6 WordPress Myths Busted
Tuesday, June 8th, 2021
WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) on the market. As of March 2019, WordPress powers a third of the top 10 million sites on the internet. They can’t all be wrong, surely.
WordPress is popular for these reasons:
- It’s open-source (or ‘free’)
- There’s a huge community of users behind it
- It’s easy to get started on the platform
- You can adjust a WordPress site’s look-and-feel and functionality
Despite this, WordPress myths crop up time and time again. Let’s have a look at some of them.
WordPress is free
Our all time favourite, this is a common WordPress myth – at the bare minimum, WordPress requires hosting and domain name which aren’t free.
Plus, you might have to pay for plugins, a theme or, if you’re hiring a pro, web design and development. Once the site is live, it will need ongoing maintenance.
Other CMSs have upfront costs. WordPress can reduce that initial cost, but that shouldn’t be the deciding factor on which CMS to use. Learn more about ongoing website fees.
WordPress is slow
Website performance is tricky because there are so many elements at play: page size, server, scripts, etc. Describing WordPress as inherently slow is misleading.
WordPress uses a database to store information about the site—post content, plugin and theme configuration data, etc—so it will be slower than a static site that doesn’t use a database. That said, WordPress websites can be configured to load quickly.
Make sure your site runs quickly by choosing a good host. Many site owners purchase the cheapest hosting packages from some of the biggest companies.
These packages are set up with the aim of squeezing as many websites on to a server as possible. Resource limits apply, meaning a spike in traffic on another site can cause other websites hosted on the same server to slow down.
A decent WordPress host won’t let this happen. A good host combined with caching, optimised images and code helps to make a WordPress site lightning quick. Check our website performance below.
WordPress is insecure
Given the popularity of WordPress in comparison to other CMSs, it’s not surprising that it’s a big target for hackers. But that doesn’t make it insecure.
Use security best practices when installing WordPress. These help to protect against common vulnerabilities, but many of these would apply irrespective of the CMS being used.
The most common way that WordPress sites are hacked is through vulnerable or out of date plugin/theme files. Keeping on top of these, making sure the site is hosted with a reputable company and using a good security plugin to lock down the site helps to guard against attempted hacks.
Of course, a static site is more secure. But if you need a CMS, security shouldn’t be a reason to rule WordPress out.
Plugins slow down a WordPress site
Plugins can cause a site to slow down. Plugins are frequently used as an excuse by cheap hosts, passing the buck on slow performance.
Plugins are bits of code that extend the functionality of WordPress. They range from tiny snippets to extensive systems that turn WordPress into a shop or learning management system.
The impact of a plugin on a website’s performance will depend on these things:
- What the plugin does
- How well it’s coded
- How much code it’s adding to the site
Some plugins cause WordPress sites to load quickly. For instance, an image optimisation plugin could shave megabytes off a page’s size. Similarly, a caching plugin might knock seconds off a site’s load time.As a general rule, website owners should only install necessary plugins from reputable sources. There’s no point in installing 25 plugins if the site could run in the same way using five.
Website owners can update everything themselves
For anything other than blog/news updates or small text changes, you should use a designer/developer.
We believe that site owners should have full administrative access to the backend. This gives them complete control over their site and who manages the updates, but I’d encourage site owners to get an expert to handle regular maintenance and larger content updates.
Why? Maintenance updates can go wrong. Automatic updates can fail. You could attempt to update your website but if you make a mistake, your site will be down until a developer looks at it.
As for content or layout updates, a well-designed and coded site will be created in a way that allows consistent use of whitespace and vertical rhythm. This is true even when a site uses a page builder such as Elementor.
As a site owner, creating new page layouts or inserting elements risks design inconsistencies which can result in an amateur look-and-feel.
WordPress websites all look the same
The popularity of multi-purpose themes, such as Divi, is partly responsible for this myth. It’s possible to spot many Divi-based websites without checking the underlying code.
The same can be said of other popular themes, particularly if a company simply imports the theme and doesn’t touch the design. That said, to say that all WordPress websites look the same is a myth.
The web has become homogenised, but as Jon Hicks eloquently explained, it’s just fashion. There are UX benefits to standardising some elements across the web, but that isn’t the reason so many sites fall victim to that kind of criticism. A generic design is often the result of project constraints: time and budget.
Template-based designs don’t offend me, but I’d like to see a web where the standard of typography is improved. The giveaway that a site has been built on a template often isn’t revealed by the design itself, but by the choice and quality of type.
WordPress sites can be designed and built in different ways, but the key to creating a distinct site is investing in a discovery and design phase, rather than allowing a theme to dictate the look-and-feel.