A Case Against WordPress

Why you should consider moving your site off WordPress

I've been using WordPress to build websites for over 10 years. Its always been a bit of a love/hate relationship. Most of the time I use WordPress out of necessity because a site requires a lot of updates and they need to be made without requiring anyone to write more code. Its almost become a default for a lot of freelancers and digital agencies.

For years I would recommend WordPress for client websites, blogs, brochure sites. I even use it for my personal website. After all WordPress does power a third of all websites on the internet. Even though the developer experience has always lagged behind more modern solutions I powered through because I was convinced that it was the best solution for my clients.

But over the past few years I'm becoming more and more convinced that WordPress is no longer a good choice for clients.

WordPress Sites Take a Long Time to Set Up

Sure WordPress boasts a 5 minute, one-click setup but this is only the first step in your site build. Theres a database to maintain, themes to setup, plugins to install. Its a whole process.

Even if you choose a pre-built theme for your site the setup can take a lot of time. Each theme uses a different setup, tons of settings, and lots of dragging, clicking and typing. Not fun!

Plus if you want to customize the theme to match your branding it will take even longer. Sometimes its impossible to get a template to match what you really want. Most template themes were not designed to be fully customizable.

Even if you decide to hire a developer its hard to find someone willing to do the tedious work of customizing a theme. And to be honest you're wasting your money if you're paying a developer to customize a WordPress theme. If you're going to pay a developer have theme build something from scratch and get the site you really want.

Adding New Content Is Just Frustrating

Many people expect WordPress to be just like Word. Well its not.

It is highly unlikely that you will be able to copy/paste content from your word processor click save and have a beautiful article out on the web. Most themes come with page builders. These sound great but in reality they are difficult time wasters. Especially since you just wanted to add a new blog post. You didn't want to draw boxes all day. You're not in kindergarten.

Making More Complicated Updates Is Even Worse!

  • many times updates can totally break your site costing you days or weeks worth of business

WordPress Sites Are So Slow

WordPress has a reputation for being very slow to load. This reputation is completely justified. These problems just get worse as you add more content and functionality to your site.

So why is WordPress so slow?

  • Most themes available for purchase contain a ton of stuff you will never use. This stuff still loads anyway.
  • WordPress sites are dynamic. Every single time a visitor accesses a page the browser has to go to your server, look for the content in the database, build the page and download it. Even if your content is not updated!
  • Most WordPress hosting services use shared hosting. This type of hosting is also slow.

All of these factors combine to create a frustrating experience.

So why should you care?

If your site takes more than 5 seconds to load most people will leave. The average WordPress site takes almost 9 seconds to load (https://www.yottaa.com/benchmarking-performance-of-8-cms-platforms-who-is-slowest/.) So all of the hard work you've done will go to waste. Any money you spend to get people to your site will be wasted. If your site is slow you're wasting time and money. Not only are you wasting money but you're losing business.

Also if you were counting on traffic from SEO your site must be fast. Google doesn't want to send people to a slow site. This is especially true on mobile.

Chances are you put a lot of time any money into your website. It will be the first impression that potential customers have of your business. You want them to be delighted with their first experience. Well not only are visitors annoyed when your website takes forever to load. They're actually getting stressed out! (https://www.ericsson.com/en/press-releases/2016/2/streaming-delays-mentally-taxing-for-smartphone-users-ericsson-mobility-report) Do you really want them to associate your business with stress?

There are some ways to speed up your WordPress site. But implementing these fixes is time consuming, frustrating, and in my experience, most of they time they don't help.

So if WordPress stinks then what should you use instead?

Well it depends...

If you don't have a blog or an online store you may not even need a CMS. In that case you can just rebuild your site in basic HTML/CSS/JavaScript. Hire a developer and have them migrate it.

If you do have a blog you may not need to abandon WordPress altogether. You can still use WordPress to house and manage your content but build your site as if it doesn't use a CMS.

This means that you can have the best of both worlds. Keep your content and have a super fast, flexible site. No more bloated themes, page builders. No more listening to excuses about how the new features you want don't work in your theme.

You'll need to hire a developer to accomplish this too. But you can learn more about the solution I recommend here https://www.gatsbyjs.org/.