WordPress: Let Us Dissuade You
The topic of the week could easily be “Why not Drupal?”, “Why not Joomla!?” or any number of the various CMS platforms out there; so, why not WordPress? Let’s first be fair and disclose that WordPress is a mature platform that is very popular with companies ranging from a mom-and-pop to a large multi-national. So we figured we’d train our sights on a popular product and explain that for us, its “why not WordPress?”.
Not too long ago, Terrostar asked itself this same question; not just WordPress, but with the ever growing list of CMS solutions available, which one is the round peg for our cylindrical hole. Our thought processes ranged from how hardened and secure the code is, to the subjective gut feeling and perception of a product.
WordPress has a reputation, both good AND bad. When setting up a blog for my wife, I used WordPress because it did exactly what she needed it to do. She needed the WordPress blogging features and that is what she got. Then she asked me to do some extra things with it, and for the most part there are plugins for just about everything. But, unless I was willing to write a custom plugin for her, I needed to lower her expectations to what was possible within reason.
The success of WordPress, can also be its downfall. The more websites running WordPress, the larger the target the website becomes from the hacking community. That is not to say that a properly patched and updated WordPress is insecure, but the thousands of Mom-and-Pop companies would not usually think to update their software. Instead, they might wait for a savvy friend or family member to come over and check it...next summer.
Beware. The counter is not necessarily true so let's not find the most unpopular product and make it our own. Its important for a product to have either a massive community to support it or a dedicated company to develop it. Most of the top CMS options have both a fan-base and a support community.
Which is why WordPress would not work for us. Imagine if you will, a skyscraper. A skyscraper has offices for different companies to perform various tasks and have a number of different uses. Each office is the same; whether it is size, shape or color. There is no room for growth of the company, and you're forced to use whatever electrical or plumbing is already there. If your company is to remain small and does not need to evolve with the changing world, then one of these simple offices will suit it fine. So many times, however, the ambition and drive of a company will force it to adjust the parameters of the walls surrounding it. Maybe through additional hires, the need for 240 Volts or any number of improvements. A company like this will need to move or risk a slow death, and in many cases, said company will either move to a different building or the ambitious would decide to build from scratch.
Wikipedia defines WordPress as “blog software” which, at its most basic level, is accurate. Regardless of how popular or simple a product is, the functionality of any WordPress plugin is building upon a blog interface; which is a very specific purpose, which is re-purposed into what we feel would be a veritable Frankenstein’s Monster of code.
As I mentioned earlier, if your only purpose is to blog then WordPress is going to be perfect to you. When our customers come to us for our expertise, the question is never, “Can you create a blog for me?”; the question is, “Can you create a website for me, and one of those features would need to be a blog?”. It is our responsibility as interactive media partners to guide our customers to make the best possible choices for their needs. That being said, we are rarely asked to create a website that performs just a single task.