This is a tough one for me.
You see, I learned how to use WordPress some years back and I’m soooo glad I did!
Today, WordPress accounts for around 28% of all websites online which quite frankly, blows my mind.
Having said that, it definitely comes with its own set of pros and cons and that means it’s not right for everyone.
But hey, forget about everyone else, the point of the review is to help you decide whether it’s right for your business or project.
If at the end of this article you decide it is, I’ll point you to one of the best free guides on the internet to help you get started.
If not, I’ll offer up an alternative that might suit you better. Sound good?
Note: I just wanted to be clear that this review is based on the self-hosted WordPress.org version and not the much more limited WordPress.com
With that said, let’s begin!
The Pros (5 Things I Love About WordPress)
There’s definitely plenty to love about WordPress and here are some of my favorite features;
1. Beautiful Designs and Plenty of ‘Em
Regardless of the platform, one of your first jobs is usually to pick a template (or in WordPress’ case, a theme). These templates act as a starting point for your website which you can then build on.
Usually, my time is spent reviewing drag ‘n’ drop type website builders like Weebly and if I find one that offers a selection of 200 or more designs, it really makes my day!
WordPress blows this number out of the water. In fact, they have thousands of themes for you to choose from covering just about every industry you can imagine.
There’s a plethora of free themes and even more premium ones ranging anything from $20 – $100+ (WordPress is open source and themes are created by third-party developers”.
You may never need to purchase one but it’s nice to know the options there if you want something a little more robust and at those prices, it’s still a heck of a lot cheaper than a web developer!
Finally, any theme worth its salt is mobile-friendly these days meaning that your website will automatically shrink down to fit the screens of phones and tablets. You just have to make sure it says “responsive” and you’re good to go.
2. Create Just About Any Type of Site You Wish With “Plugins”
When you first get started with WordPress, you’ll have the bare bones of a website. Then you add a theme which defines the look and feel of the site, and then you can start adding “plugins”
Think of plugins as add-on features that you can install to add functionality to your site and basically, bend WordPress to your will.
The great thing is, there’s a plugin for just about anything you can imagine. You can integrate your social media profiles, add a contact form, display your reviews, start a membership site, or add an eCommerce plugin to start
The possibilities are endless but just like themes, the quality varies and so it’s important to check the reviews before installing a particular plugin. Many are free, while some have a free or lite version and usually a premium option which will unlock additional features.
3. When It Comes To Blogging, It’s Quite Possibly The Best
You may, or may not now that WordPress started out life as a simple blogging platform and is still used solely for that purpose today by thousands of users across the globe.
And I’m one of them!
So whether you intend to create a standalone blog or simply integrate one into your main website, you’d be pushed to find a better platform to achieve it.
4. Search Engine Friendly
There’s so much more to getting positioned high in the search results than which platform you use, but some do make it easier than others.
With the help of plugins such as All-In-One SEO Pack and Yoast, you can make it abundantly clear to Google and Bing exactly what your website, individual pages, and images are about.
The better they understand your site, the more chance you have of achieving rankings where your potential customers can find you.
While we’re still on the subject of search engine optimization, I’d like to point out that certain feature rich themes and too many plugins can easily slow down your website. If this happens, it can have completely the opposite effect on your rankings.
5. Pricing – It Can Be Very Cheap
How much it costs to create and run a WordPress site is a very common question and so you’ll be pleased to hear the WordPress platform itself is free regardless of whether it’s for personal or business use.
You’ll still need to purchase your own domain name (website address) which will set you back around $10/year and you’ll also need hosting to power your website which ranges anything from just a few dollars to $250/month depending on the scope and goals of your website.
This site you’re on right now costs me just under $100/year all in.
The Cons (4 Things I’m Not So Keen On)
As with everything in life, nothings perfect and so let’s take a look at some of the disadvantages;
1. There’s a Learning Curve Involved, Make No Mistake
Look around the web and you’ll see site after site telling you how easy WordPress is to use.
Well, if you’re a web designer, you have experience creating your own websites, or you’ve been using WordPress for 6 months+, then yeah, it’s “easy”.
However, if you’re just about to create your first site, be prepared to learn!
Unlike “What You See Is What You Get” builders such as Ucraft, you create all of your pages and posts through the back-end editor as you can see in the image below;
You’re restricted as to where you can place images and text and you can’t simply drag and drop elements where ever you wish like you can with other platforms.
You’ll also need to hit the “preview” button each time you want to see how your site will look when live.
2. Help & Support – Hmmm… Not Sure Where To Put This One
On one hand, there are a plethora of websites, blogs, forums, and YouTube channels that have tutorials that’ll walk you through just about every aspect of creating and running your WordPress site regardless of your technical experience.
At the same time, there isn’t a central “hub” where you go and jump on live chat or the phone and speak to the member of the team.
If you have problems with billing or your site going down, you’ll need to contact your hosting company. If it’s a problem with a theme or plugin, you’ll need to track down the developer.
When I first started using WordPress, I joined a membership site so that I could get help from other members which at the time was a great help.
3. Themes Rarely Look Like How They Are Supposed To
When you first begin looking for themes, it’s easy to feel like a kid in a sweet shop with all of the choice.
In my experience, the magic soon fades when you download the template, install it on your own website and then realize it looks nothing like it did in the demo.
That’s because the themes are set up with dummy content to show you what the theme is capable of and it’ll often be down to you to try and re-create what first attracted you to it in the first place.
4. Customizations Require Coding Knowledge
Should you wish to make additional changes to the look and feel of your site outside of the basic site colors and text, then a little technical knowledge of coding is usually required.
It’s hardly ideal if you’re in the trenches running your business. You could always enlist the help of freelance web designer to do it for you but there’s obviously going to be additional costs involved.
On the upside, you can change your template any time you wish.
5. Don’t Forget The Ongoing Maintenance
Themes and plugins are always being updated by the developers so to stay up to date and secure, you’ll need to regularly check and update them when required.
It’s also best practice to backup your site before doing so just in case you run into any problems which could potentially break your site.
This isn’t really anything to worry about as the updates can be done inside your back office by simply clicking a button. You just have to remember to do it, that’s all.
Final Thoughts – Is WordPress Right For You?
So here we are, at the end of the review and I hope I’ve been able to offer a little clarity here.
It really all boils down to this;
WordPress is a robust and flexible platform used by individuals and business from all around the globe.
If you have the time to master it, and you’re not bothered about making too many customizations, then I wholeheartedly recommend using it for your website.
Click here to head over to WPbeginner for a complete step-by-step guide to creating your WordPress site.
Having said that, I know many small business owners personally that simply don’t have either the time or inclination to learn it as their busy in the trenches of their business. To these people, I usually recommend Wix.
Over To You
After reading this, will you be moving forward with WordPress or have I put you off the idea altogether? Let me know in the comments section below, I’d love to hear from you!