Okay, I admit, I’m frustrated and I’m sure that is going to come through in this post but that is intentional. So, please bear with me.
I just spent a little over 2 hours on a wordpress website for the sole purpose of altering a menu. A simple menu. Something that would normally take maybe 10 minutes to do on a custom site or a standard wordpress site. But this particular site had customizations done to the wordpress theme so, the “menu” was not actually a menu, it was instead a hard coded php include that was hidden somewhere in the files.
I could go on a rant about this issue but that’s not the point of this post. I want to take issue with the slew of calls that I’ve received lately for SEO proposals on WordPress websites.
Now, don’t take me wrong, I am writing this post ON a wordpress website, a very basic, easy to use template. That’s the point, BASIC and EASY TO USE. The more customizations you put on a WordPress site, the more things can go wrong.
WordPress For Websites Or Just Blogs?
In my opinion, WordPress is excellent for blogs. Just as long as the templates are kept simple and manageable and just as long as the owner of the blog understands that there are security measures to be taken and that updates of the templates must be kept up.
But for websites? My educated opinion is NO. Here’s why…
1) A wordpress website has not technical advantage over a custom website when it comes to SEO. It won’t rank better. Bradley Knutson, SEO, Web Developer at Brad Knutson Development and Consulting says “Out of the box, a self-hosted WordPress site is flawed when it comes to SEO. Your permalink structure will be poor, there is rampant duplicate content and titles, frankly it’s a bit of a mess.”
Of course, there are those who say that WordPress is great for SEO but it’s always interesting that they include statements like…
a) it’s easy
b) it’s intuitive
c) it’s clean coded
d) you don’t need to be technical to use it
Well then I must be talking to the dumbest people on the planet because I get calls extremely often asking for help on how to manage a wordpress website. These people are lawyers, contractors, successful business owners, accountants, etc. They are NOT DUMB, so the statements that the program is “intuitive” and “easy” are only written by someone who has used the program often and may have experience with other template style programs.
When you’re so immersed in a skill, it’s easy to forget that what you take for granted is difficult for others.
So, the next time a designer tells you that you should go with a WordPress template for your business website, run, run, run, run!
2) WordPress is GREAT for managing blog posts and for being a blog. I’ve used it as that for years. But, when it comes to managing many pages, the WordPress platform simply falls short. Now, you may say to yourself, “but my website only has 40 pages.” Yeah, today it has 40 pages. But the idea of Internet marketing is to keep increasing the size of your website. Keep adding data to it, update it, refresh your knowledge base on it. If your website remains static, that just tells the search engines that your business is static.
“There’s a mounting body of evidence that WordPress doesn’t do a good job of handling a lot of pages.” by WTE.net
3) Plugins. If you’re not familiar with WordPress then let me explain what Plugins are. Anyone with a WordPress site can install scripts that are called “plugins”. There are a huge variety of plugins that can do a huge variety of tasks. Some create fancy menus, some create fancy slide shows, some let you add coding to your site pages, some let you alter the style of font you use, etc. Pretty much, anything you want to do on your website page, you can find a plugin to do it.
The problem with plugins is that they don’t always update with the WordPress template. So, if you open up your WordPress account and it says “Please update now”, and you do (as you should) you may then find that the plugin that you used for your menu is not working. Or the slideshow stopped sliding. You will then either have to install a new plugin that is compatible or wait for the plugin you are using to “catch up” with the new updated version of your template.
4) Security. WordPress website are notorious for being extremely hackable. As a result, you need multiple plugins to keep that from happening. But the truth is, the majority of WordPress site owners don’t have any of those plugins and are completely unaware of this issue until something happens.
So, What Do You Think About WordPress?
Now, my perspective on websites is always from the SEO mindset. I don’t often see WordPress websites in the top 10 when I’m doing a competition search for my clients. So, from my experience I know that just because a website is in a WordPress format it doesn’t mean it’s going to be in the top of the search engines.
I also know that algorithim changes are often (over 200 last year from Google alone) so that means that any template program has to either keep up with all of those changes or they just fall behind.
In my opinion, it’s tough enough to ensure that your website will stay up online and that the hosting server doesn’t drop you. It’s tough enough to keep up with all the algorithim changes by hard coding the website pages and it’s tough enough to keep track of broken links and bad incoming links and shopping cart programs that fail, etc. But to have to add to this mix all the problems that can occur with a WordPress website? It just doesn’t make sense to take more chances with your business website.