• The Top 10 Things About WordPress Every Site Owner Should Know

    PUBLICATION DATE: 8 Apr 2019 | AUTHOR: Johan van Seijen | CATEGORY: WordPress,

  • Quick Summary: Although WordPress is touted as being the most user-friendly tool to quickly build a site, it does present a great many challenges to the uninitiated. In this article we present the biggest challenges novice website owners face when using WordPress to build their site. And what to do about it.

  • WordPress rules the online world

    A third of the websites in the entire world run on WordPress. That are literally tens of millions of websites. And it would imply that a lot of people really love WordPress, which is definitely true. WordPress is an extremely powerful tool that indeed provides anyone with the ability to both create content and show it on the internet. And it's free. But there are and have been a lot of other free tools that did the same thing. But during it's 15 years in existence WordPress has trumped them all.

    We love WordPress as well, but as premium theme provider have learned a number of painful lessons during our years in business. And we've also seen our support desk flooded with thousands and thousands of questions during those years. And they do follow a certain characteristic...

    WordPress is far more complex than is advertised

    Yes WordPress is extremely popular, but it's also far more complex than a lot of people like to admit. For people unfamiliar with computers WordPress will have a tremendous learning curve. There are a huge number of configurations available and a lot of them have a more technical characteristic. Just take a look at the permalinks section.

    Can all this be learned? Sure. But if you decide to dive into WordPress, be prepared to invest the time necessary to do so. You'll going to need it.

    WordPress is not a website

    You don't create an entire site with WordPress. You'll need hosting, a domain name, a WordPress theme and probably a set of WordPress plugins. Those elements combined make up the entirety of a website. That means that on top of the complexity of WordPress, you'll add the complexity of all of these other elements as well.

    And if you thought WordPress was complex, getting al of the aforementioned elements to correctly work together is far more complex. What we see is that a great portion of our clients "assume" that this just works out-of-the-box and then it doesn't. Now what?

    WordPress doesn't have a backup feature

    Almost no site owner backups their website. That's just a fact. You can't blame people not backing up their website. A lot of people do a lot of stuff that isn't good for them. But because they don't experience the consequences of those action in the short term, it doesn't force them to take action.

    That's basically the issue with backups. People only learn about the importance of backups after the fact and then it's too late. WordPress doesn't have this feature integrated, so the threshold of backing up a site becomes even bigger. You''ll have to rely on plugins like BackupBuddy or UpdraftPlus.

    But even with one of these plugins in place a backup restore can fail. Or, in some cases, the issue with your WordPress site is so bad you cannot even access the backend to restore a backup in the first place.

    WordPress doesn't create content for you

    The biggest issue why people don't have a website is not because of the complexity. It's because of time, or rather, lack thereof. WordPress is a great tool but it won't create content for you. That's up to you. And since creating content takes a lot of time to accomplish a lot of people get stuck there. As a result they never create the necessary content to go online.

    Updating WordPress is a huge risk

    Like any software tool, WordPress needs regular updates. It's open source content is available to anybody, also to people with less grand intentions. And since it's the most popular platform to build sites, it's also the most popular platform to hack. WordPress updates are meant, among others, to counter security issues.

    However, updating a WordPress site poses a tremendous risk to its integrity. The best thing that could happen to a functioning site is that nothing happens. But don't be surprised if the latest version of WordPress is wonky itself or breaks a number of plugins, sometimes even your theme or the entire site. It just happens, I'm really not making this up.

    Not updating WordPress is a huge risk

    Not updating WordPress on the other hand, is just as bad. For the latest versions of your plugins can be just as incompatible with WordPress as the other way round. Also, as time goes buy, vulnerabilities in older WordPress versions get more known and will be exploited more.

    This means that people will be able to get unwanted access to your site. Either to hijack it to display anything on your site they'd like, to install malicious piece of code you won't even notice, or to obtain valuable information (think ecommerce), or just for the fun of it.

    You're still far removed from the website you'd like

    Customizing a website running WordPress, to truly look and feel like the site for your business is difficult. With WordPress you can only create content: text, images etc. It doesn't create the entire design of your site. With your logo, with your color scheme, with your layout and all of the elements that make a site truly a brand and unique.

    A WordPress theme is the tool with which you create the unique design of a website. But changing a theme to reflect your brand either is either a custom job for a web developer or a DIY job with the help of a site builder tool like Divi or Elementor.

    Many starting website enthusiasts have lofty goals when it comes to building their own website. But they are either far too ambitious and complex to pull off themselves, or too expensive if handed over to a professional web designer.

    The market is flooded with bad WordPress products

    WordPress is huge, it's open source, everyone can dablle in it, everyone can offer a theme or plugin, and a lot of people actually do.

    In the last years the market has been flooded with tens of thousands of WordPress themes and WordPress plugins. The majority of these products are from people with a sub-par skill level who'll quit their WordPress side-project after one or more years because they have better things to do.

    This leaves the user with products that might work wonky from the get-go at best, will not be updated after a certain period of time, will not be supported after a while. They might also severly clash with other plugins, WordPress and the theme, causing the site to break or being severely hampered in doing its job.

    In an ocean of free themes and plugins, people are less inclined to dish out money for reputable providers who've made it their business to provide a sustainable service for the long run.

    The market is flooded with misinformation about WordPress

    There are many people operating in the WordPress space and creating web content for it. Content like blogs and Youtube videos. You have entire sites and channels dedicated only to creating content.

    On the other hand, there aren't that many people actually building quality products for WordPress. Just as there are many more people reviewing movies than there are making movies. Building a product is more complex than talking about it.

    All WordPress theme providers and plugins developers need to vie for attention with these other content creators. This has led to an increasingly online space where everybody clamors for attention. A way product developers have found to get people to talk about your product is to pay content creators. This is called " affiliate marketing": content creators are more inclined to talk about product providers that pay them.

    Affiliate marketing leads to a biased and skewed view of the world. Online it has lead to the reduction of content quality and the rise of aggregated content: the blogs with lists. The top 10 this, the best 20 that. That kind of stuff.

    When it comes to WordPress it has a lead to a flood of low-quality information where all links point to commercial giants like Themeforest in the case of WordPress themes. This trend is not always in the best interest of the customer.

    So what should you do?

    What should you do after you've read all this?

    You might consider reading our article about website builders: " Everything You Need To Know About Website Builders". Website builders are a great alternative to counter the complexity of everything necessary to build a healthy WordPress site.

    We also offer a "theme and hosting" package, which is a managed WordPress solution. You don't have to worry about domain name, hosting, theme and WordPress update and compatibility issues, because we take over responsibility for these areas. Take a look at our hosting to learn more about our offer.

  • About the Author

    Johan van Seijen

    Co-founder

    Johan van Seijen is co-founder of Nexus Themes and our lead designer. After gaining a Master's Degree in Information Science he decided to try his luck in the illustration industry, working for clients as Avantgarde, Cosmopolitan and Glamour. With the return to the software industry grew the desire to create something to be truly proud of and which could spearhead his ambition of having his own company. And this company is what followed. He lives with his wife and daughter in Amsterdam.