You wanted to start a website. You asked your more tech savvy friend for help, or just searched on Google and found some articles that all talk about using WordPress as a starting point for creating your website. But…
Do you know why they tell you to use WordPress?
Or even if this was your choice and you would like to know if you have made the right choice to build your website on WordPress read on.
According to WordPress:
The core software is built by hundreds of community volunteers, and when you’re ready for more there are thousands of plugins and themes available to transform your site into almost anything you can imagine. Over 60 million people have chosen WordPress to power the place on the web they call “home”
Well, that’s the plain English translated version of what you should know. The geeky translation of the above paragraph is: WordPress is an Open Source framework, so you don’t have to worry about maintaining the underlying code that your website is built on, because if any important issue arises, it will be resolved immediately by a community of developers and pushed to you as a software update. Moreover, we built the core of WordPress in a way that you could customize it very easily using themes that do not touch the core code. Also, If you would like to add new features, you could write plugins and extend new functionalities again without touching the core code. In other words, WordPress is an extensible software. Don’t believe us, here is a showcase of what others have done using WordPress. Oh, and we forgot to mention that we had to make WordPress so simple and dummy proof so that 60 million people could use it and find help online whenever they need without bombarding our emails [Or, our software community base is bigger than yours].
So that was the more geeky version of why you should use WordPress. Yes it is the most popular framework out there, and because of the user base and availability of help whenever you are stuck might be the right choice for your small website. The beauty of WordPress is that no matter in what programming expertise level you are, it is very easy for you to start and grow your programming expertise. WordPress is also a very light content management system (CMS), so if you would like to change content of your website, publish some articles on your blog, or just add and modify pages to your website with ease, then WordPress is the right choice for you. However…
When not to use WordPress?
In Software Engineering there is a paradigm called “Buy vs. Build,” which suggests that whenever the cost of a software justifies the time of building it from scratch, it is better to buy. With WordPress this cost is zero, and it is even possible to build on top of the existing code, because the GPL license that WordPress is released under provides all sorts of freedom to manipulate the code to your specs for any purpose, even commercial use. However, WordPress is not the only framework around to start your project on. As an underlying base for your project there might be better options, depending on what you are trying to accomplish. For example if you would like to create an online store with 1000s of products and configurations, and coupon codes, and up-sells and cross-sells then Magento e-commerce platform would be a better starting point. Of course if you plan to add a simple shopping cart to your WordPress website there are numbers of shopping cart plugins out there that might be a good choice for a starter online store, but for a more complex shopping cart, none of those shopping cart plugins would provide you the full features that you would get from a platform that was built to serve shopping cart functionality from the start. In most cases these plugins are developed by a specific vendor and you might need to pay for more advanced options, whereas Magento community edition is developed by a community of open source developers, which you could bet on wisdom of the crowd. Also, Magento has a large community base, which gives you a better chance of solving your programming nightmares should you need any technical help. Choosing a right framework from the start will solve a lot of future growth problems. Even Magento’s core itself is built on top of another framework called Zend Framework. Since Zend Framework provides the essential Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture, so the “Buy vs. Build” concept for building Magento was in favor of building it on top of another framework instead of writing the underlying structure from scratch.
There are hundreds of other frameworks out there, and each one fulfills a different purpose. One of our favorite frameworks is Zend Framework, we almost use it for most of our web applications, even mobile. There is another similar framework that uses Ruby programming language and is called Rails framework or famously known as Ruby on Rails. However, there are times that you might need a very light framework, and that’s when we use CodeIgniter. Although CodeIgniter is a very light framework and has a small footprint, we were able to build a full limousine management software just on CodeIgniter framework.
Not to mention, you definitely don’t need a WordPress installation just to create a simple webpage. You might want to look into HTML5 Boilerplate instead.
For whatever reason you are using WordPress, even if you started your website on WordPress and now have grown it to a popular website with thousands of visitors a day, sometimes you need to step back and ask a very simple question of “Why do I use WordPress?” In most cases your answer of accelerated website management and development might justify the reason for using WordPress either as a blog and/or as a CMS.
Experimenting is still the best way
We might have read hundreds of articles on PHP vs. ASP.NET vs. Ruby vs. Python, or (any PHP framework here) vs. Ruby on Rails vs. Django, or (framework A) vs. (framework B), or even use a framework matrix to compare them all, but at the end, the only way to choose a right framework for your project is the old getting down and dirty way of experimenting. There are always pros and cons in using external code, but sometimes the benefits of accelerated development far surpass any disadvantages. How to choose a right framework for your project might be another topic for another time, and there might never be a perfect answer to that question, but the best way always remains experimenting with the code. We love WordPress and this website is built on WordPress as well, which brings the question of why do we use WordPress?
Why do we use WordPress?
The main reason we use WordPress is because we wanted a blog engine to publish tutorials and articles on a regular basis, and since WordPress has been around for a while, the underlying code is very robust. Also familiarity is another reason. We know ins and outs of WordPress, PHP is the main programming language that we use, and we have developed many websites on WordPress since we were freelancing, and that familiarity around the WordPress code saves us a lot of time.
We want to know why and how you use WordPress? Is it your website, or you are developing it for someone else? And what was the main reason you chose WordPress? Let us know in the comments.