Photograph by: Patrick McHugh

I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere tranquil existence

Web Design: WordPress: – No longer soft and cuddly

WordPress is not right for everyone.

While I am an advocate of WordPress, in recent months I have begun to re-evaluate my views.

The platform has grown up, it is big and brawny. It may have started out as a blogging platform, but today it serves out blog posts without breaking a sweat. Having WordPress just for your blog is akin to having Hulk Hogan butter your toast. So ask before you leap… maybe you don’t need a wordpress site?

There are several issues you should be aware of – it’s Speed, Security and daunting versatility.

WordPress is a huge beast…

Blogging is just a small aspect of WordPress. The platform now handles online shops, booking engines, multi media portfolios, real estate databases, learning management systems … the list is endless.

Every business is unique, so all contemporary WordPress websites have different dynamics, unique customisations, with this comes added complexities and a steep learning curve. Many small business owners dream of curling up on the couch in the evening updating their ‘user-friendly’ wordpress websites… sorry to burst your bubble.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

~ Leonardo da Vinci

User friendly?

As web publishing tools become ever more user friendly and more people are attracted to these platforms, other complimentary tools are developed, offering new possibilities of utility and possibilities. Herein lies the contradiction, simple and complicated at the same time.

These new ‘simple’ tools allow easier web publishing for everyone. But you must also realise that web designers also are no longer shackled by technology, this has encouraged more creativity in the sector. This creativity is easy to see and measure, look at the Wayback Machine to see what websites looked like just ten years ago.

I thought you said it was complicated?

The complexity is in the sum of all the parts designers now utilise to make these new creations.

That is how I explain wordpress to clients, with thousands of plug-ins or extensions you can now build just about anything. But the website will be as complex as the sum of all it’s parts, every piece added to the core software adds more complexity and more issues.


WordPress is very secure in it’s basic form and you can now set it to update automatically with the latest software. But the more pieces you add to the basic package the more attention you need to focus on wordpress security. This subject is too complex to tack on here, and beyond the scope of the post. The easiest way to explain it? … updating the WordPress core regularly is not enough, today you need to keep an eye on all the pieces that have been added to the site… the more pieces, the more vulnerabilities.


Google now times your web page response times, the faster they are… the more user friendly your website appears to Google. WordPress websites tend to be whales, and these overweight issues bring sluggish response times. Not only is this frustrating at times for your visitors, your site unfortunately may be penalised by Google.


Talk to your web developer before future development? Do you actually need a bloated WordPress site? Could a HTML5 and CSS3 slim site work for you? Make sure your web designer can build a HTML site, otherwise they may never even offer you this option.

Ask about Speed? Page Response times?

Ask where the site will be hosted, as cheap ‘shared hosting’ which is the most common, has it’s limitations. For a WordPress site you need to go premium, it’s big and needs a little muscle, some extra RAM and SSD drives for the files and databases is advisable.

If you have a wordpress site ask about a maintenance contract and upgrading the host. Keep it up to date, have your web developer do regular maintenance, backing up the site and keeping an eyes on theme and plugins.

Put your site on a weight loss diet, remove any extra plus-ins or baggage from the site.

WordPress is a great platform, but it is not right for everyone.