Is WordPress the right platform for your organization? Addressing common concerns.

Laptop on table with coffee, pad of paper and pen

Since 2010, Alley has been creating digital products for publishers, including major newspapers, broadcast TV networks, nonprofits, foundations, and brands. For our clients, who publish content rapidly for audiences in the millions, WordPress is the platform of choice. Its ease of use, stability, and scalability make WordPress the right tool to help online publishers reach their audiences quickly. 

While the many benefits of WordPress are well-known — it’s free and open-source, it features a user-friendly content editor, it makes SEO easy, etc. — it’s plagued by misconceptions about its perceived weaknesses. Common misapprehensions include: 

WordPress can’t support large sites.”

“WordPress doesn’t have enough functionality to meet my site’s needs.” 

“Design options are limited in WordPress.”

“It’s difficult to manage content in WordPress.”

Perhaps you’ve experienced these very things — maybe you’ve been responsible for managing the content on a WordPress site, and you’ve found it confusing and difficult. Or maybe you’ve wanted to make design changes, only to be told that those changes weren’t possible. These types of frustrations aren’t the result of WordPress itself, but instead result from less-than-stellar implementations. 

So let’s get to some mythbusting: 

Myth: WordPress doesn’t support large sites.

Not only is WordPress capable of supporting large sites, it powers some of the largest sites on the web. Alley has built and maintains sites containing over a million unique articles, and serving over 50,000 concurrent user sessions. Paired with expert engineering practices, it is a great choice for building a site to perform at scale. Our best practices include using a combination of automated testing and peer review of every line of code in order to avoid introducing bugs or insecurities or slowing down sites. In addition, we partner with hosts like WordPress VIP who specialize in maintaining a robust platform that is tuned to running WordPress at scale — including using smart caching strategies and serving static assets from a fast content delivery network (CDN). WordPress is a proven solution for large, heavily-trafficked sites.

Myth: WordPress doesn’t have enough functionality to meet my website’s needs.

WordPress can be customized to implement virtually any type of software feature needed on the web. It also supports custom development and third-party application integration via APIs. This has gotten easier over time as the CMS continues to grow; the active community of WordPress Core developers have paved the way for enterprise developers and services over the past decade, accelerating its capabilities.

In addition, it ships with a robust set of out-of-the-box features that can speed up the development of your website. Its deep library of plugins can be tapped to address such disparate needs as multilingual functionality, search-engine optimization (SEO), and customer relationship management (CRM) integrations. Any plugin we use at Alley is vetted to meet our rigorous code review standards as well as those of our hosting providers. 

Myth: Design options are limited in WordPress.

WordPress sites can be fully customized, with no limitations on a website’s look and feel, interface, or navigation structure. 

If you’ve experienced design limitations using WordPress, you were likely using an out-of-the-box theme. These prepackaged themes are helpful for those with limited resources, but they aren’t the right approach for larger organizations that need a custom design, scalability, flexibility, and speedy performance.

Further expanding possibilities for user experience and design, WordPress can be used as a CMS that is “decoupled” from the website front end. Decoupled or “headless” architecture is rising in popularity for organizations that deliver content across various channels, including the web, native apps, smart home devices, and third-party apps. In a decoupled implementation, WordPress is used for content management, while a separate front-end component dedicated to the user experience communicates with the CMS via an API. 

Myth: It’s difficult to manage content in WordPress.

WordPress’ new block editor, known as Gutenberg, has transformed the experience of publishing content via the CMS. Editors can use Gutenberg to quickly create media-rich pages and posts and to control their layout with ease. Just like playing with physical blocks, the WordPress block editor’s modular approach allows template components to be quickly added and rearranged, giving users the freedom to create content in an intuitive way — without needing to know how to use shortcodes or custom HTML. This lets editors and content producers do their jobs seamlessly with technology that supports their work, rather than hinders it.

In addition to proper implementation, proper training in your instance of WordPress is also key. Over the years, we have found that folks who are wary of the CMS have been asked to use it without adequate training or support. Our goal is always to pair this user-friendly CMS with personalized training that helps teams get the most out of it. This sets website content managers up for success, giving them the deep understanding they need to make use of their new CMS without fear, taking full advantage of its powerful feature set. 

Fact: Old rumors die hard. 

There are many reasons why countless publishers across industries use WordPress. The platform’s limitless functionality possibilities, endless design freedoms, and unrivaled editorial interface are a few examples. In a future post we will address apprehensions around its security. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out to discuss these or other WordPress myths.