We Don't Always Use Wordpress

The Good Stuff

Wordpress is a great tool for getting websites online quickly and has a huge community of great developers behind it. Based on a quick Google search and clicking on this random link it appears roughly 27.5% of the web runs off Wordpress. This blog post is not anti-Wordpress propaganda, we just don't think it needs to be used for every website on the planet.

Does your site need different user roles for editing and maintaining content? Does the content on the site change on a daily basis? If yes, then stick with Wordpress.

Does your site need to sell things online, have a shopping cart and take payments? Well then Wordpress is a great option for building a simple e-commerce platform.

Alternatively, is your site just a simple landing page that doesn’t need a login and contains content that doesn’t change often? Wordpress may not be the platform for you.

Some WP Downfalls

Although it is a great tool, Wordpress does come with some drawbacks. These are:

  1. Bloat - Have you logged in to a WP site and it takes forever to load a page to edit the content?
  2. Master Of None - WP started as a blogging engine and has slowly turned into a CMS/CRM/Store/Wiki/Blog with plugins for everything else imaginable (we are in the middle of writing a custom plugin). This means that it’s not really great at anything, it doesn’t solve a specific problem because it tries to solve all problems.
  3. Security - WP is so widely used that hacking is a real problem. Poorly developed plugins and themes along with weak passwords make it an easy target for the neckbeards.

Static Sites!

For simple sites or a basic blog, insert Hugo (or any static site generator, but we recommend Hugo because it’s awesome and we use it). Hugo is a website framework and is optimized for viewing websites. It doesn’t use a database so no need to worry about losing your data. It doesn’t have a user login, so weak passwords don’t matter. Also, you use whatever HTML template you choose, so no need to figure out how to build a theme.

We use Hugo to build simple websites. If all a client needs is a website to display contact information or to show off their latest work, then let’s go back to the stone ages and use pure HTML, CSS and JS - no backend code required!

Static site generators allow us to write DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) HTML templates so the navigation bar, sidebar and footer are in their own file and included in each page.

This also allows for simple and cheap hosting. Just drop the generated files into the public_html directory and you’re done.

If you are looking to get fancy, continuous deployment is an option, but we'll save that for another post.

Downside

You will have to know a little HTML and CSS to set up the structure of the site. You can’t be scared of running a few commands in terminal/cmd to get things going (if you’re using linux my guess is this is a non issue). If you need to rely on some external plugins then static site approach ain’t the right one for you.

Final Thoughts

In summary, Wordpress is great if:

  1. Your site needs different user roles for editing and maintaining content AND if your site is constantly changing; or
  2. You need your site to sell items online (careful with security).

We don’t recommend Wordpress if:

  1. You want a simple static site; or
  2. You require a complicated, fancy site.