So You Think You Know WordPress

This stigma has plagued WordPress, especially when compared to other available tools like Joomla and Drupal.

Users believe that WordPress’ functionality is narrow when it comes to creating a corporate site versus a blog, but they're wrong. Since its debut in 2003, WordPress has broken free from its roots in the blogosphere, evolving to become a full-fledged content management platform. At least 77.2 million sites worldwide use WordPress thanks to its advantages and capabilities.

What misconceptions have you fallen for? Here are the top six myths -- which I’ve gone ahead and debunked -- surrounding WordPress’s capabilities. 

Myth #1 - Hackers Target WordPress

Like most convincing misconceptions, there is a foundation of truth with this one. WordPress is widely used and is also open source. If hackers want to target a platform, they can’t be stopped -- but other content management platforms aren’t any better. The key to WordPress’s web security lies in the fact that it is developed with layers of protection to prevent attacks and is continuously updated to combat any efforts towards compromise.

A prime example of this is the recent WordPress and Drupal XML Denial Of Service Vulnerability discovered by Nir Goldshlager (one of the good guys). Many people would point to this as another reason why not to use WordPress. I would argue the opposite. Given that this issue was not unique to WordPress and that they responded quickly, it seems to me more of a pro than a con. This fast patch is the kind of response you want from a CMS, and something you would not get from a closed source CMS or one with a smaller community.

Myth #2 - Updates to WordPress Cause Broken Plugins, Making it Expensive to Maintain

It is always a good idea to keep your software current to maintain security and desired performance levels, as well as to take advantage of new features. Although WordPress updates its core often (roughly every one to two months), it maintains backwards compatibility with older versions to prevent breaks in code (this is a core ethos at WordPress). Many other CMS tools lack backwards compatibility so when they upgrade you need to completely rebuild your website, which can be time-consuming and expensive!

Myth #3 - WordPress Pages Load Slowly in Comparison with Other CMSs

WordPress Core is no slower or faster than any other CMS. To improve the performance, ensure that your web-hosting plan meets your business’s needs. Often this means you are not using shared hosting but rather VPS or a dedicated server. The increased resources dedicated to your website will allow for quicker look ups and replies from the server computer and decreased lag due to traffic requests. Add to that some caching, for which there are a number of free plugins available (like W3 Total Cache), and your site can be blazing fast!

Myth #4 - WordPress is Incompatible with Third Party Vendors or Other Technologies

No web CMS has the free or premium plug-ins readily available to exactly meet all of your desired business needs. The more complex your business is and the more particular the need, the more likely it is that you will end up needing a custom solution. However, since WordPress has a large community and following, chances are good that you'll find a prepackaged tool to meet your needs. If one still can’t be found, any third party vendor that supports PHP (the most commonly used server-side programming languages) will be compatible with WordPress, just a little bit of dev work will likely be needed.

Myth #5 - WordPress is Only a Blogging Platform

WordPress has zero limitations in terms of what a website can look like. There is no way to visually distinguish a site as WordPress. From TechCrunch to TEDCNNMajor League Baseball and the National Football League, a number of highly visible brands use WordPress. If you can create a site with HTML, CSS and JavaScript, you can integrate it into WordPress for content management. WordPress is a tool designed specifically for managing webpage content, not the website's aesthetic or visual layout.

Myth #6 - WordPress Sites Are Expensive to Create and Maintain

The cost to develop a site depends on the company and the complexity of the desired website. This is not unique to WordPress CMS -- in fact, an out of the box installation’s cost on WordPress is much lower than many of its competitors.

When it comes to content management, WordPress has had an unjustly tarnished reputation. At this point, it’s clear that the alleged deficiencies of this CMS aren’t unique and that WordPress is actually better suited to address them than many other options. The size of your business and the demands you put on your website will dictate the cost and complexity of development and maintenance, but the one thing that does not change is the value of WordPress as a CMS.

Title image by Romain (Flickr) via a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license