An interesting article on The Next Web, makes the case that developers hate working with WordPress, and advises marketers to do the same. The key data point underlining the article is the Stack Overflow’s developer survey showing WordPress at the top of the “dreaded” list of technologies to work with. This is despite WordPress holding a commanding 40% market share of the CMS space. And that share is growing – particularly since around 2012. So they must be doing something right!
So what are the reasons for developers to dislike WordPress, and what does that mean for you as a website owner?
WordPress is “Old” – and that’s a BAD Thing?
Developers like new shiny things. It’s a fact! By nature, they’re drawn to the latest stuff that promises to revolutionize the way things are done. It’s not a bad trait – far from it. One can say that it’s even necessary to push things forward. But you as a business owner, have different motivations. Your goals are survivability, long-term maintenance, and cost.
The things that attract developers to new technologies are precisely the ones that should make you hesitate. Yes, WordPress has been around for a long time. And you know what else you want to make sure sticks around for a long time? You and your website! The very things that turn developers away from “old” stacks like WordPress are precisely the ones that work in its favor.
When something has been around for a while, you know that it can weather the storms. You know that the team behind it is stable and profitable. And if you’re thinking of switching, you should switch to another stable technology. There is a reason why Operating Systems are released with Long Term Support stretching forward many, many years. It’s because businesses require stability above all else.
Cost Increases with Scale
According to the article, the long-term costs of WordPress make it an expensive operation in the long run. But I just don’t see it. The cost of training staff, and upgrades to equipment as your business grows increases the costs of using WordPress. Well, imagine that – you pay more as your business grows and consumes more resources! Who woulda thunk it?
And as opposed to what exactly? A link in the article points out that only 17% of Fortune 500 companies use WordPress. But a little digging showed me that 34% of them use something called the “Adobe Experience Manager” (AEM). Is the article recommending that we switch to something like this over WordPress? How much does AEM cost anyway?
Answer: Around $250,000 to 1 million per year. Per year!
Add to that, Adobe’s notoriously ghastly documentation, and you need to hire their trainers and pay huge license fees. This is what happens when developers try and get too smart. At least if you fail with WordPress, you don’t lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in upfront costs.
WordPress is Plenty Customizable
WordPress’ customization capabilities are a strength. The article talks about wanting a different coloured background for a certain category of product, and how WordPress being a CMS makes all pages the same using a template. Someone didn’t get the memo about action hooks and filters, and how trivial it is to change CSS based on the code present on a page. I can’t believe that this is the example the article is giving to demonstrate WordPress’ inflexibility when the solution is so easy.
Bottom Line: WordPress Is Still the King
Your developers can and should give you their opinions. But the final business decision is yours. Remember, it’s your skin in the game and not theirs. It’s your money. Your business. If you feel that your developers will continue to be recalcitrant, then you better get them onboard quickly or replace them. The last thing you want is for them to deliberately carry out a self-fulfilling prophecy that tanks your site because they’re too motivated to think of WordPress as “old” or “unscalable” or whatever.
WordPress is probably just fine for your needs.
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!