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I announced some years ago that I probably wouldn’t use WordPress to build your website since there is almost always a better option. Some time after that I changed my post and removed the “probably” since I could no longer think of a situation where WordPress would be a good fit given my skill set.

Although I stand by my reasons not to use WordPress I should point out there are some developers that use WordPress and can optimise it to achieve decent load times and rely on a handful of good quality plugins and decent custom code. This post is aimed at the vast majority who don’t work this way.

WordPress’s popularity continues. Why? Here I speculate as to the reasons.

It’s all they’ve ever known

The party line with WordPress is that it’s good for SEO, easy-to-update, lots of free plugins and themes are available, more “developers” are available and you don’t need to know how to code to put a website together — and this gets ingrained into people’s minds. As I have covered in the above links these claims tend to be either unfounded or not necessarily a good thing.

If you only know WordPress and think there is nothing better out there, why would you recommend anything else?

The client requested it

If a client knows a CMS you can be sure it’s WordPress. Per the previous point it has a reputation it probably doesn’t deserve. I understand the client’s view and ultimately it is their money but a client comes to a developer for their expertise so they should really let the person they’re paying work out the best platform. That’s being said, if a client really wants a WordPress site, that’s up to them.

The developer’s agency uses it

Even though a lot of developers find WordPress horrible to use since its codebase is so dated some agencies use it as a lowest common denominator. It means their turnover of staff has less of an impact on their continuity of service since WordPress developers tend to be easier to replace.

They’re a “WordPress specialist”

Don’t get me wrong, as I mentioned in the introduction there are legitimate WordPress specialists out there. But I’ve come across many web people who use this job title as a way to hide behind the fact they can’t use anything else. Such people effectively become shills for WordPress, blindly recommending it regardless of a client’s requirements. Choosing the right web designer is more important than choosing a CMS.

It allows them to build websites without knowing how to code

It’s funny that being able to put a site together as a non-coder is seen as a good thing. While there are WordPress users who can actually code there are many that can’t.

I don’t particularly care what other people use to build their sites. What I resent is other companies making claims that are simply untrue to promote WordPress.

On many occasions clients of mine have received feedback telling them that their site should be built in WordPress. They then go on to list bogus reasons as listed above (good for SEO, easier to update, etc). On many online discussions about WordPress its users will say it’s the best CMS out there. This is an odd claims since they’re saying it’s the CMS is the best for all sites. I’ve always maintained the CMS choice should be based on the client’s requirements, not the other way round.

A simple solution

Developers are free to use whatever tool they want. It’s not possible for a developer to know every CMS out there. But they should at least know a handful of different ones (and how to use a framework or build something custom using libraries) and recommend the right tool for the job so they can do the best by their client.

As a client to ensure the company you go with don’t end up using the wrong tool for the wrong job:

Tim Bennett is a Leeds-based web designer from Yorkshire. He has a First Class Honours degree in Computing from Leeds Metropolitan University and currently runs his own one-man web design company, Texelate.