I effectively went all in WordPress this year. Thanks to partnering with WPEngine, my company exclusively hosts WordPress websites. I would have had reservations about this back when I signed with previous partner InMotion in 2016 but the market and my own perspective have shifted dramatically. WordPress is effectively the de-facto standard of Internet content publishing and will remain that way barring some kind of extraordinary tectonic shift.
In my many years with WordPress I’ve run across a lot of assumptions about WordPress. The real winner was this quote from a new client:
“Wow, that’s your pricing? I thought I had to pay $10,000 for a WordPress website!”
That’s what finally motivated me to sit down and publish this article that’s been sitting in my drafts for a while. Behold, some of the myths of WordPress debunked!
WordPress Is Unintuitive and Difficult to Use!
This argument betrays a lack of understanding of how WordPress works. The key thing to remember about WordPress is that rather than lock you into a single builder, WordPress hosts literally thousands of different themes and theme frameworks, all with their own methods of designing and building web pages. There are thousands more plugins that host similar features.
The ease of use and intuitiveness of these themes vary wildly and I’ve used many over the years. Some are designed for advanced developers and lack the sort of drag and drop website builder you’d expect from a platform like Wix or Squarespace, while others are just a bloated mess. Still, many of them – including my weapons of choice Divi and Astra with Elementor – are easy to learn and use on a basic level even if you’ve never touched a website backend system before in your life.
The other issue – and unfortunately this is something I’ve dealt with frequently – is WordPress websites can be very poorly built. Whether it’s a result of needlessly layering builders on top of each other, poor development practices, or bloating the site with too many plugins (NEVER DO THIS!), there are plenty of ways to give WordPress a bad impression. Just make sure you work with someone familiar with WordPress, or if you’re a DIYer, use current themes and plugins.
In short, saying that WordPress is “unintuitive” because you tried learning it with a bad theme or a poorly developed website is like saying driving is too hard because your first driving experience was a jumbo jet.
I would go as far as arguing that this is more of a strength. What if you don’t like the builders of Squarespace or Wix? You’re out of luck. What if you don’t like the builder on your WordPress website? Choose another one. You’ve got thousands to pick from!
WordPress Is Vulnerable to Hacking! Platforms like Wix and Squarespace Can’t Get Hacked!
Yes, proprietary platforms like Squarespace absolutely can and have been hacked. Even if it’s as simple as weak passwords being compromised on their internal networks. It sadly happens all the time.
WordPress is only guilty of suffering from Windows OS syndrome. It’s not that the platform is inherently less secure than any other so much as a basic rule of cybersecurity: Exploits are developed for the most popular platforms. The suggestion that any particular platform “can’t be hacked” is both factually untrue and discounts the human error often associated with hacking incidents (more on that in a second).
This is very similar to the marketing buzz by Apple about how iOS supposedly “couldn’t be hacked,” a claim that has in hindsight aged very poorly. iOS security is excellent but it has been breached just as any software can. It’s impossible for a system to be “hack-proof” for the same reason a house can’t be prevented from being broken into unless you were to build a house with no windows, doors, vents, or points of entry of any kind.
Sounds silly, doesn’t it? It’s just as illogical to say that any particular platform can’t be hacked, and anybody who says this lacks an understanding of how cybersecurity works, or at worst is being dishonest.
None of this also takes into account the fact that so much of hacking an end user’s account involves user error, something I deal with routinely. Weak passwords, not changing passwords, very easy to guess security questions and social engineering are all ways that gaining unauthorized access to someone’s website involves as much trickery as technical know how. If you really want to make sure you don’t get hacked, download a password manager, complicate your E-mails and use hard to guess recovery questions. Don’t forget to enable two factor authentication.
WordPress Doesn’t Have Customer Support!
Okay, this one I’ll give you…sort of. With a large number of “but” caveats.
It’s true that unlike proprietary companies like Wix, Squarespace or even dedicated hosts that offer their own builders like GoDaddy, there’s no dedicated customer support in the traditional sense. The truth is a bit more nuanced.
WordPress is an open-source platform (provided you’re not using the .com version). By definition that means it’s impossible to have dedicated support service, but this is remedied in two ways. The first would be whatever developer or team you’re working with, similarly to how you might just choose to work with someone on any other site builder if you’re not a DIY type.
The second thing to note is WordPress has a very dedicated community. WordPress enthusiasts across the world have built the WordPress Codex to provide excellent and in-detail documentation. Additionally, WordPress has an active support forum and support communities are everywhere. So yes, WordPress as a platform does not have dedicated support. That does not mean it has no support. Especially when you’re working with a developer.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t point out that just because a company has customer support doesn’t mean that it’s good. I’ve personally found GoDaddy’s customer support to be a nightmare, and good luck reaching anybody at Squarespace. Unlike with WordPress, if you can’t easily reach someone through the dedicated support line for your website provider, you may be out of luck. So I hesitate to really call this an advantage but that may be my anecdotal experience.
WordPress Is Dying, [Insert Product I Probably Own/Use/Have Invested In] is the Future!
This one is so bizarre I don’t know how people say it actually believe it.
There are many reasons to not use WordPress. It may not be appropriate for your project. You may personally have developer issues with it. You may just not like the user interface or the direction it’s taken. Those are all valid reasons.
On the other hand, as I’ve stated over and over and will continue to restate, WordPress runs 43% of the entire Internet, ten times as much as runner up Shopify. Shopify, by the way, has dipped slightly in usage this year in keeping with missing their expectations.
It’s not just small businesses anymore. Massive organizations like Andreseen Horowitz, Amnesty International, Cerberus Capital Management, BBC America, PlayStation, and the freaking Walt Disney Company all use WordPress. You can make the argument that WordPress’ original niche was with smaller websites but that was more than a decade ago and WordPress has evolved tremendously since then.
You may not personally care for WordPress, and that’s fine! Except you not liking something is not evidence that it’s out of date or dying, and you would sound much smarter saying you don’t like it.
WordPress Websites Are Super Expensive!
This one is difficult to quantify because the scale and scope of WordPress projects vary so wildly. Although in my experience a lot of this is a result of wildly inflated quotes, usually when agencies and tech companies pitch websites vastly beyond the scale of what the clients actually need. Sticker shocks can develop a wrong first impression of an entire platform.
WPBeginner ballparks upfront costs of starting a WordPress website at anywhere between $100 to $500 to $3,000, to even as high as $30,000 or more. Enterprise WordPress websites escalate into the six figures depending on their needs.
The best way to approach this is to think of your business size. The larger your business is, the complexity the website will probably need, and thus your bill will go up accordingly. Especially when it comes to dynamic elements like registration platforms, E-commerce, or what have you. If you’re a corner pub that just wants a basic menu and specials page and someone quotes you $5,000 that’s a bad sign. At best it’s a sign of a company seeking the wrong target market; in a worst case scenario you’re being scammed.
Besides, I run a subscription service with pricing similar to Squarespace or Wix so I can shoot that argument down personally.
There you have it: Five of the most common WordPress I often come across debunked point by point. It may be in the interests of some of these platforms aspiring to take a bite of WordPress’ market share to discredit the platform in any way possible, but I would encourage you to try it out for yourself and get a feel for it. WordPress didn’t get to where it is today by being unintuitive, difficult to use or insecure, and there’s certainly no sign of it going anywhere. You may as well welcome it to the table. Get started and download a copy of it from the WordPress website now if you’re inclined!