If you’ve ever tried to use WordPress to create a simple, easy-to-use, turnkey website, you probably know what it feels like to stick your wet finger in a socket while whacking your head against a rusty nail. So when designer Andrew Barton posted this blog on his website, I thought I had to share it. (The illustrations are his too.)
Chances are – if you have little to no experience with web development – you don’t need a WordPress website.
Nope. They are wrong.
But first, just to clarify, I have no problem with WordPress as a platform. These very words are written in a WordPress blog. I’m suggesting that if you are a small business looking to manage your own website, you would be better served with an alternative solution. Why?
WordPress is Like a Lawnmower
I recently got a new 4-cycle lawnmower. It’s a beautiful and efficient grass-slaying machine. It mulches, it bags and the self-propulsion is strong enough to pull a dog sled. With this machine, I’ve harnessed all the benefits of modern engineering. BUT, I’ve also got an engine to maintain. It requires cleaning, fuel, regular oil changes and periodic repair. In short, it’s a total pain. WordPress is the same: tons of power, a total pain.
Here are 5 things you should know about WordPress before you DIY:
It’s Not New-user-friendly
If you’ve spent any amount of time on the back-end, you’ll know there are a zillion buttons, tabs and menus that are not intuitive. Unless you are using it on a regular basis, you will probably find it challenging.
Turns into Franken-press
While WordPress itself is a free and easy to install, the “ease” ends there. After you install it, you have a basic blog. However, to make the platform “yours”, you have to add Plug-ins, pick a Theme, customize widgets, etc. Most of these elements are made by different people with different levels of skill. Your site can turn into Frankenstein quickly.
The plug-ins are great for adding additional functionality and power to your website. BUT, if you haven’t done your research, you may end up with plug-ins that don’t work well, aren’t kept up to date or worse – compromise the security of your site.
You Might Get HACKED
This is probably the most alarming issue. Not every WP site gets hacked, but if you aren’t regularly updating and monitoring your site, security issues may arise over time. Back to the lawnmower analogy, if you’re that diligent person who stays on top of your maintenance schedule, you’ll probably be fine. If not, you’ll be calling the mechanic.
Lack of Support
What happens when something goes wrong? If you don’t have a support person in place, you’ll spend hours searching web forums for answers. And what happens if you break something big? No problem, just revert to one of your backups. Wait – you did remember to install the automatic back-upper-thingee, right? Don’t know how to do that? Head back to Google to find an answer…
WordPress, like my lawnmower, is an incredible tool. If you’re willing to put in the time to learn it or have an ongoing arrangement with someone who does, you’ll love it. But it’s definitely not for everyone. And if you’re tight on time or otherwise swamped with the many daily tasks it takes to run a small business, I recommend a better tool for your needs. Squarespace or Pagecloud come to mind.
Just to prove Andrew’s point, it took me eight revisions to make this sort-of-work with the illustrations — and my signature was showing up so wonky I had to remove it.
Big Fly Communications