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So you're using WordPress. Why?
Because it's the best darn CMS out there.

 12:00 am on Aug 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

Anyone that's chatted with me at PubCon [pubcon.com] knows I'm all for a heartfelt discussion on something meaty and/or controversial. I like to debate a point, respectfully. I can learn a lot from someone that takes the opposite position to mine. The key is keeping the discourse civil. So, here's an opener for you to consider.

WordPress happens to be the best CMS available at the moment. Bar none. Out of the box, it could easily drive 98% of the websites on the planet. The rest of them would take a bit of tweaking but I still think it could handle them. Sure it has it's faults and yes, I'm stirring the pot. What say ye? (Please engage in thoughtful and respectful repartee)

the framework is flexible and extensible (just look at the number of plugins for an idea of relative ease of implementation)
the documentation is superb above all other CMS' IMHO
there are a huge number of implementations (50 million and counting - yes some of those are on WordPress.com - does Joomla have one of those?)
massive community support - so many folks monitoring and participating in the WordPress forums. Tips, tricks, troubleshooting, if it hasn't already been asked/answered then support is typically pretty quick
and it's the spirit of the community. I won't deny that Joomla et al have a community spirit as well but WordPress has been at it far longer. Sheer numbers tells the story.

So come on. Let's engage in a serous discussion about WordPress. Love it or hate it, let's hear your thoughts (but keep it clean please).



 12:30 pm on Aug 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

In Dreamweaver I can quickly design a site to look and feel exactly how i want it - navigation buttons, graphics, the whole layout.
Whenever I've used Wordpress, it's because i'm not too fussed with the look and feel.
By and large MOST wordpress sites (not all) are obviously Wordpress the moment you look at them!


 1:11 pm on Aug 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

@mhansen - Thank you for the in-depth post!


 1:51 pm on Aug 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

If a site is that small, who would you need more than a static site

Because I don't do HTML anymore. I can get free wordpress and one of a thousand themes, and have it all installed in 10 minutes. And 99% of everything else I want to tweak can be done in minutes.

It's the lowest common denominator. It's not perfect, but it works most of the time for most of the people.


 2:53 pm on Aug 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yep. And for clients, it means they can post their own stuff, and not bug me with edits all the time.

I am not exaggerating when I say that every site I've put into WordPress thus far has done much better (traffic-wise, earnings-wise and maintenance-wise) than it did as static HTML or PHP. And that's maybe, oh, say, 25 or 30 sites, figuring mine and for clients. That may be an anecdotal sample, but it's MY anecdotal sample.


 3:02 pm on Aug 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

@nickreynolds, now I have to defend Wordpress. Most Wordpress sites look like Wordpress sites because that is the theme that has been chosen. You can choose to make it look like whatever you want.

@wheel, the same argument applies to all my alternatives except the simple static site. Why is Wordpress is the lowest common denominator rather than "some CMS or static site generator"?

In fact the fastest and simplest start is to use a hosted CMS, and it saves you the time Wordpress makes you spend on upgrades. I am thinking of moving my blog (my last remaining Wordpress site) off self-hosted Wordpress for that very reason.

@netmeg, the same applies to any CMS.


 4:11 pm on Aug 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

@netmeg, just read your second para properly. Wordpress is PHP, what are you comparing it to there?


 4:22 pm on Aug 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

WP is the best CMS for which application? If you have a network of sites that have limited requirements and WP fits those, well WP is the best CMS for you.

However, not all sites will fit your requirements. Sure, you can make WP do almost anything with enough resources and talent-that isn't in question. Though there is a point where pummeling WP into doing something another CMS might do with ease results in a diminishing return.

While WP may be perfect for many sites, current requirements, flexibility and extensiblity (future requirements), budget, and culture should dictate the best application for the task.


 4:31 pm on Aug 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

. Why is Wordpress is the lowest common denominator rather than "some CMS or static site generator"?

Why is windows the lowest common denominator? Shrug, don't know, don't care. It's just what everyone is using, and there's a lot of inherent inertia.

It's pretty clear that either Mac OS or Linux are both better OS's than anything MS has ever put out. But nobody uses them. Call your brother in law for some windows help, they can help. Ask them a linux question, can't do it. Try and find apps for linux, same problem. Same as wordpress. It's not the best for any specific application, but it's pretty darn good for most applications. ANd for most websites, that's good enough. Not sure why I would waste 1 minute learning another CMS.


 6:54 pm on Aug 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

@netmeg, just read your second para properly. Wordpress is PHP, what are you comparing it to there?

Custom developments in PHP and MySQL that I and my partners have built (or open source shopping carts we have hacked) over the last ten or fifteen years (give or take).


 11:47 pm on Aug 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

@netmeg, not a fair comparison, another CMS would be a better comparison.

@wheel, I do not use Windows, and its easier to get apps for Linux (open software installer, search, select, click install). I never had a problem finding help either. I can also now tell people who want free help that I do not know Windows.

That said Windows is an excellent analogy, because the argument for Wordpress, is similar, and fails for the same reasons.

Essentially, it seems to come down to

1) I already know it
2) More people use it.

I do not really see the force of the second argument. More people buy Hyundai than Rolls-Royce, but that does not mean that everyone who buys a Rolls Royce is making a mistake.

It does mean more plugins and themes exist, which is great if they happen to meet your needs.

The problem with "I already know it" is that it only works if the effort you have invested in learning it is less than the benefit.

I know that Netmeg has done far more sites than me, and I am sure Wheel has as well. Having implemented many sites using Wordpress, they know Wordpress better than me.

I am also pretty sure that the sites they have done are reasonably easy to implement with Wordpress

On the other hand, if they had chosen another CMS, I am sure it would have done just as well.

I never knew Wordpress that well.

I have done several sites that would be hard to do with Wordpress, but were relatively easy with Django. I am sure the time saved on the first site or two covered the time spent learning it.

On my own sites I also find that having a CMS tailored to the purpose makes me more productive, and a database tailored to the site reduces the number of mistakes I make.

The other platform I have used lately is WolfCMS, which I used with minimal customisation, so I did not really need to know it well.

Wordpress is fine for lots of sites (although not necessarily any better than any CMS), but that does not mean its the best choice for what all of us do.


 12:19 am on Aug 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

@graeme_p: The Rolls Royce analogy is perfect. Sure you can buy the Rolls Royce but a Hyundai car will get you to the same location on less gas, costs less to purchase and maintain, and there are more Hyundai dealers out there if you run into trouble.


 1:27 am on Aug 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

I own a Hyundai for those very reasons - especially as I live in a country with VERY high import duties and sales taxes on cars (around 100% on cheap cars, a lot more on luxury vehicles).

On the other hand, I would not buy a Hyundai under all circumstances. Around here an off roader might be better. If I lived in some other places and wanted a comfortable car to be driven by a chauffeur, I would prefer a Rolls or similar (assuming I had the money!).

If Wordpress fits your needs, fine. It is not a good fit for mine. I cannot link to examples here, but if anyone wants them I will sticky mail them links with explanations of what particular features I think it would be harder to implement with Wordpress than with the platform that site was done with.


 12:52 pm on Aug 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

@graeme_p Understood. :)

Each CMS has it's charms and headaches. My underlying point is the total package - abilities, headaches, support, and ease of development/fixing makes WordPress very appealing but I realize we all bring different skills to the table and our needs/preferences may be that a different CMS suits us better.


 2:21 pm on Aug 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

I would be interested in seeing more on what the Wordpress fans regard as its USP. The number of themes and plugins available seems to be the big win, right?


 2:32 pm on Aug 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think the choice is obvious based on the type of requirements that you are typically challenged with (size and type of client, the sites you own, your strategy & tactics, skills, etc). Those requirements are typically narrow and unique to each of us. And, when your tool is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.

The Hyundai Rolls-Royce analogue isn't accurate. The quality of each CMS isn't in question, nor is the price (hey, the CMSs we've been referencing are free :-). I think a better method of comparison would be:

Motorcycle vs Family Sedan vs SUV vs Sports Car vs Race Car

If I were a racer I want the race car but it wouldn't be a very comfortable car to go to work in (I know from experience ;-).

The Sports car might be great but what if I had 6 kids?

The motorcycle would be great but if I lived in Alaska and I had 2 kids, well, it would have to go.

Etc, etc.


 2:49 pm on Aug 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

The number of themes and plugins available seems to be the big win, right?

Theme availability as a selection criterion assumes that you're not building custom themes for your projects. If not, then this would be a major factor. If so, then not at all.

I agree that plugins/modules/extensions (or whatever you call them based on our CMS flavor) availability is a consideration but it isn't the sole metric for determining platform extensibility.


 3:21 pm on Aug 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

My underlying point is the total package - abilities, headaches, support, and ease of development/fixing makes WordPress very appealing

Again it depends on many factors, and again is not easy to talk about it without comparison, and worse when some of us have developed our own CMS. Anyway, things I've seen, suffered and enjoyed:

WP for you? (us?)or for the clients? that's an important point.

With WP there is usually no need for training on how to update the site(or very little)
We can build up a site and due to the massive use of WP, there is little need to train the people who will update it. There are manuals and tutorials on the web already available. If we use our own CMS then comes the need to train the people in charge.

No copyright problems WITH THE CMS
Not talking about the thems. You can set up and give away any WP install so your client can have it ready (this applies to any massive CMS). If you use your own you have to give a manual and the rights to use your CMS, perhaps with a fee.

Easy to trade
Selling a site is easier with WP (and somehow buying it too) as many buyers ask for a CMS that they already know to just buy and work on it, instead of learning how to work it out, very little to discuss there. Website buyers sometimes ask specifically for WP sites so they can integrate it to their network or perhaps their "one and only WP setup" (old MU style).

The multilanguage thing is very cool, you can sell your site to someone in another country and give your WP already translated, something hard to do with your own CMS unless you implemented that feature, sure other CMS also have this feature.

Things to fix
Usually (don't take it personally, is dumb to do it so), "usually" sites built with WP only mean the developer has very little experience on developing scripts. There are experts, yes, but the web is filled with patches sites built on WP. Don't get mad, you WP lovers know the downs of your tool too.

No guarantees
Being developed by somebody else (specially the plugins) and having changes that makes some things incompatible, you have no way to ensure that any upgrade will keep your site up or break it down. Drupal per example allows you to have the CORE separated allowing you to upgrade it anytime (except with huge changes in versions).

Way better now, but you have to be vigilant in case a bug is found and your site is compromised. I find hosted WP solutions to be better as they take care of this part.

Code and HTML
Sure, experienced users would complain about the size and speed, and will have to optimize the WP and the theme. Yes, WP has benefits (as ping) but that's something we can add to ourr CMS if is not already there. Back to the point, some don't like the amount of html WP brings to the browser and there is a lot that we can improve there.

Anyway, that's understandable, it's an out of the box CMS that, as any out of the box system will need and allow you to customize it.

Is up to the user/developer
Having lots of plugins to choose from doesn't mean each plugin is worth of trust or that the code is optimized for the job, we will have to double check it for our own sake.

Mainstream? fame?
Don't know if that's the perfect expression but WP can be a plus when selling and idea to a client, some associate WP to success just because... it could be a marketing benefit. To be fair I have to bring up the complains posted on this form as when a client needed a project and wanted WP instead of another better solution and then the client and the developer are complaining... Is not the tool the magic one, you have to choose the one right for you. [webmasterworld.com...] Insisting on using WP or anything, like a hammer to do everything and everything is a fail from the start.

I learned here that we should be versatil and able to work diff tools.

Talking about WP is easy, don't like it? take it or leave it, its our own personal experience. Comparing it? not fair for WP or for other CMS as the profile of the users/developers is very different, take Drupal vs WP users as an example. Worse if we compare WP to our own CMS. The big difference is we can build a CMS for us and can be fast and easy "My CMS weights only 50K" (something I've said too) but others will have problems using it (regular users) things change when you develop a CMS for regular use, easy setup and to just give away... it changes almost everything and begins to grow.

I go with my own for personal projects, then Drupal and then WP but depending the need I can go straight to WP.


 1:25 am on Aug 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

A question for those with homegrown CMS's, did you do them from scratch, or use a web framework?

@explorador, I did not think about people already knowing WP. The rest of it is much the same with any CMS - except WP has more plugins and themes, and probably a worse security track record.


 5:13 pm on Aug 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hope the thread stays alive.

for those with homegrown CMS's, did you do them from scratch, or use a web framework?

I wrote 3 online CMS, every one from scratch using Perl and no special modules. The last one has some PHP functions for barcode generation (this one includes product management), also no weird stuff involved.

The first one was quick to do, lots of learning there. The second one was better and the third one is my best, but required a whole lot of more hours of work, why? this one is not only for me but also for clients to use. Any APP that's for you will be faster to develop against the ones for your clients, it involves instructions, data filtering, security, logins, error checking, etc. I'm still surprised by the huge difference it makes to create a CMS app for "any regular person" use (no webmasters).

Two friends created their own CMS. One used a php framework but never discussed details, the other one went for JSP, then switched to WP. The rest of webmasters I know work with php and databases according to their needs as they go, but the majority went straight with WP.


 3:58 pm on Aug 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

My rule of thumb is this

- simple site: wordpress

- complex data of varied types with complex presentation: drupal

- really complex data and data parsing: custom.

My quip which lorax has heard a dozen times is this: If drupal can do it out of the box, it's probably best to just used Wordpress or a dedicated forum.


 10:36 pm on Aug 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

@ergophobe, your first and second choices are similar to what I would do (I do not know Drupal well, but from what I do know it fits) but I would use a framework for the third - although perhaps a different one.

My current choices are:

1) for a blog, news, or chronologically ordered site: Wordpress
2) for a hierarchically organised small site: WolfCMS
3) for a wiki, forum or something else that fits in an existing category. I have never really done them, but I would look for an existing solution.
4) for a content site that needs to be done from scratch, Django. It allows very fast development, has a great community and ecosystem, and there is very little you cannot do with it - you rarely fight the framework.
5) in the unlikely event that I needed something that was even more from scratch (e.g. a web app of some sort), I might look at another framework.

I am going to start another thread as I have some thoughts that are a bit off-topic for the Wordpress form.


 1:15 am on Aug 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

OK, a more general response on a new thread [webmasterworld.com ]


 4:51 pm on Aug 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

I was wondering when you'd chime in ergo my friend. :)


 7:30 pm on Aug 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

I get tired of repeating myself, but I'm not famous enough for other people to repeat myself for me ;-)

One other condition I would add - if there's a system that is flexible and extensible and you know it well already, that's probably the best one for you.


 7:12 am on Aug 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

WP is nice and there are many add-ons and widgets. A problem is however, that many widgets do not work anymore with new WP-updates. If you rely heavily on widgets, this will cause you a problem.

[edited by: lorax at 5:25 pm (utc) on Aug 26, 2011]


 3:43 am on Aug 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

Lets go back to the lorax's original assertion:

Out of the box, it could easily drive 98% of the websites on the planet.

Possible - lots of little sites and blogs (which make up a huge proportion of websites). But it could not handle most visits (because it could not handle the most visited sites). Looking through my search history I see forums (including Q & A forums) big sites with complex functionality (BBC news, Twitter), wikis, sites clearly based on customised databases. WP could run the blogs and most of the news sites out of the box, not the rest.


 3:16 am on Aug 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Two or three years ago I was a Joomla fan but now use WP as long as I can get the functionality I need. It's not the CMS that keeps me coming back to WP -- it's the plugins and templates that I can't easily replicate if I were to consider other low-end platforms.


 7:42 am on Sep 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

We used to run the W3 cache plugin, but now only use the "Force GZip" plugin.

The idea that you're not using any caching plugin is interesting.
Without caching, don't you increase CPU usage by the increased # of times you call the database?
I believe WP-Super cache as the gzip capability in its advance setting


 5:50 am on Dec 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

easy to use,i do not need to learn a lot of knowledges about php,apache,mysql and so on

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