea for web design?

When WP (WordPress) first came on the scene it was blogging platform.  Today, powerful websites and being used using this framework.  As a seasoned web designer this has been both a blessing and a curse.  This is mainly due to the fact that clients are somewhat misinformed as to when WP is the right choice.

Allow me to use a strange analogy.  Since pharmaceutical companies are now allowed to advertise on television (yes, there was a day when hard alcohol could and pharmaceuticals couldn’t advertise on TV) doctors are being TOLD when medications to prescribe – by the patients.  If they don’t the patient will just change doctors until they get what they want.  Now, back to the topic, today, clients are coming to web designers and the WANT a WP site whether or not it’s the best choice.

So, who is the best candidate for a WP?

The most obvious is the blogger.  WP is relatively easy to set-up.  Customizing is much more difficult.

Since it’s a CMS (Content Management System), it utilizes databases to retrieve information.  Thus, it’s a good choice for fairly large websites, say 20 plus pages. But, this also presents a ton of issues and potential problems.

WP also has access to a lot of plug-ins so you can customize your site by simply installing one of these plug-ins.

WP affords access to a slew of Themes (pre-built designs).  Some are free, most are inexpensive, in the $15-$150 range.

Just these few points would make WP a grand-slam for anyone choosing what platform to choose.  And there are SO MANY people who would to tar and feather me if I said anything different.

PROS:

  • Easy to set-up. Some can do it without a web developer.
  • Tons of themes and plug-ins available for customization.
  • Good choice for large websites.
  • Most updates to the site you can do without having a real experience or training.

CONS

  • Customizing a WP site can get expensive really fast as you need to higher a web developer (not a web designer) to customize your site.  The interaction of CSS, PHP and Databases is not something a novice wants to tackle.
  • You will notice QUICKLY that WP, your Themes and Plug-ins will recommend that you UPDATE them quite regularly.  Your developer will probably tell you that this isn’t a problem BUT, it is.  I’ve seen, experienced and have heard thousands of stories of WP sites breaking due to upgrading one or more of these recommendations.  And when it does, you’ll spend a lot of money to have it fixed.
  • Back-up.  Backing up your WP site is not as easy as copying the site via FTP.  Since it interacts with a database, that too needs to be backed up – something many people either forget or don’t know to do until it’s too late.  Think about your 150 page WP online store going down and you having to rebuild it all because you forgot to backup the database.