Our platform of choice
WordPress is by far the most popular technical platform on the planet. Over a third of all the world’s websites are built using WordPress, enabling their owners to publish their own content, sell online and engage with audiences.
Not only is WordPress a powerful website management system in its own right, but it is also a specific and sophisticated technical environment, inside which it is possible to build web application software to meet a vast range of needs. We sometimes talk about these sorts of systems as being a bit like Lego, with lots of pre-manufactured parts from which we can create websites. At Infotex, our team can also fashion new parts when needed, to work with the pre-existing ones.
For these two fundamental reasons – its popularity and its technology – Infotex has adopted WordPress as our platform of choice for new projects, so that our clients get these two benefits combined.
Each year we receive a number of new clients who have previously had a poor experience of WordPress. This is almost always the result of a poor implementation, and nothing to do with WordPress itself, or its technology.
The growth of WordPress has been the ultimate success story. Starting as a simple tool for bloggers in 2003, it now holds 60% of the CMS market share, powering some 40% of all websites. It offers a feature-rich, user-friendly content management system with a flexible page editor (https://wordpress.org/gutenberg/), allowing you to easily upload and update your own content, and many other advantages…
It is extendable through the use of 3rd party plugins and themes, with over 55,000 to choose from. This allows us to reduce the cost of production by providing pre-built functionality rather than reinventing the wheel. In doing so, it allows our development team to instead focus on the functionality & design that is critical to your business.
Leveraging the above, we are able to write our own themes and custom plugins to offer any functionality that you can imagine.
WordPress is open source, providing us, as developers, with full access to the source code. This empowers us to dive into the core functionality at code level, which can give us crucial insight into any issues we face and provides the ability to take your website in any direction you desire.
Because we have a copy of the code, we are able to host your website in a hosting environment of our choosing. This allows us to ensure that we follow best practice to provide you with a safe, secure, performant and reliable platform that is scalable to your future needs.
WordPress has a REST API, which offers several important benefits:
- It allows us to easily integrate your website with other platforms.
- It gives us the flexibility to create separate applications that interact with your website or access its data.
WordPress core is maintained by a large and engaged team from whom it receives continuous updates to evolve it’s features and fix issues. When properly maintained, this means your website can enjoy a long lifespan before requiring a significant rebuild.
The WordPress plugin ecosystem is vibrant allowing authors to work with other like minded developers to publish plugins extending the core functionality. This also leads to diversity – and even competition – between plugins.
By taking advantage of the WordPress ecosystem you are not reinventing the wheel in the way some platforms need you to. Using the right tooling, it’s possible to update sites in a timely fashion with confidence that the site’s functionality will not be impacted. WordPress is built to host on Apache, PHP & MySQL, which are some of the most popular technologies helping keep costs down in this regard also.
WordPress and Ecommerce
When combined with WooCommerce, WordPress provides market leading ecommerce capabilities whilst still leveraging its content management power.
All of the core ecommerce functionality you’d expect is included within WooCommerce, and, like WordPress, can be extended further through the use of 3rd-party plugins. It also gains all of the benefits listed above, allowing us to provide the functionality that is right for your business and can evolve with you.
The Challenges of WordPress
We have extolled the virtues of WordPress and given reasons for why we recommend it for nearly all of our clients. Yet we all know that there is no single platform that is great for all scenarios, right? So, let’s take a look at who it might not be so good for, and why you might be hearing those bad reviews…
Some common complaints about WordPress, that you shouldn’t always believe…
“My WordPress site was hacked”.
By virtue of its ubiquity, WordPress is an attractive target for hackers who can create a single attack platform and use it against approximately 1 in 3 sites on the web. However, this also means that WordPress core is actually one of the most closely scrutinised platforms available. While no site on the Internet today is totally immune to hacking, the majority of hacked WordPress sites come about because they have not been kept patched up-to-date, or they use low quality plugins. By using the minimum number of plugins possible and selecting those plugins carefully, when combined with regular updating of WordPress core and rapid response to known vulnerabilities, you can be confident that your WordPress site is actually more secure than the majority of your competitors. We also advocate Cloudflare for protection against unknown threats.
“My WordPress site is sooo slow”.
Yes, we’ve seen sites like that too, and with some careful development work we have turned several around. Hosting the site on powerful and optimised servers, reducing the number of plugins in use, and using modern block-based designs rather than heavyweight add-on editors can revolutionise a website’s performance.
“With great power comes great responsibility”.
In terms of admin usability, an admin area with the amount of functionality that WordPress presents to an administrator, complete with a large stack of plugins, could easily be overwhelming. However, the WordPress admin area has seen significant usability improvements over time, and the current iteration, complete with “Gutenberg” block builder, are now amongst the most refined in the industry. It includes tooltips to guide novice users, and navigation which automatically allows you to focus on the main purpose of the page.
So, when is WordPress the wrong choice?
Like any platform, where WordPress falls short is when you ask it to perform in a way that it just isn’t designed to do. WordPress isn’t designed to handle massive volumes of constantly changing data such as a national news website or large scale event ticket vendor. It is also not a natural fit if you are investing to become a global e-commerce platform nor to run your bricks & mortar EPOS system (till). However, by using it’s REST API we have proven that WordPress has a vital role to play in modernising the stock control and sales platforms for many “real world” SMB’s. Let’s outline some of the cases where WordPress might not be suitable:
e.g. auctions, ticket sales.
WordPress would only handle small-scale ticket sales or auctions, as the database architecture would end up locking out 99% of viewers.
eg. news organisations
WordPress could certainly handle a local/town news site. But when the size increases to that of BBC/Dailymail, for instance, the number of posts would become problematic in terms of both database and user interface.
A big e-commerce site that is “properly big” (we’re talking Amazon), is probably just too big for WordPress.
WordPress is probably unlikely to be able to manage the a whole omni-channel site, but could be integrated using an API.
B2B features for advanced user account management
WordPress has a powerful “capabilities” user permissions system, but it doesn’t natively integrate with things like MS Active Directory, so there’s a limit depending on how far you want to go.
Static content can scale almost infinitely via Cloudflare. A highly dynamic site would be more challenging, but there’s no reason it couldn’t run on an auto-scale server architecture.
Custom applications requiring custom database architecture
WordPress has a core concept that revolves around posts and pages. Whilst it is possible to extend these by creating custom post types, a complex application requiring a custom database architecture would be better suited to a lightweight framework rather than trying to fit custom concepts into WordPress’s opinionated structure.
As always though, the best thing to do if you are unsure about whether WordPress is the perfect platform for your site is to talk to the experts!
Is Wordpress for you?
Talk to us today.