To WordPress Or Not: That Is The Question
Since its inception in 2003, WordPress has been increasing in popularity, and for many reasons. The huge fan base that it has acquired throughout the years, and largely in part because of its easy use, easy installation, and user-friendliness. Why wouldn't any beginners want to use WordPress for their website? Most users start on WordPress.com, where they sign up for a free account and are part of the WordPress.com community. WordPress.org, on the other hand, is a self-hosted option, where users can install WordPress on their own domain and hosted server. There are many reasons why people turn to WordPress.com or WordPress.org, but there are also many reasons why WordPress has yet to dominate the entire web market. In this article, we will focus on the reasons why WordPress may be the best option for you and reasons why you may want to consider another framework.
WordPress has certainly made the world of web design and maintenance easier than it has ever been in the past. WordPress has helped many freelancers and companies make a business out of the market, charging clients for the creation and upkeep of their websites. WordPress keeps costs down for people and companies looking for an affordable website.
When deciding if WordPress is right for you, here are the 5 benefits for using the platform:
1. WordPress is for beginners.
Anyone and their mother can use the WordPress Content Management System (CMS). It was proclaimed by Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress, that he let his own mother use the platform as a tester and she did well to learn and understand it. You know that if your Mom can use something, it's probably fairly easy to learn and use. The benefits of a platform being easy to understand is that not only can you learn to use it, but anyone can.
You might think this is not the best news for starting up a business and using WordPress as your platform. After all, isn't the appeal of being a web designer and web developer having clients who do not understand WordPress? In fact, the opposite is true. Your clients have a business to run and are not interested in creating a website, which is why they were looking to hire you to do it for them. As far as upkeep, publishing new pots, etc., you could easily teach your client to publish posts and pages, or if they prefer to keep you on board, you can charge them.
I love when I can set up a website for a client, charge them, and then give them the option to learn their website. Instead of charging for training, I send them a few YouTube videos on how to use WordPress and I let them mess around with it as hands-on and the majority of my clients learn the WordPress platform within a few days. Why do I train my clients to use WordPress?
As a web designer, I'm usually the cleanup crew or the re-designer for most of my clients. Their web designer / web developer has suddenly disappeared and never trained them to use anything, and they find themselves having to update the site without anyone to do it. Or worse, their website has bugs, and they need it fixed. When training a client to understand the work you do, they are more likely to appreciate the amount of time and work you actually put into their website. Sure, it is easy to publish a post, or list items in an e-commerce store, but at least giving them the option will show them why they are paying you.
Of all the possible platforms that exist in the market, WordPress is probably the easiest.
2. WordPress comes with a large community of support.
A quick search of WordPress reveals that it has over a billion websites dedicated to understanding and using the platform. No other CMS has this amount of attention dedicated to it. More and more companies are now specializing in all things WordPress, from hosting, to designing themes, to website creation. There is a community ranging from beginners to the most advanced experts who are willing to help everyone learn WordPress.
The WordPress community is an interesting one. Despite the fact that WordPress is a completely free platform, there is a lot of money to be made using WordPress. There are WordPress meet-ups, WordPress camps, WordPress courses, and even WordPress competitions to bring out the best and brightest minds of the WordPress world. WordPress is beloved by many and everyone in the community is supportive, rather than seeing each other as competition. The world needs websites and WordPress is there to help you help everyone who needs it.
3. WordPress comes with thousands of plugins and themes.
With large community of support cometh many plugins and themes. Since WordPress is open-source and has a lot of advanced and expert web designers, there are many plugin creators and theme developers. Plugins add additional functionality to WordPress and many plugins sync up seamlessly with WordPress. WordPress comes with many paid and free themes, making it very easy for clients to choose their favorite themes, and many web designers to customize those themes. Many companies have also gotten into the business of designing and selling top-notch themes. With thousands of themes to choose from, there is something for everyone. While many themes come with a default setting, many of these themes can be customized completely and without touching any code. For the more advanced web designers of WordPress, they can even customize through the WordPress PHP code.
4. WordPress is for the advanced.
Although WordPress can be used by beginners, there are many things that make WordPress a more advanced platform to use, including the more complex plugins and themes that are harder to use and set up. The more advanced and complex a WordPress website is, the more help from a web designer is needed, and with this, a web designer can charge for those services. In WordPress, anyone can learn how to code their own plugin or design their own theme, and they can even sell the plugin or theme to others.
A website on WordPress is never done and can always be updated for additional functionality. A client may always need new things or as web design progresses, they may need their website updated. As a web designer becomes more advanced, there are a lot of hidden features of WordPress that are just waiting to be discovered, sometimes within WordPress itself, and sometimes those features are theme-based.
It may seem like WordPress is only for beginners, but many experts enjoy using WordPress as their main CMS platform.
5. WordPress is well-known and can easily be taught.
These are just several of the advantages that come with the WordPress platform, summed up in a nutshell. If you have not used WordPress, you will want to try it today. Check it out at WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
With WordPress comes a dark side, if you see it that way, though most people might see it differently. Not that you should completely abandon WordPress, but these are 5 disadvantages of WordPress that you should keep in mind as you progress in a web development or web design career.
1. WordPress eliminates the need to learn code.
There's no "magic" to what a web designer does. Anyone can learn it, do it, figure it out, and charge a very competitive price to do it. It might be great to be considered a "WordPress developer" or "WordPress designer", but it doesn't mean "web developer" or "web designer" and it devalues the job of those who actually do know how to code. It also teaches those who use WordPress that it is okay not to know how things are built. I may not know how my car runs, but I do know that it needs gas and oil to run, and I know how to put gas and oil in the car to make it run. At least knowing some basics and logic of coding can go along way.
I have been to several web conferences dedicated to WordPress, with the speakers outright saying, "I do not know how to code, I've never touched code, I don't want to learn code, and I still make money." This is great that they have learned to make money without touching any code at all, but the issue occurs when it comes time for the day when they will need to touch code. Sure, they can tell their client they don't touch code, but that just begs the question of whether they are really a professional or not.
Setting up a website in WordPress is not the same thing as building a website with HTML and CSS code.
2. WordPress is preventing you from realizing your full potential.
Since code is not necessary to learn, a lot of the logical thinking that comes with code and designing a website is eliminated. Building a website from scratch teaches you about the functionality and ways a website works. It allows you to not just point and click, selecting what theme you want and calling it a day, but actually feeling rewarded at the end of the day because you can see the results of your hard work.
There is no real reward in choosing a theme that someone else designed. It is technically not your theme and you didn't really "build a website." You helped set a website up for someone and charged them whatever it is you charge them. The money is the reward, but the satisfaction of having actually designed and developed a website is lacking.
While there are plenty of themes that need customization and possibly give you a head start or something to work with, there is still something missing in the fact that you did not design or develop the theme. On the other hand, it does save a lot of time and money.
3. WordPress has devalued your services.
While many websites will tell you that the average "WordPress developer" will charge over $100 for "designing" and "building" a website, how much WordPress developers are actually charging is far less than what is quoted. What they are actually charging is between $12 - $20. There are, of course, more advanced projects, and companies that charge their clients far more, but the average freelancer is charging much less.
A web developer, who codes from scratch, or does a lot more work can charge a lot more for their work and maintenance. It has been an unfortunate thing in the past, in which less professional web developers tend to code in their own style, and then suddenly leave their client, forcing other web developers to figure out where they left off and try to decipher what was coded. However, with WordPress, anyone can usually pick up right where another web developer left off, and if the new designer decides to try and charge more, it may be debated by the client.
4. WordPress needs customization.
WordPress right out of the box is usually not set for a website that is ready for production. It often requires a lot of changes to the default system, choice of a theme, and a selection of plugins that make the website function the way a client wants it to work. This customization may take a few hours, days, or even weeks to get it right. If a plugin does almost what a client wants, the plugin may have to be ditched or tweaked with additional advanced coding to make it do exactly what is desired. A theme may have to undergo advanced coding options to be the way a client wants it to be. Depending on how the theme was coded, it may require even more advanced knowledge to change things.
5. WordPress is not everything.
While WordPress has a small portion of the market share of all websites, it is not everything, and it is not the be-all end-all for every website. Sometimes WordPress may just not have what a client is looking for or it may just be too much for what a client is looking for. WordPress offers Pages and Posts by default, but this may not be what is desired from a client. WordPress must connect to a MySQL database in order to retrieve its data, and this unfortunately slows down the speed of the website slightly. While it may not be completely noticeable to the average user, a web developer certainly can tell the difference.
The WordPress plugins or themes may be bundled with unnecessary code that causes further delays or conflicts with other plugins. A simple HTML and CSS website could load even faster and may be easier to handle than installing the WordPress CMS. Developing custom code for a client may do exactly what the client wants and be quicker for the web developer than installing WordPress and finding everything the client wants.
With the growing popularity of Responsive CSS Grid Systems, much of the functionality of WordPress can be found in these systems, which are much smaller, easy to install and manage, and can be completely customized, while charging the client slightly more because of the manual work involved in coding the website. CSS Grid Systems allow for a web designer to reduce the time of building a website from scratch, while still being able to design a completely custom theme. The reason these systems are becoming popular is because they come with a lot of their own custom functions and are instantly set up for responsiveness on mobile and table devices.
WordPress may or may not be for you. The choice is up to you on how fast and professional you want your work to be for your clients. While WordPress will always be my first choice for clients, I have begun to turn to the CSS Grid system for much more custom work and design. It also brings back the feeling of being an actual "web developer" and "web designer" because the CSS grid system requires touching and using code.
With MyPost, we took a lot of what we learned from the WordPress backend and incorporated it into the MyPost development platform. MyPost was developed using the Skeleton CSS grid system and made to be as simple as possible, while allowing for the ability to customize everything on the page. In developing MyPost, we wanted to give you the experience of coding again. This may not only help you to learn how to code a website or webpage from scratch, but also teach you how to customize WordPress plugins and themes.
Try using MyPost to develop your first post or webpage today!
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