WordPress has been around for sometime, personally it never appealed to me as a developer as for one I was unfortunate to get stuck in Microsoft’s clutches early on in development with C++ then Classic ASP.
Its become more and more evident over the years that WordPress is pretty much the go to CMS for a number of reasons, some of which took me several years to actually identify and adopt. Yes, I did shut my eyes to WordPress as I didn’t trust open source at the time, seemed a bit “open” to me but after many years of use its become the basis for over 60 Million websites! And more recently been touted as being the guts behind 26% of the top 10 Million websites (April 2016).
So what is it? well in simple terms it’s the engine in the car, the car itself can look like any website out there but under the bonnet/hood it’s the same as millions of other sites.. Wordpress handles a lot of the hassle in creating a website, it handles how it stores data, handles images, videos and a lot in between. Once you get to grips with WordPress you can simply revisit it at any time and the structure and premise is the same, development is continual but it doesn’t stray to far from offering the same tools as it did 5 years ago, allow you to quickly hit the ground running again.
It uses a template system to handle the aesthetics , which means you don’t have to worry about styling a website, of course you can if you want but you can pick up a template that gives you the choice of many different styles, change colours via a colour picker, move menus about, the list if never ending.
And if the core system doesn’t do something for instance pull images from your Instagram account you can simply search for a plugin in the repository that does exactly that, a few clicks later you have Instagram images on your site.
So Yay Or Nay.. to be honest it’s all about perception.. many years ago it was the norm to build a site from scratch, I mean hand code HTML, setup styling rules etc but over the last 20 odd years there’s nothing “new” on the web, every combination of look and feel for a website has been designed and its rare or some say website death if you try to do something “different” with the look of a site.
For the most part a website owner will be proud of the work gone into designing a site, the work behind the scenes, the testing, the styling and the way it handles images and utilizes new tech like cloud delivery from edge locations. But these things do become old hat, the norm.. so that time spent designing and making bold new moves is negated quite quickly. The end result is Ive seen many developers and business owners check the source code and then simply say ‘oh its WordPress based, not worth looking at!’ but those days are definitely gone.
Let me ask you a question.. ‘If you visit a new site looking for a product to buy, and you find one what’s the first thing you do?’, now as both a business owner and a developer I used to look at the source code to gauge the worth of the business.. i.e. is it a WordPress site or is it a comment ridden HTML page made up of varying degrees of html tables etc.. I expect you do what 99.9% of the world does, checks for SSL and ensure that the site looks trustworthy on the outside, any other bits like nice badges and customer reviews would help but most people go on price.. not what the guts look like underneath.
A site based on WordPress selling a product to me says a few things, the owner is more bothered about the product it sells than showing off that he understands TTFB (time to first byte), above the fold content and many other bits that can drain a business in its infancy.. The simple answer is if you can manage a site without having to keep going to and from a developer for updates, or keep up with the latest patches for your server environment then the business can work harder at the things that matter like getting a product out of the door to a customer, answering customer service emails quickly and easily.. i.e getting business done as a priority..
Having an all singing all dancing website comes at a cost, and I’m not talking monetary here, the cost is time… fixing this, updating that and making sure your CSS is mobile friendly, then having to worry about PCI DSS as you was mis-sold a payment gateway that puts the focus on you for security of card holder data.. the list goes on and on.
In a nutshell a lot of these things can be handled easily by adopting a WordPress cms website, ingore the old e-Commerce restrictions don’t think its only the bank who can help you take online card payments, use Stripe or similar for processing it may take a little more in fees but under WordPress and woocommerce for instance all your PCI DSS stuff is off loaded.
The beauty of WordPress for me is its flexibility, you can develop your own plugins, you can sell what you want easily and thousands of coders and development people across the globe keep the software updated, leaving you to do what’s important.. run your business and service your customers.