When people say sweeping statements to me like, “I love WordPress, I wouldn’t use anything else”, or “I wouldn’t touch WordPress with a barge pole”, I always wonder what experiences they’ve had with WordPress in the past to have come to such a conclusion.
WordPress is an open-source content management software, originally designed for blogging, but is now widely used by many websites and varying complexities of websites.
You can create unique website designs and still use WordPress, or buy commercial pre-designed themes that allow you to customise a few things and colours in order to personalise the website. I think this is often where the love/hate relationship tends to come in. In my opinion, it’s the lazy website designers and the “have a go yourself” users that possibly come up against the frustrations with WordPress.
Commercially Designed Themes – often the problem
If we look at the commercially designed theme example. For as little as £40 (and some of these are also free!) you can easily get yourself a commercial theme (design) for WordPress. They look great and often have lots of bells and whistles that will wow you. All this for just £40? great stuff. These themes then let you change certain colours, certain fonts, some varying page layout options and add your company logo, etc. The levels of customising is pretty good in some of the themes.
You can then add your pages for your business and input all your content and images. This is all great and you end up with a website that didn’t cost the earth. But, these themes do have restrictions on what they can and can’t do. This, for me, is where frustrations come in and people see this as a limit of WordPress, when, in reality, it’s the limit of the theme.
These “one size fits all” themes, ultimately don’t fit anyone exactly. You have to live with the restrictions. You also have to remember that if the author of the them stops supporting it, and WordPress updates to the point that the theme stops working – you ultimately don’t have a website. (this has happened to me on a couple of occasions several years ago, and is one of the major reasons why I abandoned the idea of commercial themes).
These themes allow people to be their own graphic designers and layout pages exactly how they want. This of course, brings frustrations from people; because unless you are a graphic designer or have a very good understanding of how to layout pages, use the right colours, fonts, etc. then you’ll end up with a mess of a website.
Are there many cons of WordPress – possibly the fact that you have to know what you’re doing to get the very best out of it would be seen by many people as a negative.
Without a good understanding of css, php and html, designing a site in WordPress will be a quite limiting, frustrating process.
And what you’ll end up with is a very “samey” looking website to other people’s sites. (It might look nice, but it also looks the same as 1,000s of other sites – commercial themes are a classic example of this)
If you know your way around css, php and html, you’ll quickly realise that you can pretty much do whatever you want with a WordPress website. It can be whatever you want, look however you want and work however you want.
It can be a property management website, an ecommerce website, insurance quoting website, or in fact just a straight forward brochure/reference website.
The flexibility of the design is almost limitless. No two websites need to look the same (although you then cross over to the massive subject of usability and user experience which is why most websites you see on the Internet, have a similar layout and flow)
I’ll hold my hands up here and say that I am a WordPress fan. I would agree with people who say it’s not the platform to use for everything. But it’s what I tend to lean towards for about 80% of the sites I create. I love the flexibility of it. It’s easy to work with great developers who are also very experienced with WordPress, and also easy to implement designs that may have been created separately by a Graphic Designer.
99.9% of my websites are created from scratch, not from a template. Creating every site unique, allows me to create the website that fits with my clients’ needs rather than creating a website that fits my needs!
If you would like to learn more about the websites I create please contact me on 07748 307857 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.