When to use WordPress for Your Next Project!

What is WordPress and Why is So Popular?

WordPress was released in May 2003 by its founders Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little, yes it is almost 20 years old! At the time blogging was just starting becoming popular as a form of online diary about a myriad of topics that quickly turned the web into a firehose of free information.

WordPress was the go to platform for building a blog with search engine optimization built in, an easy to use admin interface for writing posts and support for tagging and categorizing content.

The platform slowly shaped into a full Content Management System thanks to update to its core software and the growing plugin and theme ecosystem around it. Plugins are simply modules you can install to add functionalities not present in the core product. Themes are the skins or look of your wordPress site, thousands of Themes and Plugins have been developed for pretty much any use case in the last 15 years.

WordPress starting from version 4 adopted a more visual building experience to its content managing system turning it into a full blown visual web builder in some cases. If you have tried any hosting web panel web builder tools (Wix, Squarespace & Co) you know what I am talking about. It still requires some technical expertise to configure it properly and a great deal of optimization is still needed in order to secure it and have it running fast.

Where does WordPress Rocks?

WordPress is a wonderful product and it is really useful in some scenarios for example e-commerce thanks to its popular woo-commerce and related plugins. It offers a wonderful front end shopping experience and back end product administration with many third party integration straight out the box.

It is still a great solution for blogging or magazine / news websites thanks to its clever posts organization. Many major websites run on WordPress such as Bata as an e-commerce example or MTV News for news.

Highly customized themes and plugins dependent ready made sites come in all flavors at marketplaces like themeforest for business directories to real estate listing platforms WordPress can be extended to form any shape.

Where does WordPress hit the wall?

WordPress is at the very end an open source PHP product so it can be extended, optimized or even re written from scratch to suit your needs but it might turn out to be a very complex if not questionable task! There are better alternatives for such projects.

A custom web application built from scratch for the use case offers unparalleled performance and a set of features that are created specifically for the project with no additional bloat.

WordPress ready made solutions are fine as long as they do exactly what you need. More than often the source code is not so clearly written and very difficult to extend without messing up with complex workarounds.

WordPress might also be overkill for simple marketing websites like portfolios, restaurants, services showcase sites. This because in most cases the pages will not be updated that frequently and they can be much more easily without a complex option filled backend administration. Also having a heavy engine under the hood means it needs constant updates and maintenance adding unnecessary burden for simple static solutions.

Especially for this landing page style communication sites there are much more efficient modern tools that offer a better optimization and speed which is a major ranking factor for your web presence. Most of the premium themes around offer below the average speed results on audit tools like google lighthouse.

Static site generators a.k.a JamStack are becoming increasingly popular for these types of sites as the optimization result is next to lightning speed with no worries about maintaining a server or update its software to avoid hacks.

I will write a more detailed article about the JamStack in the near future.