5 Common Misconceptions about WordPress Elasticity
Scalability is an initial, often uncompromisable goal for growing businesses, which is why seasoned entrepreneurs spend plenty of time refining their business plans before launching new layouts or viral initiatives for their media outlets.
This includes everything from legal and accounting through marketing channels to the underlying technology stack.
Launching a new business on an enterprise-grade platform is an overstretch. You pay hefty license fees for negligible traffic, often combined with a heavy and complex software stack that requires multiple hires to manage effectively.
On the other end, building your online presence on a hosted platform like Wix or Squarespace is limiting. An attractive opportunity targeting a broad audience (a successful press release, a TV interview, or a tradeshow launch) will inevitably require rapid changes to accommodate for high traffic, additional upsells or downsells, and new partnership plans.
WordPress, on the other hand, is a platform flexible enough to use throughout this journey. It’s the most powerful and widely distributed CMS on the market and serves as an open-source piece of software designed to accommodate well-known challenges that publishers deal with.
Let’s review five common misconceptions about the platform running 34% of the web in 2019.
1. Limited Design Options
Design compromises are a frequent hesitation my WordPress team hears during sales calls and meetings. Companies want to follow their brand identity and stick to the modern design practices leading competitors apply.
But they don’t need to worry about design challenges with WordPress. Unlike other well-known CMS platforms out there, WordPress provides complete freedom in terms of aesthetics.
The templating engine of the platform is robust, allowing for a broad number of layouts. Design elements, typography, and color scheme are entirely editable during the process of creating a WordPress theme.
More importantly, the predefined existing WordPress components are really flexible and don’t produce unnecessary or conflicting markup that would affect the implementation of a design concept.
Bottom line: Any design can easily be adapted into a custom WordPress theme. And thousands of existing themes are available for free (or low cost), though some of them may introduce certain technical problems or a vendor lock-in later on.
2. A Small Set of Default Features
Customers read comparison websites and subjective reviews about technology all the time. And due to the limitations of hosted platforms, “Default Features” is a common criterion comparing WordPress to, say, Squarespace.
This concept is flawed for three reasons:
- Over 60,000 plugins for WordPress exist to date. 55,000+ plugins are available for free in the official WordPress marketplace. 42,000 free modules are available for Drupal and fewer than 8,000 for Joomla. Hosted website builders either lack support for external extensions, or have a small pool of 200-300 add-ons built by contributors.
- Building custom plugins is possible and popular with WordPress developers. It’s much more likely to find a PHP developer experienced in building plugins for WordPress than a Wix/Weebly/Squarespace developer (not to mention the platforms’ limited access).
3. Lack of Adequate Third-Party Integrations
Based on our research above, we can easily conclude that third-party support and integrations are common and even prevalent with WordPress.
SaaS vendors prioritize WordPress on top of their integrations’ list thanks to the broad market share. Building a proxy extension that maps WordPress with a new product would possibly reach 80,000,000+ websites out there. And WordPress is approximately 10X more widespread (compared to the second best website builder or CMS on the market).
Customers who believe that WordPress won’t fit the bill can rest assured that the platform, built 16 years ago, is mature enough and can handle a broad set of technical and business challenges together.
And yet, there is the contrasting opinion that WordPress works “out of the box." Here’s what else we hear quite often from prospects.
4. Plugins Would Solve Every Problem Possible
The other “camp” of users firmly believes that building a LEGO project on top of WordPress is completely reasonable and should be available by default, regardless of the business needs at hand.
Plugins are designed for the majority. To accommodate for hundreds of thousands (or millions) of potential customers, they tend to incorporate a complex chain of features, in addition to workarounds for potential server environments, premium themes, or other infrastructure surprises.
There’s no clear categorization of plugins across target markets or verticals, thus the same piece of code is supposed to work on both small blogs and large enterprise platforms.
This added overhead affects the end code quality. Clean and lightweight solutions are more secure, faster, and cause less friction within a production project. From a monetary standpoint, plugin and theme authors are often tempted to build a Frankenstein that targets dozens of industries, providing thousands of customization options. This inevitably affects the long-term performance and stability of the project, especially over the course of updates.
Maintenance costs jump through the roof and unpleasant regressions may jeopardize campaigns more often than you’d like.
5. Install Once and Forget
And speaking of updates, maintenance is often a necessity with WordPress.
Side projects and tiny five-page business websites that don’t change more than two or three times a year can rely on maintenance software solutions like ManageWP or InfiniteWP, handling backups, plugin updates, and restores in case of a problem.
Larger scale customers rely heavily on their web application platforms. On top of development needs, maintenance must be considered as a part of the contract.
Outdated plugins and themes pose security risks. Malicious hackers could take control over a website and ruin the brand’s business – or even worse if they gain access to confidential user data.
And skipping regular maintenance cycles may require a major overhaul of the project in a year or two. Some business owners even budget for a brand new website build every two to three years instead of opting for regular maintenance.
In conclusion, it’s safe to invest in a CMS that happens to run many of the largest publishers in the world. With practically no design constraints and an endless pool of available extensions, backed by the support of every major SaaS solution integrating with the ecosystem, WordPress is the leading and most versatile web content framework that could help you reach the next step of your audience acquisition journey.
What are the most pressing questions you have for WordPress? Let me know in the comments below.
Related story: 5 Ways Publisher Technology Lags & Hurts Monetization
Mario Peshev is the Founder, CEO and WordPress Architect of DevriX, a technical WordPress agency serving high-traffic publications with 100M+ monthly impressions. Mario's background is in software engineering, and he's been a prominent contributor to the WordPress platform - with platform patches, as an open source advocate, event organizer, and more. Peshev has been an adviser to publishers across North America and Europe and leads the technical team at DevriX that has worked on a continuous basis as the extended department of industry-specific magazines such as SwimSwam, Diginomica, and Smart Meetings, among many others. Follow Mario on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.