7 questions on WordPress you were dying to ask

…but were afraid to ask.

As the entire world seems to be ‘Going WordPress’ a lot of marketers are just plain lost on why and why and when and what. Throw in the added pressure from above, and a dose of FUD from the WordPress agency community and you have the recipe for sleepless nights and substance abuse!

They’re nothing as powerful in the marketing space as peer pressure. Witness the rise of native marketing, or content marketing or big data. It all seems scary stuff that we didn’t need to use last year – yet this year the rise of WordPress has us all clamouring to find WordPress agencies.

Here is the graph of searches for “WordPress Agency” over the past few years… where the hell did that come from?

Search for WordPress Agency - courtesy Google Trends

When we pivoted to become a WordPress agency in 2010 there were no dedicated national agencies focussed on WordPress. Now it seems, everyman and his dog is a WordPress specialist. So why the rush, why the fear to “get on board” and what’s driving its (unnatural) growth?

Q. Is WordPress the best digital services platform in the world?

A. Erm, probably not. It’s pretty good – very good in fact – and has great adoption and lots of good community reasons to use it but it’s not the best at everything. It is the most popular, though.

Q. Should I migrate from Drupal/Joomla/A.N.Other CMS to WordPress?

A. Nope, not unless you are re-building your digital services offering and your current platform can’t hack what you need. Most modern CMS platforms work just fine and there is no need to change for change’s sake.

Q. Will WordPress truly democratise my web publishing?

A. It can do, but in most cases that’s not true. It can enable your organisation to move to a more democratically-managed platform but simply installing WordPress won’t change the culture of your business or your operational practices.

Q. How do I fend off “Why haven’t we moved to WordPress, yet” questions?

A. Developing a new site or digital service should be carefully considered move, with planning and proper scoping. Simply “moving to WordPress” will make no measurable difference (see caveat below) to your digital strategy and could cost ten of thousands of pounds.

(Caveat: if you current web platform is not mobile friendly, or is a decade-old handcut monster, or the skills to maintain it are outdated then moving to a modern, simpler platform could yield benefits. Although, you are likely to yield similar benefits moving to any modern CMS)

Q. Why is WordPress the “platform of choice” for so many big boys?

A. This is harder to answer as really the growth of WordPress is the (random?) combination/confluence of:

  • Growth of a need for “Mobile friendly”, specifically responsive design support
  • The changing face of SEO and content planning
  • Organisational shift away from owned-software to PaaS and SaaS
  • The “little death” of Microsoft in this decade (don’t worry, they will come back)
  • Open source as a philosophy of developing web-platforms
  • The end of traditional IT departments controlling web assets
  • The rapid growth/adoption of the (WordPress) agency marketplace

The absence of only a couple of the above factors and the world could have easily gone in a different direction. Lots of other CMS platforms now address these issues but WordPress kinda got there first and with the most devoted fanbase. Like I said earlier, it might not be the best but it’s certainly the most popular.

Q. What’s the downsides of going WordPress?

A. It can be a little restrictive, especially if your design and brand is highly prescriptive. It’s also not the most efficient digital platform to use – it requires a well set-up environment, some decent processing power and a well managed database.

Usefully, processing and database grunt is cheap these days, and there is a wide selection of WordPress PaaS providers out there to address the infrastructure challenges.

It can force developers to use certain structures and processes when developing bespoke content and that can create needless skills-gaps.

The automatic and incorrect assumption of lower cost just because the guy down to the pub will build a WordPress web-site for £40 an hour it can drag the building and planning process down to a lower standard than you’d expect from less-common platforms. Avoid this by using a proper WordPress agency (I would say that, wouldn’t I!).

Too many WordPress cooks can easily spoil the digital-broth, it’s best to introduce some key development disciplines that manage the growth and enhancement of the platform.

Q. Why is WordPress always being hacked. Is it secure?

A. Being the biggest kid on the block makes WordPress the target for the greatest number of hack-attacks. WordPress, and their partners, fix the issues really quickly (and often they are actually non-issues) but so many WordPress sites are run on shoe-string budgets so they are exposed with out-of-date plugins, servers and databases.

A well-run WordPress web-site is very secure indeed.

Not scary at all

We’ve been a WordPress Agency since 2008, we were a very early adopter and we don’t recommend that every digital service is delivered with WordPress. We also don’t want to see it become too dominant as that can stifle progress.

If you want an honest assessment of whether you should go WordPress, then give us a shout.