WordPress has been designed to be easy for content creators to quickly put a website together and keep it right up-to-date. It provides a lot of this functionality off the shelf, which can really help to keep costs low on new site builds.
As well as this, there’s a huge ecosystem of themes, plugins and services which are incredibly easy to add. We’ve seen WordPress turned to more jobs and areas than we ever expected, but it’s extensibility and configurability provide a lot of flexibility and allow for great personalisation.
The latest statistics estimate that ~30% of the web is powered by WordPress, including some surprisingly big brands and more than a few sites which we’ve built here at Foundry.
It’s no secret that WordPress has security problems. The popularity of the platform and the simple learning curve for developers have led to many less-than-perfect installations out on the internet. This makes it a good proposition for hack bots, which simply probe website after website for well known and common vulnerabilities.
Unless you are very attentive at keeping your site up-to-date, or outsource this critical maintenance, it is simply a mater of time before your WordPress site is hacked, simply due to the sheer number of bots crawling for ways in.
As a platform, WordPress contains a lot of code which must all be run on every page build. This means that no matter how fast your users connection, they must still wait for the page to be assembled. This overhead doesn’t occur on static sites. You can mitigate this with caching (and there are some great plugins for this) but now you need to know how to maintain a cache too!
Finally, the very customisability of WordPress also leads to design problems. Many themes come with everything out of the box, which is as unhelpful to a non designer as nothing is. When you can assemble a page any way you’d like, it’s surprisingly tricky to get a good looking end product. The careful thought and design work that goes into professional looking sites can easily be bypassed by an overzealous editor in a few clicks.
These problems are easily mitigated, with regular maintenance, page caching, careful plugin choice and a well chosen, or custom designed theme that exactly fits your needs. However, if you aren’t going to benefit from the advantages which WordPress brings, it may not be worth the risk and ongoing costs.
The best projects for WordPress are ones that are relatively static front-end pages, with rapidly changing and often updated content. If you have a copy-writer or in-house marketing team that regularly pushes updates to your site, WordPress can give your productivity a tremendous boost. The large ecosystem of plugins also allow for a wide range of workflows and integration to third party services at low cost. It’s great to simply type in a blog post, hit publish and have it appear on all of your social feeds.
If you’re not using these features though, or if your content is significantly more varied than words and images inside a few predetermined layouts, you may be better off with an alternative.