Issues with Wordpress
As a Gold Coast based SEO, I have been exposed to my fair share of Wordpress sites. I don't use the system for sites I create. I prefer to use my own system based on Java/JSP.
So from the outset this article is largely focussed on "issues with Wordpress" to help make an informed decision on the platform for your website. If you login to a "WordPress" site don't expect to see the same system every time. Depending on the pluggins used they can look very different from site to site.
My background is as a web developer and university lecturer in programming, internet related courses, with 13 years of lecturing in User Interface Design.
Who will update the Wordpress site?
Wordpress uses a system of plugins, some are free and some can be paid for. Some are simply abandoned. Some developers license plugins, which gives them the right to use that plugin on multiple sites.
Oops! There goes your open source system, unscrupulous developers will not allow plugins they have licensed to be transferred away, or they may make up a fee.
Plugins can conflict when updated. These are pieces of code made by different vendors. How do you determine which plugins should be updated. The system can break.
Odds are you will be reliant on someone to update your site, just to maintain security. WordPress experts recommend monthly updates - yes every month updates are required to maintain security.
Can you manage Security Issues with Wordpress?
Plugins can actually contain malicious code. So that wonderful "free" plugin could be giving hackers access to your site. This can have serious SEO ramifications, as your site may be blacklisted by Google for sending spam emails or linking to unscrupulous sites.
Wordpress structure is open source and whilst that allows some great plugins to be created, it also opens the door for potential security issues. When we check server logs for hacking attempts, often they are designed around holes in common systems.
Why are WordPress sites so slow?
Two articles that can help here are Why is my content management system so slow? and Website speed test claims put to the test.
Most WordPress sites load every piece of code required for the whole site on every page. And those that don't risk breaking when updates are done. Even experienced WordPress developers are frustrated by systems when updated reverting to defaults that take away their optimisations. So again, you are going to need an experienced WordPress developer if you are going to have a site that does not load everything on every page.
A custom optimised site will (mostly) only load resources used on the page. The speed difference can be up to 10 times. There is a point where the lack of speed simply costs you customers.
Isn't WordPress standards compliant?
I rarely find a WordPress site that passes a W3C validation test. Your site can still thrive even though it does not pass one of these tests, however I would prefer a fast site that does pass. The problem can be sloppy programming from those plugins. Do my sites walk the walk? Yes validate my home page and see for yourself.
Does WordPress backup itself automatically?
WordPress does not have automatic backups, so you are at the mercy of the developer and hosting company there or you can use a backup system. Even if you had a backup, you would be reliant on help to reinstate the system (remember those plugins). Some systems backup every day.
Do you understand HTML code?
Whilst most people could learn these systems, few actually do.
There are pros and cons in any system. As an SEO I have even had success with basic builder systems that come with cheap hosting accounts. Google allows a massive degree of tolerance. The take home from this is, you are going to need an experienced web developer no matter what system you use. It can be an experienced WordPress developer or any other system. An experienced WordPress developer (I can introduce you to some) can take any existing WordPress site and make it better or upgrade it.
My Systems will work better for SEO
With a Wordpress site, you would in theory be able to update any page. My experience is few people are comfortable doing that. The sense of having to have full control can really cost you in terms of efficiency.
Before: Rankings using non WordPress site (Jan 2019)
After: Rankings using WordPress site (Feb 2021)
One of my long-term clients moved from my system to an almost carbon copy (design wise to a casual observer) Wordpress version. The site dropped out of Google within months on keyterms that were money earners for the client. There is no joy in this for me, however it is definitive proof my systems work better, with SEO built it. I knew that Wordpress sites I had worked on did not respond as well as my designs but this was definitive proof because the design was similar - just the back-end and structure different.
Having built my systems, the time required for updates and upgrades is minimal. This is a huge SEO bonus because the content production process is so much faster. Pages are optimised to only contain scripts required on that page. The process extends to the web server for both speed and security advantages.
For security reasons I prefer a system that gives access to-:
- Create blogs/news articles
- Add audio
- Add images and photo galleries
- Add documents (Word PDF Text)
- Make bookings with live calendars
- Post directly to Facebook accounts
- Send HTML emails to subscribers and measure response (or anyone on the custom system)
- Create custom PDFs (Invoices, Receipts)
- Create special links to measure responses
- Shopping Carts and secure payments
- Integrate sites and content across domains
- Individual (custom) security
Advanced SEO for Advanced Operators allows you to be coached on how to get the most from your website. With ongoing training you can really advance your site in Google.