Why I Switched to WordPress

The Web is ever changing, and this article is relatively ancient having been published 13 years ago. It is likely out of date or even blatantly incorrect in relation to modern better practices, so proceed at your own risk.

I’m pro-intensive-customization, anti-bloat, pro-knowing-what-your-code-does. For over a year, my site ran on a code-base authored at least 90% by me. Don’t get me wrong, I know when to say “hmm, that’s not my strong point, let me use someone else’s code,” but I wanted to have total control over every aspect of my site’s backend. Then, last night I went live with WordPress.

I was resistant to using an out-of-the-box CMS for my own site for a long time. Some of those reasons were tenable, but most were at best me being stubborn and at worst illogical.

Frankly, as often as I get stuck doing backend work at well, work, why do I want to be doing it in my free time as well? There are so many features I want to develop on my site that I just haven’t gotten around to, because at the end of the day, I don’t want to touch that kind of code. Using WP, I can just enable those features, add a plug-in or tweak a little code and quickly have that functionality. It saves me time and headaches.

But wait, why are you using WordPress?

…instead of <ANY OTHER CMS>.

WP isn’t necessarily my favorite CMS out there. I even tweeted an anti-WP haiku once:

A haiku inspired by bad advice. “Wordpress: blog system. / Bloated, not secure, real slow. / Not true CMS. ” (My opinion only)

But I promise I’m not being as hypocritical as it may seem.

  • First and foremost, my site is a blog. Or four blogs, depending on how you look at it. It’s not some gigantic commercial site. A blog needs blogging software. WP is a pretty solid blogging software.
  • My anti-WP tweet was focusing on advice someone gave a client that their 1000+ page absolutely had to be in WP because that’s the only CMS in existence that is any good. Uhh, no.
  • More and more often, I’m finding myself using it for client sites (where the decision to use WP was already made or where it seems like the best solution). In order to be the successful, efficient developer I like to be, I need to become more intimately familiar with the system, and what better way to do that than to use it on my own site?

That last bullet has about 70% of the weight in this decision. Maybe when I start inheriting a bunch of Joomla sites, I’ll develop a different personal project on it. Although I probably won’t port this one to anything else again. That bit was painful.

Great, I’m going to switch to WP too!

…just because of this article.

Hold up there. WP isn’t necessarily the right fit for every site.

If you want to start a blog, sure, go for it. It’s simple, has a ton of themes, and mostly uses pretty good, standards-compliant code.

If you already have a blog using another CMS, stop. Evaluate. Why do you need to switch? Are you unhappy with your current system? Is there some very important feature you want that doesn’t exist in the current system? Why WP? Those are all questions to consider.

If you don’t blog (or your site is separate from your blogs), but have heard that your business absolutely has to have a site built on WordPress, stop. You need to talk to a developer. And I’m not talking about your wife’s niece that took a few design classes at the community college and is now a “Web designer.” WP very likely might not by the right CMS for you. But don’t fret, there’s something out there that will help you meet your goals, and the right developer can help you decide what that is and how to get it going.

What’s your CMS of choice? Are you happy with what you’re using? Think I’m totally bonkers? Everyone has their preferences. When porting the site over, I found quite a few things I’m not 100% happy about with WP, but that’s what custom themes and plug-ins are for, right? So, as I learn more, you’ll surely start seeing some changes around here. And probably some WP-centric posts as well.