Note: This post was already written when I began seeing reports about the brute force attacks on WordPress installations. I wrote a new post to address fears regarding the brute force attacks here.
WordPress makes it easy to build a great website but…
There are so many great things that can be said about using WordPress to build your business website; ease of use, fast updating, content marketing extraordinaire just to name a few. It’s definitely a wise choice, and not just for business owners on a budget. However I’m seeing some problems developing in the world of WordPress.
The DIY web designer.
While it’s absolutely true that WordPress is DIY friendly, many individuals are diving into WordPress and then finding themselves in over their heads. The allure of being able to build a great looking website without the need for costly web designers is a huge benefit to using WordPress. And while it definitely is possible, unless you are prepared to dig in a little deeper to understand how WordPress works and how to keep it running smoothly, you could be in for a rude awakening. Many individuals create their website and think that’s it, it’s built and all they have to do is perhaps create blog posts or change out copy occasionally. But that’s a dangerous school of thought.
An ounce of prevention
As marvelous as WordPress is (and I truly love it) it still requires some understanding and TLC to keep it running smoothly and secure. Maintenance in the form of updates to themes, plugins and the WordPress framework itself are crucial to keeping it safe and working the way you want it to. And although updating those items are often as easy as hitting an update button, sometimes things can go wrong. If an update causes some sort of conflict it can ‘break’ your site, ruining its appearance or worse, making it totally inaccessible.
What you don’t know can hurt your website
Two of the top features of WordPress are the ability to install Themes and Plugins. A WordPress Theme allows you to change the design and overall look of your website and a WordPress Plugin adds additional functionality that doesn’t come in the standard WordPress install. They are both crucial to adding things like your logos, colors, signup for your mailing list and more. But they can also conflict with one another or leave holes in your website security. Scores of WordPress users blindly install themes and plugins without a second thought. If it says it will give them the layout or design they want they hit the install button. If it gives them the ability to add something they want to have or if it sounds like a cool thing to have, they hit the install button. Installing WordPress themes and plugins without doing a little homework is like leaving your door unlocked and the keys in your ignition when you go into the mall. It’s just asking for trouble.
Research and Maintenance
To make sure your WordPress website remains in tip top shape and secure you need to do one of two things.
A. Learn how to choose your themes and plugins wisely, secure your installation, do regular updates and learn to fix things when they occasionally break or conflict.
B. Hire someone with a good working knowledge of WordPress to build and maintain your website.
What? Am I telling you to go back to the days where a web designer had to be contacted for everything website related? Absolutely not. What I am telling you is that you either need to be committed to learning how to not only create a WordPress website wisely, with attention paid to security and reliability of plugs and how to update and troubleshoot your website or you should be paying someone to do it for you.
WordPress is still what I feel is the best choice for creating your business website. But it’s not child’s play. And unlike Ron Popiel’s famous rotisserie oven, you can’t just set it and forget it.