What started out as a blogging platform in 2003 has now grown into an integral part of online content management. WordPress is now used by more than 25% (actually 25.9% as of this week) of the top 10 million websites in the world.
Big Name Brands using WordPress
Paragon has been using WordPress for 8 years now. And we like it. It is flexible, can be extended to allow for new functionality and it’s very developer friendly. It meets 95% of our customers’ needs.
Before we adopted WordPress we built our own CMS in cases where our clients needed to make content edits. Many of our sites were static with no database driven content. When we decided to offer a CMS to all clients as default, we began the search for what we would use. After trying what felt like everything out there (Light CMS, Drupal, Expression Engine, Joomla, Contribute, etc) we decided on WordPress.
Even though many of the features that streamline extending WordPress now didn’t exist then, it was immediately clear that the interface would strike a chord with our users. And it did. The UI is simple, clean and obvious. To edit a page, click the “Pages” tab. To upload a lot of files, hit the “Media” tab. In our estimation, it’s visual simplicity is its power.
To extend WordPress, we add new features into the common visual language setup by the platform. This ability to construct blocks that contain new functionality within a familiar format allows a user to quickly become proficient in working with the tools. And since every bit of text and all images not integrated into the style of the site may be edited, our clients can easily manage their sites after delivery themselves.
While this gets us well on our way to building a site, there are some parts of WordPress that need a little help.
- Ordering pages is allowed but there isn’t a native interface to allow for this in a manageable way.
- Uploaded images are formatted in 4 different ways by default (full, large, medium and thumbnail).
- It is very easy to write an unwieldy theme with stringy, repeated code that is difficult to troubleshoot, patch, and extend.
In a response to these challenges, we have developed our own toolset to help with simple tasks like
- Code management
- Image versioning
- Page type ordering
- Post type creation
This efficiency and consistent theme construction allows for faster maintenance and extension.
Being a big guy on the internet stage is impressive but with that title comes an increased need to focus on security. WordPress is open source and anyone can download and run the code. The unscrupulous can also set up their own servers to probe for weaknesses to take advantage of this openness and wide spread adoption. Automatic, the company behind WordPress, has an active security team constantly patching the code base and releasing updates. This is excellent for the platform and sites that keep their WordPress install up to date will be protected.
WordPress has an active plugin ecosystem which allows for plug and play extensibility which is great for client’s bottom line. Need a map, contact forms, or Twitter widget? Grab an off the shelf plugin! While this is fantastic for a user it also can make a site more vulnerable unless the plugin developers continually patch their code as security issues arise.
Our philosophy is build as much functionality as possible, use plugins only when necessary, keep code organized, and keep both the platform and plugins up to date.
We also are proactive with security by adding a website firewall to each site to prevent brute force attacks, watch the code base for malicious code, block IPs from accessing the site, track admin access by username and location, and scan files on the server that may contribute to a compromise.
WordPress offers almost the perfect ratio of capability and simplicity. If you haven’t made the leap, you’d be in great company if you did!