#16: Pros, Cons, and Everything You Need to Know About WordPress – Michael Wender

On the sixteenth episode of the 1 to 10 podcast, we sat down with Michael Wender, Web Developer, Graphic Designer, and Internet Consultant.

Episode Overview

WordPress: If you’ve been considering building a new website, or migrating to something easier, there’s no doubt that WordPress has come up. But how do you know if it’s right for your business?

We asked a true WordPress expert this very question on our 1 to 10 podcast, and he gave us the pros, the cons, and the ugly (well, nothing ugly, but you get the idea).

Michael Wender is a Web Developer, Graphic Designer, and Internet Consultant, specializing in WordPress and PHP. He’s ran his own consulting firm for over 17 years, and we’re kindred spirits — both graduates from Full Sail University.

Check out his reasons you should (and shouldn’t) be using WordPress:

WordPress 101: What is WordPress?

That’s an interesting question, as it’s evolved pretty substantially over the last decade, but essentially it’s a content management system, or CMS. (At its super basic core: a CMS runs and maintains all your webpages.) Originally, WordPress handled mostly blogs, but it now handles total web development framework, including ecommerce.

There are a lot of pros (which we go over down below), but an essential component of WordPress is that it allows as much or little management and customization over your website as possible. With WordPress, you can start a website in minutes, and customize it for decades.

A couple quick stats:

  • 30% of the web is powered by WordPress
  • 60% of all websites that are built with a CMS, use WordPress
  • 27% of the top 10,000 sites (by traffic) use WordPress
  • There are over 100K WordPress developers available

Ok, but what you want to know is: Should my business use WordPress?

Michael made it incredibly simple with this pros/cons list:

The Pros of Using WordPress:

‘There’s a plugin for that’

A plugin is additional code you plug into your site — Anything from adding blogs from other sites, to ecommerce, anything you want your website to do: Just like “there’s an app for that” for iPhones, Michael says, “there’s a plugin for that” on WordPress.

Incredibly easy to use:

WordPress was built on a philosophy of democratization — the creators wanted WordPress to be incredibly easy for everything to publish content to websites. They’ve stuck to that philosophy (although an expert could add complex functionality). If you are a 50+ person company, chances are, you already have someone within your organization who would be able to take the site from a developer and maintain it for your company.

Plenty of developers can use it:

An infinite amount of developers can build you a website on WordPress. However, this is also a con we list below; because of all the noise, you have to be judicious in your search for a developer.

Incredible power:

As stated earlier, WordPress provides incredible ease, but endless customizations and power on the back-end.

1st speed:

As long as your developer is following best practices, your site will load quickly.

2nd speed:

If you decide to go the WordPress route, your new site will be up and running in no time.

Yes, There Are Cons, Too:

You have to be careful with themes:

Many third-party website tout that they have 500 to 1,000 different templates with plenty of features. But be careful: What makes a bad theme is feature bloat. Your business doesn’t need every feature. It needs a specific set.

“Not all themes are made the same,” said Michael. “I’m from the philosophy that you want to take a theme that comes optimized, and comes lean and mean. Then, you build out the features a particular client is going to need. If you buy a theme that comes loaded as a Swiss Army knife, you’ll often run into problems.”

Be cautious with developers:

Since everyone sports their abilities with WordPress, you have to be careful who you choose.

Here are 3 questions Michael suggests to consider when choosing a WordPress developer:

  1. Can the developer use the WordPress software fluently?
  2. Are they a true developer (can they work with the source code), following general best practices?
  3. Do they know their way around plugins?

Everything Else You Need To Know About WordPress:

Consider managed hosting:

A developer or hosting service that provides managed hosting will ensure that every time WordPress is updated (at least 3 times a year), everything on your website, especially your plugins, will continue to run smoothly and quickly.

Full disclosure: Michael’s company is incredible with this piece! So, definitely consider him, but a few others to throw in the mix:

Start with the ‘Gutenberg’ version

A major overhaul of WordPress was recently released called Gutenberg, or “block editor.” Some, who had grown accustomed to the older version, haven’t loved it (which isn’t an issue, because you can revert to the legacy version). However, Michael says if you’re just jumping in, Gutenberg provides most users with the easiest methods of embedding URLs, putting in blogs from outside sources, etc.

What’s the #1 Thing Someone Can Do to Grow their B2B Tech Company?

We ask every guest on our podcast if they have one grand piece of advice for any growing B2B tech company.

Here was Michael’s response:

Before you search for a web developer, or even before you decide on WordPress for your CMS, get crystal clear about your goals. Then, find a developer who can execute on those goals, speak your language, and translate your concepts.

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This post is based on an interview with Michael Wender from michaelwender.com.

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