Why Shouldn't You Create A WordPress Website?

Why Shouldn't You Create A WordPress Website?

At Direct Line Development, a Philadelphia-based web design and web development company, we pride ourselves on the products we deliver. Whether it be an ecommerce page designed to generate revenue or a responsive photo portfolio used to advertise your business, we have a developer that can do it. Our company's reach and capabilities are as wide-spread as they are because have a large team of qualified individuals who have decades of experience in this field. The service we offer is often unmatched by the "lone wolf" developers that claim they can compete. But herein lies the problem.

It is because of platforms like WordPress that there is a seeming over-saturation of web developers in today’s market. Originally, WordPress was created as a Content Management System (CMS) for bloggers because of the ease and speed with which users could create and launch simple websites. Now it is a tool used by thousands of would-be programmers because of the same features.Proceed with caution when you hear WordPress. There are a variety of reasons that we advise against using such a platform for your company’s professional website. Let’s take a look at some of those reasons.

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We hear this story all the time. You went through and filled out all the necessary “website design” forms that WordPress requires of you, selected a design template from the options that were “free-of-charge,” and voila, you have a completed web page. Everything is great right? Wrong. Soon you will want to add to the basic web design structure you have settled upon. By adding only a few more relevant modules to your website, you will slow the speed of the site drastically. This has little to do with the speed of your own computer. The speed hinges more so upon the quality of the website that the computer is attempting to download. You aren’t doing yourself any favors by creating a website that requires users to wait patiently as it loads up. To get a concrete understanding of just how fast your website is, paste a link to it here: www.testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com. Google will then quickly assess a variety of factors on your site and determine its speed. Too slow and Google will even ban your site from its search listings because it seeks to avoid providing its users with a poor experience. Speed is doubly important if you are a firm operating in a more densely populated area like Philadelphia because it is more likely that your potential visitors will defer to your competitors if you're not meeting their needs. If you want a fast website, forget about WordPress.

High Server Load

Let’s say that you have successfully launched your website, went through all of the SEO tips and tricks to set yourself up for a high influx of traffic, and now all you need to do is find someone to monitor and host it. Assuming you are a smaller company (hence your use of WordPress as opposed to a professional designer), you will probably opt to just have WordPress host the site for you as well. This is a mistake. With each little module that you add and WordPress add to the site, you will slow down the website. This is simply do to the server strength of WordPress’s hosting capabilities. Such companies do not have the capacity to provide individual clients with the optimal hosting features that the best websites require. Either prepare yourself to keep WordPress and pay more for hosting, or seek out other website design and development options.

Bugs on Bugs on Bugs…

Maybe you read it online or maybe you heard from a friend that all you need to do nowadays is to select a template, click and add a few modules, and out pops a brand new, fully-functional website with no questions asked. Wrong again. This is not professional web design. This is not web development. You will likely encounter several bugs as you begin to use the website, especially if you are running the primarily free version. To add insult to injury, those bugs will not be fixed for free. Say goodbye to the purported money you saved by avoiding those “costly website design studios.”. Bugs don’t just result from poor development or low-caliber websites, they also come about from external factors. One of the most common causes of new errors are internet browsers. More often than not, your WordPress website will only be fit to run on the latest versions of the most popular browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. If users try to access the site on less popular browsers, or if these browser add updates that are not supported by your site, you will experience errors. And again, this fix will come with a cost.

Another external error-producing factor is the plethora of mobile devices with internet browsing capabilities. These devices not only run a variety of different browser applications, but they also require websites to adapt and adjust to the screen size and functionality of that specific device. If you spent the bare minimum on creating and launching  your website, you are bound to run into bugs that come about as a result of your website’s inability to support the necessary functions of a specific mobile device. You can pay to upgrade the responsive capabilities of your website, but this will not be cheap because the web development process is much more complex when taking responsiveness into account.

WordPress Sets the Stage for Disaster

The best thing about custom design is that it is indeed custom. Your website designer will be able to talk to you and analyze your industry and needs in order to create a design scheme that will incorporate not only everything you need for you business, but everything your customers need as well. A good developer will look into your location too. Let's say that you live in Philadelphia and want to tap into the market. Your developer will better understand the methodologies that will best bring your page to the top. WordPress users who are serious about their business pursuits will go through several design templates before settling on one that is “acceptable.” To make your site better, WordPress will make you pay. So much for free.

So why do we say disaster? For multiple reasons. One is the fact that it will be impossible for you to 100% differentiate yourself from other WordPress users on Google because the underlying platform, regardless of the amount of additional design work put in, is from the same service. As such, when analyzed by Google’s robots, your website will have characteristics that match thousands upon thousands of websites. This lack of uniqueness will have negative effects on your rank in Google’s search results. This especially hurts if you are running an ecommerce site. Another reason is costs. The cheapest templates available are the most common and basic. In order to achieve any semblance of differentiation from other WordPress users in any capacity - be it design, functionality, or otherwise - you must pay more money. We won’t go as far as to say it is a bait and switch, but we will suggest that if you are going to be spending large sums of money on WordPress to achieve these goals, it may be better spent elsewhere.

Website Security

The WordPress platform is very popular, which is why it is easy for hackers to break into its websites. Not to mention that information on these types of websites, as a rule, is freely available online, making it extremely easy for someone with a basic understanding of computers to break into your site and take your information. If you own a serious business, you protect not only your own interests and privacy, but also those of your customers. Simply by having a payment portal on your websites for your customers, which many most ecommerce sites do, you are responsible to protect their information. If your site is not secure and someone with malicious intent breaks into that portal, all of your customers’ information is vulnerable. It only takes one security breach like this to permanently lose a customer for life. It’s worth admitting that anything today is hackable if you have the right knowledge and skillsets, but do you really want to have your company’s website attacked by a kid in middle school who knows how to Google? Didn’t think so.

Search Engine Skepticism

As you may be aware, we at Direct Line Development, in addition to website design and development services, are also engaged in search engine optimization practices for our clients. We mention this because we have seen first hand how much more difficult it is to promote a WordPress website in Google as opposed to a custom website from skilled designer. These facts are not officially confirmed by Google, but the SEO community treats it as an accepted truth that if you attempt to promote a WordPress website, you will inherently find your site lower in Google’s search result listings. This does not mean that you won’t be able to receive good SEO results from a WordPress website, it simply means that you have to work harder for it. This usually entails incorporating a variety of specific SEO details that, when stacked together, contribute to better rankings in Google. Usually these details are available in the form of modules and site add-ons. By now you’ve probably guessed (correctly) that there is an additional cost to these modules.

Patterns and Repetition will be your Demise

Creating a website from a pre-made template is like trying to find the difference between two identical houses in the same new suburban neighborhood. They are all essentially the same with only a few subtle differences. Was your firm created from a template? Do you want someone to think that your business, since it is identical to your competitors’, to think you are all equal? Remember that your website is a reflection of the business it represents. There will never be a template as unique as your business. WordPress attempts to cater to this issue by allowing for “custom” add-ons and various upgrades, but we already discussed this above. You will be spending more money (which you were trying to avoid in the first place by choosing WordPress), slowing your site load speed, and creating bug after bug. With each new change you make, more problems will arise. Guess who you have to call to fix these problems? WordPress. What a strange coincidence. Business owners know that they must think long term. With this in mind, it is much better to invest in a custom website with an advanced CMS that fit your business model and needs perfectly, bringing it straight to the top.

What Should You Do If Your Site Is Already On WordPress?

So you decided to completely rework your website and make it a powerful tool for your business, but what should you do while you wait the 6-8 months for your new site to be developed and your old site is still on WordPress?

  1. Upgrade your WordPress version. Since the developers do not fix the bugs that arise in previous versions, you need to upgrade your site’s version of WordPress and its plugins with each update that the company makes available. Often it is as simple as pressing the “update” button. This will help you avoid the large-scale problems that could arise in the future.
  2. Only install new plugins from the official WordPress Directory. It’s (hopefully) no secret that random plugins downloaded from random sites off of Google are likely to be infected with malicious programs. A recent study showed that 8 out of the 10 top Google results for “free WordPress themes” had malicious software built into the code.
  3. Transfer the site to good hosting. A good host not only backs up your site, but it also prevents cross-infection of resources on the same server. Unfortunately, such instances are still quite common even among larger hosting providers, so this choice should be made only after much consideration and research.
  4. Ensure the site password is extra strong. Many people have a bad habit of using relatively weak passwords. For important things, such as a company website, only the strongest passwords should be using. The best passwords use a long and complex combination of letters, numbers, and special characters, usually consisting of at least 8 characters in length.
  5. Remove the standard admin login. The default administrator login and the privileges it provides are a prime target for anyone looking to exploit your site’s weaknesses. This user account should be immediately deleted after installing WordPress on the hosting server.
  6. Set up a regular backup. This procedure is absolutely mandatory for those who care about the safety and security of their site. A great solution is to set up a regular backup not only of the WordPress database, but also of the contents on the server disk itself. There are a number of plugins and services that allow you to easily save backups of your site. Additionally, it is always good to ask your hosting provider if they are performing regular backups of your site.
  7. Limit the number of plugins and themes used. In addition to the fact that many themes are plugins are unsafe, a large number of them will seriously slow down the speed of your site. Reduce the number of plugins and themes used, and remove those that you have stopped using altogether. By keeping your system clean, you not only reduce the chances for vulnerabilities to be exploited by intruders, but it also makes it much easier you to fix problems should malware infection still occur.

The Takeaway

If this is your first website and you need minimal functionality for it then sure, use WordPress. If you are a blogger, WordPress will also be suitable, since blogging was actually the original purpose for this platform. If you have time to spend fixing bugs, money to spend on expensive templates and hosting, then use WordPress. The illusion of WordPress is that they boast affordable pricing and unique solutions, but the reality is usually far from this. Many companies will even send your project offshore to some foreign outsourcing agency. If you are a serious business owner with an established company with working capital that you use to improve your business, you need to consider investing in a custom website. Not only will you save more money in the long run, but you will avoid a considerable amount of hassle and problems along the way. As you can probably guess, we at Direct Line Development do not use WordPress. Give us a call and we’d be glad to discuss the best online options available for you and your business.

The article was updated on September 11, 2017.

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