WordPress is great and its critics are nitpicking Geeks. There, I’ve said it.
OK, so that’s a fairly inflammatory statement isn’t it? Well allow me to explain.
The critics of WordPress are indeed in the eyes of the world “geeks”. These are the same type of people who can’t understand why Windows is used by so many more people that Linux. They tell everyone how technically Linux is so much better. I’m not opposed to Linux by the way, and I can quite happily use it. I think that other, less technical people could use it but the unfamiliarity of it makes it daunting. And since a PC or laptop you buy comes bundled with Windows, unless you’re a geek why would you bother?
When it comes to WordPress, the main criticism is usually, “It’s a blogging platform, that’s all”. They complain that it’s not designed as a content management system (something that makes it easy for the average user to just log on and add content to the site, without having to call their web designer). They point to other products that do a better job of being a content management system.
Their arguments are always coming from a technical purist attitude. Back in the real world people don’t care about technical matters like they do. That’s why it is now 20% of the world’s top web sites are now using WordPress.
But what is it that makes WordPress so good?
Firstly it’s free. I love a freebie.
However, not only that, but there are things called plugins. These extend the basic functionality of WordPress. For example, I recently have had a client require the ability for visitors to search for the location of their nearest dealer. This is not a simple search, since you can’t search a database for town, suburb or postcode, because if the dealer is not in your town, it doesn’t get a match. Fortunately, rather than having to write the program myself, I was able to find a plugin that had already done what I needed.
There are thousands of plugins for all sorts of requirements. Many of the are free, but there are also premium plugins that may have a cost associated with them.
Next there are themes. These are the things that give your website its unique look and feel. Once again, there are a mix of free and premium themes. You can see plugins and themes on the WordPress site www.wordpress.org
Then there is the ability to customise the product in any way you want. Obviously this is why you hire a web designer, because they are the ones familiar with making the customisations.
Finally, support. Some people criticise WordPress for a lack of support. Nothing could be further from the truth. The support on the WordPress website is extensive, there are tens of thousands of sites that answer many support questions and there are also companies that offer paid support. In addition to this there are many thousands of web designers who are very skilled in the product.
All in all there are compelling reasons to use WordPress and its growth is no accident. And grow it does. It was on 14.7% of all websites in 2011. Now it’s on 24.8%. WordPress is downloaded 89 times every second. It’s not all things to all people, but it’s pretty close.