September 14, 2016
by Lori Shecter

Pros and Cons of Using a WordPress as Your CMS

WordPressWe Are Immediate designs and develops in many content management systems, but the two most popular are WordPress and Drupal.  A less known CMS is Umbraco and is a Microsoft versus PHP based code.  And of course, for complex projects, we develop custom code.

But remember this, our clients often ask us about custom versus “open source” code.  Both terms are a misnomer and the reason for that is two-fold.  First, unless you purchase a template for WordPress or Drupal, there is going to be custom coding on your application.  This allows for more flexibility and function.  The reverse is that while all developers say they “custom code” CMS’s there is framework that is used – and that framework is either purchased or open source, so that no matter what content management system you use, you should be able to find another developer, should your developer win Lotto and retire to Southern Italy (my secret dream) or, worst case, you don’t like your development team.  In addition, your developer should provide you with a “run book” so that you can change to another development team.

The Pros

Back to using WordPress as your content management system.  After managing 100’s of CMS’s of all types,  here’s what I personally love about WordPress:

  1. Easy WordPress Development: My development team finds it easy to use. More or less.  The less part is when our client wants some super customized function that would be better served with a custom CMS solution
  2. Plug-ins: It has loads of plug-ins that make complex functions easier to develop, thus cutting down on time and, money
  3. Timing: We can easily help a client with a rush WordPress project and have gotten websites up and running, with fully loaded content in under a month.  That is not an easy thing to do, but it is why they call us IMMEDIATE!
  4. Community: There is a large community of WordPress developers, so our clients feel secure in case I win Lotto, close down the shop and move to Hawaii.
  5. Hosting: Hosting for a PHP site is easier to find and less expensive than Microsoft technologies.
  6. Functions: There are so many things you can do with WordPress such as create forums, a social media site, multi-site functionality, E-Commerce, link to CRM systems, Email Systems such as Mail Chimp and Constant Contact, Quick Books, and well, so many more that it is impossible to list everything here.
  7. Search Engine Optimization: For the most part, the SEO tools work pretty well in WordPress developed sites, but remember the secret to SEO is writing and creating backlinks too.  Simply setting it and forgetting it will not give you good SEO.
  8. Big Companies Use It: WordPress is not for small businesses anymore.  Companies such as Time Inc., Sony Music, Xerox, The New York Times, and even AMC currently use WordPress as their content management system.
  9. Control: Of course, the entire reason to have a content management system is so you can update it yourself.  That is exactly what WordPress allows you to do.  Fluently and frequently.
  10. Flexible: I really think this is important to state again. Because of all the WordPress developers out there, creating lots of plug-ins, a WordPress website can be almost anything you want it to be.

And now, the Cons

So it looks like WordPress is your dream CMS, right? But some of the things you love about WordPress can also be the things you don’t love so much.

  1. Plug-ins: Plug-ins are what we love to hate and hate to love.  They can be great,  but remember your development team is not developing them.  We are essentially embedding code of another developer.  So if that code breaks—we need to fix it, without the necessary runbook to make bug fixing faster.  In addition, the plug-ins might need to be updated if the developer has found vulnerabilities in their code.  Updates to any software can impact the design of your website, so each new code release must be planned and tested.
  2. WordPress Updates: WordPress updates their releases frequently, and similar to Plug-ins, these updates can impact the design of your website. Again, this takes time as well as effort and does cost money.
  3. Cost:  WordPress websites can be inexpensive if you purchase a template.  But having a custom developed website like the ones that We Are Immediate creates are not inexpensive, and they do take several months to get live.  The benefit of having a custom designed and developed WordPress website is that your website is unique to your business and doesn’t have the template feel of every WordPress website out there.
  4. Ease of Use: WordPress admin panels can be more difficult to use than a custom coded admin panel.  However, We Are Immediate makes every effort to create customized admin that helps non-technical people easily content manage their site.
  5. Performance: WordPress, because of the plug-ins can run slower.  The alternative is to have your team develop custom solutions for your WordPress website. The pro to that is your own code.  The con to that is more time and money.
  6. Spam: WordPress forms and comments can be vulnerable to spam so your development team must ensure a strong security host and captcha coding.
  7. HTML Editor/TEXT Editor: Some things are super complex to make easy to admin so if you want to save money, you need to learn some HTML.  Just a little.  But even that little bit can hurt a lot.

In the end, nothing is perfect and everything comes with its ups and downs.  Just have your eyes open when choosing a content management system and a development company.  For more information on how to hire a web development team, read our article here!