WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world, powering roughly 29 percent of all active websites. Yikes.
With numbers like those, it’s no surprise that WordPress crosses the minds of those who are choosing a CMS.
But, is WordPress robust enough for enterprise-scale projects? Sure, it’s highly versatile and can be used to build a range of digital experiences — but is that enough?
Make no mistake, WordPress may be a beginner’s playground, but some of the biggest brands on earth trust WordPress with their online presence.
CNN, Forbes, TechCrunch, UPS, Sony, BBC America, and Mashable are among the names on that list.
Yet, there are a few limitations and concerns you need to know about before you adopt WordPress as an enterprise CMS.
It’s classed as the most-attacked CMS on the market, and although there are regular security patches and a range of security plugins out there, if security is your priority, then you might want to spend some time to find a better protected CMS.
At its core WordPress is equipped with fairly basic site features. You can blog, create site pages, apply templates and make some design customizations. If you want to get more detailed, you’ll be installing plugins.
Plugins make WordPress great by adding all sorts of functionalities. Some plugins let you build forms, other turn your WordPress website into a social network. But at the same time, plugins make life a whole lot more difficult.
The more plugins you install the more bloated your site becomes, and that makes it slower and makes the backend UI look messy. But more worryingly, you’ll run into issues where certain plugins clash and break each other, or the plugin developer disappears and never fixes the plugin that you rely on. Basically, with each plugin, you’re adding another movable — and therefore breakable — part of your web presence.
This one is linked to the plugin problem. Whenever WordPress rolls out an update, you’re at risk of breaking your template or plugin set.
If a WordPress core update conflicts with existing plugins and themes, they won’t work until the third-party developer updates the plugin or theme — or until you revert back to an older version of WordPress. And guess what? That leads to security vulnerabilities, not to mention headaches.
Plus, there’s no tech support number you can call when your site breaks. Sure, there is an active community and a range of third-party support agencies, but they won’t always react quickly when your website is down.
You’re not just on your own when it comes to support, you’re on your own totally.
The only way to leverage the support of Automattic, the company behind WordPress, is by paying a hefty $5,000 per month (at least!). Outside of that, you’ll have to hunt for an agency if you want outside help. Either that or your in-house development team will be super busy.
(Imagine how many tacos you could buy with $5,000…..)
WordPress works great as a standard blogging tool for either single or multi-author blogs. You can easily and quickly publish high-quality and visually enticing blog posts. However, with standard blog posts, your content requirements are still quite simple.
If you have pages that draw upon several different content types with complex interactions, this will stress the overall functionality of WordPress, and your site performance will suffer. Having a single blog post that contains photos, video, and text is one thing, but if you want to display multiple portals and instances of text or imagery — like the iGoogle Portal website does, for example — then WordPress isn’t the best option.
If you have a smaller website, the editing workflows and user permissions you’ll need to manage are quite simple. If you only have a few users, then uploading content, and making edits is something you can easily accomplish.
But, if you have a larger site that requires frequent updates, and changes to the content, it’ll be much more difficult to accomplish these tasks. This is doubly true if you have a team of contributors that each have roles that will evolve over time.
If you have complex and regular content edits, and user permissions, then you’re better off using a different platform.
Migrating your site to different servers is never a fun experience. However, the complexity of WordPress will make this process even more challenging and time-consuming, especially if you’re migrating a custom WordPress website.
Where a custom website built with other could be moved in minutes, and equivalent WordPress website could take far longer.
Security is one thing, but spam? That’s a whole new kettle of fish.
The average WordPress instance gets inundated with spam comments, and you’ll need to regularly clean them from the backend of your WordPress instance.
And sometimes, they even slip through to the comments section on your website, which can get embarrassing.
The solution is either a whole lot of time or a premium spam-busting plugin.
One of the biggest questions you need to consider is your business really interested in managing technology. Do you really need to understand and manage the complexities of hosting, security, and upgrades? Is there a better way? Can the platform be a commodity that is managed for you that then allows you to engage in higher value activities that actually drive revenue, reduce costs or increase market share?
WordPress is indeed free. But Hosting WordPress isn’t free, and neither is maintaining it.
Whatever you save in currency, WordPress will slowly sap from you in the form of plugin and theme maintenance, security issues, spam management and those generalized minor-but-kinda-major issues that stop your site from launching or looking as good as it should.
Believe it or not, WordPress typically ends up being the expensive option in the long run compared to SaaS content management systems.
Overall, WordPress is a solid choice for bloggers, freelancers or organizations that can get by with a simple website that’s not feature-heavy. Or, an organization that doesn’t mind allocating time, money and employees for the maintenance of their WordPress instance.
If that sounds like you, then give WordPress a go. If not, you should be considering SaaS solutions where the vendor carried the burden of maintenance, updates and back-end issues.
Got any good reasons to use WordPress as an enterprise CMS, or is SaaS the way to go? Talk to us in the comments below!