It seems like everyone these days has a WordPress website. And why not? WordPress is very popular as a blogging platform, but it's also popular with web designers due to its relative simplicity in throwing together some elements to produce a fairly attractive website. But is WordPress always the best option available for building a website? Absolutely not, and for many good reasons!
Before I get into the disadvantages of using WordPress, let's looks at some of the advantages:
WordPress is relatively easy to use. Many web designers can put together a WordPress website more quickly than they would a static website. It's the platform of choice for web "designers" who don't know how to code a website; simply drag and drop elements onto a pre-existing template and you're done! WordPress is also flexible and customizable. Thousands of WordPress templates, widgets, and apps exist that can add cool features to your website, such as the capability for comments, calendars, reviews, etc. And many of these templates and plugins are free. And WordPress has tons of support, so if you have a question or need help, there's a very good chance you'll find your answer by doing a quick online search.
These are some of the more compelling reasons to use WordPress to design your website. But the disadvantages of using WordPress tend to outweigh the advantages. Some of these disadvantages are:
1. WordPress is Vulnerable to Hackers and Other Security Issues
Because WordPress is "open source", and anyone is allowed to build WordPress themes and plugins, with no organization to monitor them, WordPress themes and plugins can come with bugs and malware right "out of the box". You could add a plugin that contains code that allows the plugin creator to access your WordPress admin dashboard, so they can go in and make changes to your website. WordPress is also notorious for being vulnerable to hackers. A hacker can break into your WordPress site and add hidden, spammy code. Search engines find the code the next time they crawl your site, and your site could end up getting blacklisted and blocked from search engines for containing spam, and blocked by users' antivirus programs.
2. Your WordPress Site Could Stop Working
WordPress often rolls out automatic updates. Updates can be good because they help to patch security flaws and allow the latest widgets and plugins to work properly. But updates can also bring down your site. If your site's template or plugins are no longer compatible with the latest WordPress update, your site may stop working properly. The person who created the template or plugin must ensure that it works with the latest WordPress update, and if not, they need to update the template as well. But what happens if the person who created the template is no longer around or forgets to do the update? Your site may no longer work, and your web designer will not be able to fix the template unless he or she is its original creator. This means that you may need an entirely new website built.
3. WordPress Websites Need Maintenance
Maintenance is an ongoing issue with WordPress sites, due to updates, compatibility issues, and security flaws. Where a hand-coded website may never need monthly maintenance, a WordPress site absolutely requires it, which can be expensive in the long run.
4. WordPress Sites Can Be Slow
A big advantage of using WordPress as a web design platform is its features, flexibility, and interactivity. But these features come at a cost. Each plugin adds "bloat" to the website, and the more plugins you have, the slower the site will run and the longer it will take to load. Sometimes even just one plugin can cause these issues. If your website takes too long to load, visitors may visit your competitor's site instead. And one of Google Search's algorithms puts emphasis on a website's load time; sites and pages with a longer load time do not rank as well as well as those that load more quickly.
5. WordPress Sites Are Not Search Engine Friendly
WordPress websites are generally not as search engine friendly as a hand-coded website. This is due to the structure of the coding behind the site. Where the code for a hand-coded site is (or should be!) simple, uncluttered, and straightforward, the coding for a WordPress site is proprietary, and often a complicated mess. Search engines can get confused when encountering a line of proprietary code while crawling a WordPress site, so the site may not rank as well as a hand-coded site in search engines.
6. WordPress is Not As Easy As You Think
If you're looking for a website that you can update yourself, and you're not a web designer, you may think WordPress is a piece of cake. It's not. And the system is touchy; make one little mistake and your entire site can stop working. If you're going to make updates to your WordPress site, you should have a basic working knowledge of html and css coding. Otherwise your changes may end up looking a little "off", at best, or may bring the site down completely, at worst.
7. WordPress Sites All Look the Same
In general, unless your web designer has customized your WordPress template, your site will probably look generic and very similar to every other WordPress site out there. Granted, many WordPress sites are attractive, sleek, and uncluttered. But when all of your competitors' sites have that same sleek, generic, "WordPress-y" look, how do you stand out from the crowd?
The popularity of WordPress as a web design platform is due to the fact that you can build a reasonable looking website with little or no knowledge of coding. Whether that website will look or function the way you want it to is beside the point, given that the alternative is to learn coding, or hire someone else to build the site for you. But is the building of a WordPress site really "web design"? Designing a website involves, well, the "design" and layout of the site, not using someone else's pre-designed template. WordPress involves the dragging and dropping of pre-existing elements, which makes this type of web "design" the equivalent of a "chef" putting together a sandwich at a fast food restaurant. Granted, there are many talented and experienced web designers who use WordPress properly; i.e. taking an existing template and customizing it for each client. But even when used properly, the many problems inherent to WordPress websites are still going to exist.