I have been working with WordPress since 2008 and I’ve learnt a lot since then but also hear the same things from clients when WordPress is suggested as a CMS for their project. I currently run 2 businesses that are based entirely around WordPress and a third that provides WordPress services amongst others so it’s fair to say I understand WordPress.
So this list will explain the most 10 common misconceptions about WordPress and destroy some of these myths.
1. WordPress is just for blogs
WordPress did actually start as a blogging platform, in fact it was actually derived from b2 aka cafelog by Matt Mullenweg at the age of 18 in 2003. Since then WordPress has grown into a globally recognised content management system (CMS). Yes, millions on blogs use WordPress but millions of websites use WordPress to manage content.
With posts, pages, custom posts, widgets, menus, plugins and even leading ecommerce capabilities WordPress is so much more than just a blogging platform. It is a website platform. WordPress is used by some of the biggest brands in the world including, Microsoft, eBay, Harvard Law School, Mozilla Firefox, Sony and CNN to name a few. So whats next…
2. WordPress isn’t secure
This is a difficult one to address because like everything security only works as well as its implemented, so if you haven’t implemented any steps to secure your site then yes its not secure. This applies to anything. Out the box WordPress is secure but once you start added some of the 30,000+ plugins to your site things suddenly change.
WordPress is open source and the plugins available in the WordPress plugin repository are free, some can be out of date but you will be warned if they are. Some may have poor code and vulnerabilities but the mass majority are safe as long as they are all up to date on your site. Amongst the thousands of plugins available are some that have a soul purpose of securing your WordPress site such as Stop Spammers Spam Control, Akismet, Anti-Malware Security and Brute-Force Firewall and iTheme Security are just a handful of the free security plugins that will secure your site from even the toughest attackers.
Security doesn’t just stop at that, ensuring your server is maintained and secure is essential, enforcing strong passwords and regularly updating them and ultimately instilling strict security practices across all your emails, sites and work.
3. WordPress is difficult to use
This usually applies to starting out with WordPress, it can be a maze of a process to get started from hosting to installing WordPress on your hosting to picking a domain and using it. Unless you have some idea about technology or a lot of patience then I suppose WordPress can be difficult to setup. That said there are many services and options available that take care of this process and leave you with a WordPress site ready to use.
CloudCanvas (yes my company) is an all-in-one WordPress platform that allows you to launch a WordPress site in minutes with the renowned Divi theme pre installed and a load of plugins ready to activate as you need. All this is built on a super fast infrastructure with the best security implemented right into the core so you never have to worry about anything other than what content you are going to add to your site.
Once you have WordPress running it actually couldn’t be easier, I always say if you can use email then you can use WordPress. The WYSIWYG editor allows for seamless content creation, you can add just about any kind of media to your articles and embed video, tweets, documents and so much more by just pasting the link into your page.
With the addition of some of the premium themes and page builders that are available for WordPress literally anyone can build a beautiful website with WordPress. Take a look at the video below to see just what is possible with WordPress.
4.WordPress can’t do ecommerce
I think we have already covered how powerful WordPress can be as a CMS and when it comes to Ecommerce I was once one of those that never thought WordPress and ecommerce would or should mix. How wrong was I, over the past few years WooCommerce has grown into a global player in the ecommerce scene and now powers over 30% of all online stores. And WooCommerce isn’t the only option for adding ecommerce to WordPress with others such as, Easy digital downloads, WP eCommerce, Ecwid, Jigoshop, MarketPress, iThemes Exchange and Cart66 lite.
The truth is if you are planning on taking payments through your WordPress site then the options are unlimited.
How scalable can a WordPress ecommerce store be? I suppose this is the biggest question here, should you use WordPress or Magento for your ecommerce store. We will look at scalability here alone, it’s a general rule-of-thumb that WooCommerce is perfect as long as you don’t plan on having more than 5000 active products for sale at any one time. This isn’t a set rule, there are stores out there running WooCommerce with over 50,000 products. WooCommerce can sale to massive serve massive demands and integrate with just about any imaginable system and POS software. But if you are planning on becoming the next Amazon then I guess like Amazon you will build your own ecommerce system but starting with Magento may be a better idea.
5. WordPress is slow
This is a bit like the security woes that surround WordPress, yes there are slow sites out there but WordPress is not slow per se? Just like computers you also get slow servers and like anything else in life you usually get what you pay for, so if you pay £1 a month for your server then yeah it will eventually start to get slow or just start out that way.
Geographical locations are a big factor in the site speed, if you are in the UK and you majority visitors will also be in the UK then you want a server in the UK. We see many people using £1 Hostgator hosting and wondering whats wrong with their slow site, it doesn’t take a lot to figure that one out.
Another reason WordPress can be slow is because of the amount of plugins people may activate, I have worked on clients sites that have been painfully slow but after removing a load of unnecessary plugins it was like a different site altogether. Only install the plugins you absolutely need, most plugins will load additional scripts in the frontend or backend of your site and these scripts require more time to load, most plugins also make database requests which again take time.
With good reliable hosting and a well maintained site your WordPress site should be blazing fast. There are some incredible hosting options out there from Cloudways and WP Engine to Vidahost and Vultr your options are pretty vast but picking a good host is a problem that isn’t limited to WordPress.
6. WordPress is free
WordPress is actually free to download from WordPress.org but what does free actually mean and how free is it really?
WordPress is open-source, it’s built by a community of developers who put in their own time to make WordPress constantly better. You can change WordPress, break it, rebuild it or even make a new version of WordPress from it and call it something else.
The real costs of WordPress really depend on what you want to do with it, there is obviously the hosting cost which can range from less than a £1 per month to thousands a month. Then the plugins, yes there are tens of thousands of free plugins but the really great stuff usually comes at a cost. By the time you have premium plugins, themes, services you can easily spend over £500-£1000 per year.
A lot of people that use WordPress will have had their site built for them, most web agencies will be proficient with WordPress. When I started Lakewood our first website was built using WordPress and still to this day we build bespoke sites for clients with WordPress. Having a professional site built specifically for you will cost anywhere from £1500 upwards.
The reality is WordPress can cost what you want it to, you can start with low cost hosting and free themes and move towards bespoke themes and dedicated servers when you need it.
7. WordPress sites look the same
This is one of my favorites, a client saying they don’t want a WordPress site because they don’t like how WordPress looks. I don’t usually bother trying to explain this, I get that once upon-a-time there was that typical WordPress look. I can’t actually think how to describe it but I do kind of get what is being said.
I actually don’t know the number off the top of my head but at a guess there is over 20,000 themes available for WordPress. A lot of those themes will be completely customisable so no two will look the same so saying WordPress sites all look the same is like saying all clothes look the same.
Here are some wicked showcases of sites built using WordPress:
8. WordPress isn’t scalable
Going back to point 1 WordPress is see as a cheap solution that is just for small sites and blogs, probably because it’s free or open-source. In reality the only limit to WordPress scalability is the infrastructure, you can build a site with hundreds of millions of visitors on WordPress as long as you have the servers that will handle that.
With some truly amazing hosting options available now it’s actually not as expensive as you would imagine to run a large high traffic site, yes you will need a VPS at least but with AWS and companies like Vultr you can built an infrastructure that will scale and grow with your website.
WordPress VIP is a service for WordPress site that have huge amounts traffic, take a look at the big sites that run on WordPress VIP and tell me WordPress can’t scale.
9. WordPress doesn’t come with support
You would be right in thinking no support comes with WordPress, well support in the sense you can’t really email WordPress when your site goes down. Yeah there are people who think you can do that, but anyway WordPress has one of the largest communities behind it. Infact you will probably get support from the WordPress supports forums quicker than you would from a typical web designer/developer.
You are actually spoilt for choice when it comes to support, you can hire a pro to build your site for you, use a service such as our CloudCanvas or sign up for a maintenance and support service such as WP Helper or WP Maintain.
10. WordPress sites are low quality
The great things about WordPress actually also server to its downfall in a way, it has become so accessible and the themes available has allowed just about anyone to sell themselves as web designers or developers. Almost 70% of the businesses that we get coming to us at Lakewood have had bad experiences with a so called web designer who got in too deep and left a mess behind and usually decided to go onto something else.
You don’t have to look around more than one corner to find someone who will build you a website and usually it will be with WordPress. Its this that can give WordPress and the internet a bad taste, if you pay for a website and get one of these you can’t really be blaming WordPress can you?
Again you get what you pay for, whether thats a cheap web designer or cheap hosting you will eventually find yourself wishing you had spent a little more time researching what was best.
So now you have a better understanding of WordPress you can go out there and launch an awesome site. If you have any questions at all regarding anything above drop a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer them.