Is WordPress Still the Best?

138 amazing comments

I am a huge fan of WordPress.

I’ve run my business on it for a decade, recommended it to thousands and feel eternally grateful for what it’s allowed me to do.

But is it still the best option?

As you might have noticed, the blogging scene has changed a lot in the last five years.

There’s free platforms like Tumblr and Medium that are now absolutely booming and doing things slightly differently.

Squarespace, the ultra-sexy hosting service (and podcast industry mega-patron!) is everywhere and is pretty awesome too.

Then there’s the fact that a lot of people blog on social networking sites like Instagram and Facebook and that seems to be enough for them.

Today we’re going to take a look at whether WordPress is still the best bet for bloggers and website owners who are just starting out.

As always, I’d love your comments below.

Every platform has it’s own advantages

One of the first things to note here is that each platform will have some features and advantages that are lacking in the other platforms.

When you’re looking to start a blog or website it’s important to note these features because one something that’s important to you might be completely irrelevant to me.

For example, if you write a blog on LinkedIn you’ll enjoy the fact that it’s pretty easy for all of your contacts to see the articles that you write, and everyone who reads it will be pretty targeted to your niche. Try to integrate a product to sell or a mailing list, however, and you’ll be pretty stuck.

So, when reading the rest of this article please note that the evaluations are made based on what I consider to be the most important features and options for running a successful blog.

So, what does WordPress have going for it?

Let’s start this little analysis by looking at some interesting facts and stats about WordPress so you have an idea of what we are working with.

  • Over 24% of the entire web is powered by WordPress.
  • There are over 500 new sites created per day.
  • Over 1,200,000 people have downloaded WordPress plugins.
  • WordPress is available in 56 languages.
  • 17 posts are published every second on WordPress

It truly is the most popular platform in the world and for good reason. Here is why I still use and recommend WordPress for bloggers and online entrepreneurs of all levels.

Please keep in mind that I’m talking about a self-hosted WordPress blog here as opposed to the free version.

The main advantage that WordPress has always had over its competition is the seemingly unlimited ability to customize everything from the source code to the look at feel.

plugins

As you can see above, there are roughly 40,000 plugins available – each one giving you new abilities and functions on your blog – and it’s all usually for free or a very small cost (compared to actually building the feature).

You might add a store, harden your security, add icons, generate opt-in forms, change your header design, improve your SEO… the list is endless.

And if you don’t like the way a particular plugin works you can open up the code and tweak it yourself. Or you can pay someone to re-write the whole darn thing until it works exactly like you need it to. You can do this at the plugin level, or open up your server and change it from that level. You have complete control – something missing from many other platforms.

wordpress themes

Now if we take that same idea over to the topic of themes/templates you’ll see that the WordPress theme directory itself has over 2,000 themes in just the popular section alone – all of them free. There are thousands more available.

Then you can go premium and look at sites like Theme Forest which has around 9,000 premium themes designed by professional WordPress designers whose sole job is to design themes that function well.

People who say that places like Squarespace are better because they offer better support often overlook this fact. Sure, you can get support on the free WordPress forums, but you also have support from your theme designer and your WordPress host.

Once again, if you’re not happy with the way your blog is looking you can open up the source code in five seconds and change colors, fonts, or engage a designer to help you re-work the whole thing.

For me, having a WordPress blog is all about owning your asset, controlling your future, and having complete freedom to tinker and tweak whatever you like.

On most other platforms (Medium, Tumblr, Squarespace, etc.) you are limited to their servers or their APIs and as such there is always going to be something that is limited. It might not be a big things, but when you’re trying to run a business it might just be big enough to be a problem.

There’s got to be some downsides, right?

As was mentioned at the top of the post, every blogging host or platform has it’s downsides. And, as seems to happen with WordPress, sometimes your big advantages can turn into weaknesses.

Security issues come with popularity

For example, as WordPress becomes more and more popular we see increased instances of security breaches. It makes sense – the more people using the platform the luckier the intruders can get by sheer statistical probability.

This issue is compounded by the fact that the open source nature of WordPress means that anyone can build a plugin and that plugin can either have bad intentions behind it, or just be coded in a way that leaves it vulnerable.

To avoid this, it’s important to always use up to date plugins, make sure you read the reviews first, and follow basic security protocols on your blog to ensure it stays safe. And remember, WordPress is not less secure than anything else it is just a target because more people are using it improperly.

Lack of direct sources of traffic

One of the reasons Medium and Tumblr have been doing so well as new blogging platforms is that they have their own little ecosystems that feed your blog’s traffic and chances of success.

For example, the front page of Medium has staff picks and popular items for the day, and you’ll see recommendations from those in your social networks.

This means that content has a good chance of being seen and shared by someone without all of the blogging SEO work that we need on WordPress self hosted setups.

And here’s one I found on the front page of Tumblr today that has had around 60,000 shares within the Tumblr network itself.

https://creativekandi.tumblr.com/post/159852440361/bill-nye-should-just-be-the-answer-to-all-our

The way that these newer platforms have started to bridge the gap between “website” and “social network” is very interesting and I think it will be a trend that we see more of in the future.

This does not mean, however, that it’s the best place to start a blog or website (especially if you want to make money with it) because you simply don’t know if it’ll be around in five years. Look at MySpace and Google+ and similar websites which everyone thought would be around forever. If you’d invested your time and effort into building a career there you may be in trouble.

So what’s the verdict on WordPress?

While some other blogging platforms have made some big inroads recently, I still can’t imagine moving away from a self-hosted WordPress setup.

For me, it really comes down to the fact that WordPress offers you near unlimited options for configuration, design changes, feature development and expansion. You are never going to run out of room or power, and you’re never boxed in to a different company’s API or strictures.

And while a lot of people decry WordPress updates as annoying, what they really represent is constant improvements, security patches, feature additions, etc.

It is actually pretty amazing for something you essentially get for free.

If you want to build a blog that supports your family or perhaps is the basis of a business that allow you to work from home then I would 99 times out of 100 recommend a the WordPress and host combination for the sheer fact that it’s changeable and you control it.

What do you think about WordPress?

As always, I’d really love to know your opinions on how WordPress compares with the other platforms out there. I sometimes am a bit worried that I’m blinded to the features of the new players because I’ve been using this setup for such a long time, so please feel free to teach me a thing or two in the comments below.

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138 Comments. Join in. *Closed after 30 days*

  • James George

    WordPress is the best if you want to build a business website. Honestly, I can build anything out of WordPress, with the right plugins, etc. You just can’t go wrong. I have solved business problems for my clients with WordPress plugins and customizations, that would have costed thousands in development funds just to get off the ground. You can’t do that with any other platform. There’s also great SEO and your ability to refine and fine tune it, great media, interactivity, and the WordPress community is excellent for troubleshooting and helping each other out.


    1. Ramsay

      Perfect comment! Should have just published that!


      1. Rakesh

        Yes, I agree.I also decided to choose WordPress.Thanks


    2. Andrew

      I agree! WordPress is amazing. It gives you the ability to completely customize your site. There is also a ton of help online via youtube and other platforms.


    3. Andrew

      I think Yoast is a really great plugin for WordPress when it comes to SEO. I agree 100% that WordPress is the best option if you want to be able to fully customize a site and make it completely unique.


  • Ahmad Imran

    Ramsay, I am with WordPress and feel that it is a robust, reliable and efficient platform. Can not think of going elsewhere. Tried Medium for a short term (in parallel with my own blog) but didn’t work out for me.

    WordPress (hosted option) gets my vote too. Thanks for adding to my confidence on WordPress.


    1. Ramsay

      What didn’t you like about Medium?


      1. Ahmad Imran

        Ramsay, 2 precise reasons.

        1) Confusion around duplicate content and diluting the personal brand n the longer run. I know many people say that canonical tagging makes sure that you are not penalised by Google but I still think that in future, search results / links will start coming up from Medium rather than from my own blog. I like to struggle but in the long run, build a more focused personal brand rather than dependence on Medium (some might disagree with this philosophy but this is how I think at this stage).

        2) Lot of time is still required to market and develop/settle on Medium as well. You don’t get tons of traffic straight away even to read your Medium article. I don’t think that as a part time blogger, I have enough time (and prioritisation) to develop my Medium marketing strategies and work on them. I believe that it will hurt my writing and marketing on my own blog.

        Not discounting it 100%, but I have parked Medium for now. Just as an interesting fact, I joined and terminated my Medium account twice now, I was in two minds.


        1. Ramsay

          Thank you. Great points.


  • Mania Mavridou

    Although I’m not an expert, only a blogger and a website owner, I do agree with everything you said, Ramsay!

    I would add another benefit of being familiar with the WordPress environment.
    When I had to work for 2 other big blogs, both built in WordPress, it was a piece of cake for me.

    So, it’s probably still the best choice.


    1. Ramsay

      Yes!


    2. Andrew

      It is an amazing platform! I love the thousands of plugins that you can use and the fact that the wordpress install on your hosting is actually free itself but definitely recommend getting paid hosting preferably cPanel. (Just my opinion)


  • Tony

    WordPress stand out for the main reason that there are many users. It is, therefore, easy to get support.

    Otherwise, I think some website builders like wix are awesome.


    1. Ramsay

      I’ve never tried Wix but I’m seeing it around more and more. Why do you like it, Tony?


      1. Tony

        Not only do they have stunning templates, it is also easy to choose the direction from day 1. That is a blog, a membership site, an e-commerce shop.

        They make it super easy for one to decide, Ramsey


    2. Andrew

      Wix, Squarespace, weebly and all the others use pretty much the same template based website builder. Proprietary software that doesn’t always work with 3rd party applications and products. WordPress is definitely a way to go if you want to always have the ability to change providers because you can migrate it. Most if not all template based website builders can’t be transferred to another provider. If you’re going to pick a website builder then pick one from a company that has 24/7 support.


  • Austin

    I started out on WordPress a couple years ago and I never felt like I got the sore to look how I wanted with a template and I don’t know any coding so I always felt like it was a lot of work to work on both content for the site AND make sure something doesn’t break from a plugin. Then there’s the storage space and that’s another headache. I recently Didi some testing and found that square space could give me everything I needed and I didn’t have to work hard to make it work. It looks great, acts great, and I can focus on making my content now.


    1. Ramsay

      I’d love to know whether it suits you in another few years. It really is an impressive service though Squarespace so you might be sorted. Thanks for sharing.


    2. Ash Stevens

      I agree! I have a blog to help myself with my SEO writing (because you can’t tell sites you’re an online writer without having a website to prove it). I’ve tried a few different templates, but I’ve never been happy with any of them. I can’t stand my blog.

      I would imagine that you can pay for subscriptions and templates which would make this all a lot easier, but I’m not sure that would be worth it. At some point, you’d have to learn basic coding and dive into Word Press. Until I’m educated on the basics (and educated in a way that I can actually pay attention and it makes simple sense), then I will continue avoiding Word Press like the plague.

      I’ve been thinking about creating a site for my freelance services. If I do, I think I’ll be trying out SquareSpace.


      1. Ramsay

        Please let us know how it goes with SS.


    3. Matt

      No platform is going to allow you to create a 100% custom website without any/minimal effort on your part. I’ve never used Squarespace, but I’m pretty sure you just lucked out and found a theme there that did what you want. Which is great, but I don’t think it’s fair to blame WordPress just because you weren’t willing to put in the time to get the theme to look the way you wanted (or hire an expert to do it for you).


      1. Austin

        I went through enough themes to find the one I wanted and tweaked it to fit. It’s not that I didn’t want to put time into it, it mostly came down to the fact I could constantly customize wordpress and my site would always change. I would find a better plugin to add every week. A qualification for a host for me was that I didn’t want to hire an expert to design something for me because if I didn’t make it I would probably not be happy with it.


      2. Ash

        Indeed. As I said above, there comes a time where a Word Press user needs to learn the basics and dive in. As a full-time worker and mother of four (with two children under three years old), I have found it all too easy to put this education off. Although, if I ever come across a blog that makes Word Press education simple and understandable, I would happily take the time to learn more. Until that happens, I’m going to stick to videos and articles that can be comprehended while making dinner, keeping an eye on my off-the-wall toddler, and being in a home full of SO MUCH noise. 😉


        1. Austin

          Well said Ash


    4. Andrew

      Youtube is a great source to learn how to use WordPress. Definitely recommend finding a few videos and watching them to teach yourself how to navigate and create with different page builders and plugins. I’ve found people have more success after they watch the videos.


  • Teresa

    Personally, I love Squarespace. I don’t like the endless customization of WordPress because I have to stop and figure things out all the time, and I don’t have the money to have someone do it for me. Squarespace looks great out of the box and does everything I need. It’s definitely not for everyone, though.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Teresa. It’s a bit like a Mac Vs PC thing in some sense I think.


    2. Austin

      This is exactly my situation. Its super user friendly and it’ll still work when I change things. I started with Wix but before I bought it, I gave Square Space a chance and really loved it.


      1. Ash

        I’m so glad to hear that! I can’t wait to try it!


  • Santanu Debnath

    I think for me WordPress is the best compared to blogspot as I did not explore other options. As per as my blogging need, without any doubt I have learned a lot in WordPress and setting up a website is simply easy.

    May be people with experience in all other website designing platform or CMS can share the true experience.

    The way the WordPress community is growing and many people & developer are showing their interest, I am sure WordPress will be able to take everyone behind in coming days. 🙂


    1. Ramsay

      Great comment! Thanks Santanu.


  • DL Hughes

    With respect, your headline seems like Click Bait. WP is King and is likely to stay that way for many years into the future due to its growing market penetration and ease of use.

    When you have been around a while you see that new platforms come on the scene and soon fade. Most have far more weaknesses than WP. None have extensive third-party support, and that takes many years to build.

    Security is always an issue with any Internet-based system. WP does a good job with updates. There are also at least 4-5 excellent third-party WP anti-malware tools. That’s more effort than most other options offer.


    1. Ramsay

      I was a bit worried about the headline so thank you for the feedback. I’ll think about an edit


      1. chris

        Don’t edit it. It’s a great question to ask. Is WordPress still the best? I just found out about a long-time theme company that’s no longer supporting their products, creating new themes, etc. Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s not worth the occasional review.


      2. Ash

        I actually don’t find it to be click-baity. The title serves as a good description for what’s discussed in the article. Also, the title doesn’t seem manipulative whatsoever (the real problem with click-bait). Had you said “Word Press Is Dead,” then I’d be inclined to put that title under Click Bait. But I think your present title works great.


        1. Ramsay

          Thanks guys.


        2. Andrew

          I agree, Ramsey is an awesome blogger. Always learn something when I come on here. I plan to find some great blogs and link them to my page. just using offsite SEO and building an easy to navigate site has produced our company over 7200+ site visit last month alone. Super excited about seeing what I learn from this and other blogs will do for the next few months as I continue to make updates and changes. Thanks Ramsey!


  • Andrés

    Amen!

    I also use wordpress and love it!

    But you didn´t compare it to other CMS like Joomla or Drupal.

    Cheers!


    1. Ramsay

      Yeah I thought about doing a big comparison but it’s such a huge undertaking. I might work on that in the future. For this post I just wanted to focus on WordPress vs the newer free platforms that integrate some social aspect.


  • Nancy Battis

    I agree with you, Ramsay, on so many levels. I help startups grow their businesses and am always amazed when my online business owners have signed up for a web platform that holds them captive! They are *fed* some success (given views that sometimes lead to purchases) but do not realize they don’t own their business or that they are very limited by their choice of platform. I do have to say that Shopify offers a lot for those bloggers who also offer products for sale. I use both WordPress and Shopify. I can see benefits to both.


    1. Ramsay

      I have heard a lot about Shopify lately. Any reason why you’d choose it over, say, Woo Commerce?


      1. Nancy Battis

        Shopify is limited in certain areas, but it is a very inexpensive, speedy way for a new business owner to get a shop quickly off the ground. It’s Google bot friendly, while being so cost effective at just $29/month. Shopify seems very intuitive to use, and anyone without an IT experience can easily create their own website. That being said, we also use WooCommerce on our WordPress site and love the incredible flexibility and robustness we have with that platform!


        1. Andrew

          I agree! WooCommerce is an amazing online store platform. $29 a month with any restrictions (in my opinion) is not good. I agree $29 a month is a good price for most beginners for an online store. That being said pretty much every company out there has a $29 a month online store builder. Cheaper is not always better but when you find a inexpensive plan make sure it comes with 24/7 phone support.


  • Ava

    I am a WordPress fanatic. I started messing around with WordPress in 2006. I taught myself how to use it in short order, and even partially developed a theme from scratch in 2008. Over the years, I’ve done many things with WordPress sites. Built my own, maintained and built sites for others, and helped others learn it.

    Recently, I got a Shopify trial to see what it was all about. Needless to say, my store is now running efficiently on WordPress because it just wasn’t worth the trouble to learn a whole new platform. I can make WordPress do whatever I want to need.

    I can’t imagine a world without it.


    1. Ramsay

      What do you love about Shopify?


      1. Ava

        Love is such a strong word. I don’t love Shopify. It’s a good platform, but it’s meant for and does ONE thing. Say ecommerce is all you want to do, then Shopify is a great choice, but what about later when you want to start a blog to build authority in your niche? What about when you learn some new SEO tricks, and you can’t fully implement then because even if you do have your own domain, you’re really just a subdomain of Shopify.com underneath it all? What about when you can’t run a certain kind of store because it’s against the terms and conditions?

        Self-hosted WordPress solves all of these problems and then some. It solves all the what if’s and combats problems you didn’t know you had or could arise for your business. There’s no competition.


        1. Andrew

          Agreed. When it comes to WordPress there is just no comparison. Great reply!


          1. Ava

            Thanks Andrew!


  • Kristen Raney

    Thank you for this article! I have been getting so frustrated with the learning curve on WordPress lately that I was considering switching over for my new website. I will keep going.

    (For context, I run a lifestyle blog, but my new website will be to help music teachers with their business and I just need a different format than the blog-centered style that I’m used to.)


    1. Ramsay

      Can I ask what you’ve found most difficult? That kind of problem is very interesting to me.


      1. Kristen

        It usually boils down to not knowing what widget I need to do what I want it to do. I’m still not at the point where I feel comfortable modifying any code either. Sometimes I want the widget to function in the body of my blog but I don’t know how to put it there. Widgets only seem to go in the sidebar. My current problem is that I’m trying to create more of a sales funnel style page with a blog attached to it, but I seem to lose the blog every time I switch to a static front page. I’d also like to make sections with different colour behind them or those sliding images and I just jab no clue. Or those click to tweet cards!!! I’ve downloaded the code but have no clue why it’s not working. Maybe I’m not putting it in the right spot? Sorry to lay down all my problems at once, it probably sounds quite scattered. I feel like learning WordPress is like learning to play the piano- it’s a slog at first, but if you can make it past the first 3 years you’ll be far ahead of everyone else and have a valuable skill. I’ve linked to the website I’m working on for context, but don’t cry, it’s pretty ugly right now while I’m still trying to sort out ehat theme would work best and my branding.


        1. Ramsay

          Hmmm… interesting. Widgets aren’t used for many major functions except for footers and sidebars, so maybe you could be picking the wrong plugins?

          For the click to tweet thing, try a plugin called Better Click to Tweet.


          1. Kristen Raney

            I googled best themes for entrepreneurs and found the free version of Athena. Problems solved!! Thanks for your help, I didn’t understand that widgets were a sidebar and footer thing only.


  • chris

    When I first started hosting my own content on a content management system (CMS), I was on Drupal. It was easy to use and edit. It had some free plug-ins but nothing near what WordPress had, even back then. But back then WordPress was fairly new and the Drupal community seemed to be more active – and tech savvy. After several years, I revisited my web site and what I wanted to do with it. While Drupal had some of the functionality, I examined WordPress and found it had a great community, more themes, and far more plug-ins. I made the switch.

    Where I see people complain is in wordpress “requires plug-ins to do things that should be standard to wordpress. There are times when I wish a few things were built in but if they were in the WordPress Core, I couldn’t tweak the code to my liking. Thus, the benefit of plug-ins.

    WordPress is, at its core, a CONTENT management system, not a landing page creator, or a complex membership platform, or a rental scheduling system. But, it allows the flexibility to add what we want. It’s a solid foundation so we can build on top of it.

    A New Business

    You bring up a great point regarding the marketing aspect and being seen in a busy world. Places like facebook and other social media platforms do make that easier. But marketing is part of doing business and while you can do a lot on all those platforms, you can’t do everything. That’s why we have real estate on those other platforms that point back to our own web site.

    The Biggest Problem

    The biggest problem with WordPress is not a problem with WordPress at all. It’s a mindset problem. I see people starting a new online business and they feel they have to spend a lot of time setting up this web site. They are non-techies and therefore get frustrated with everything they have to configure in WordPress. It’s that very configurability that gives WP its power.

    With WordPress or any other platform, it comes down to this…set up your web site and then CREATE CONTENT! STOP TWEAKING THE WEB SITE AND RUN YOUR BUSINESS! (My name’s Chris and I used to be a tweaker.)


    1. Ramsay

      That’s a bloody great comment! Ha ha.


    2. Andrew

      Amazing comment and extremely accurate! Love the ending lol! I agree with the social media aspect of marketing as well because it’s simply inexpensive and especially with facebook I find it easy to spend less and reach more people. I also like the ability to target a specific audience with my posts and ads. I also agree 100% with how people view the “downsides” of WordPress. Don’t think so much about it! The less you over think your project the less things you run into. Watch YouTube videos and jump on blogs like this one and find answers.


  • Stéphane (Sport Chez Soi)

    Hi Ramsay.

    What a killing question you’re asking today! But you’re right (as usual), it’s always a challenge to see things in another perpective. I’m working with WP since I started blogging about fitness at home 18 months ago, and I’m really happy with it.

    For sure, it is not always an easy platform, but it works, and I always find a solutions to your problem with the large community of users.

    Then, is it the best for my business? I don’t know…
    Am I willing to change? Not for the moment.

    But, I will change one day if I read one of your articles explaining in details why you changed for another one. Becaus e I know you’ll explain in detail why it is better. Because I know that you know much more than me on this topic.

    Many thanks for this reflexion.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks for weighing in!


  • Mawere Francis

    If you want to succeed in your blogging career, Invest in WP. No limitation at all, Every thing is always there(Less or NO Coding knowledge Required), you will make things done through Plugins, You will Enjoy killer Fonts, Beautiful themes.
    Above all, you will be a SEO friend. Search Engines Loves WP.


    1. Ramsay

      Ha! A true fan!


    2. Andrew

      Great comment! Agreed 100%


  • Elizabeth

    I started with a Life Blog on Blogger and I loved how customizable it was. I could change fonts and font sizes without much learning curve. It was great.

    Then I wanted to make something more towards my passion, reading and writing, and the professional-ish thing to do was jump to WordPress, so I did. I’ve been on the hosted version for a little over a year now and I like it but I have not yet managed to get the level of comfort I had with Blogger.

    That being said, I’ve learn to settle down and stop trying to play with fonts and found a style that I like for my Book Blog. I still have to make the leap to Self-Hosted WordPress (and I plan to do it by the end of 2017) but that means a whole chunk of knowledge I have to get right to not destroy what I have now.

    I’ve tried Squarespace for the trial period they offer and even though I found a better style for my Book Blog platform, I don’t think I can get to the settle down feeling that I have from WordPress.

    I have a Tumblr page that it’s tied to my WordPress blog. Every post goes to Tumblr too and I like it that way. WordPress makes it so easy to integrate Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook that it’s no hardship mantaining those accounts.

    In summary. I’m not in love with WordPress but I will stay with it for sure. And I will keep my Tumblr account on the side just in case I need it more in the future LOL


    1. Ramsay

      That sounds like a very wise approach!


  • Laura Routh

    I’m interested in building an author website on Squarespace. I already have a WP site, and I’ve learned so much about managing it over the last year and a half. But the ease of Squarespace does appeal to me. I like how everything is in one place. So, after I’ve published a few more freelance articles, I’m probably going to give it a try and compare the two.


    1. M. C. Frye

      Oh cool, Laura! I look forward to learning your thoughts about SquareSpace for an author platform in a few months!


      1. Laura Routh

        Hi! Yes, I’ll let you know. I discovered them by accident. I wasn’t even thinking about making a change. I did a Google search for sourdough biscuits one day and discovered a beautiful website. Also, I began checking out author websites more as a homework assignment–to see if any of them did affiliate marketing and also to look for other publications to submit proposals to. A number of them use Squarespace.


  • Wren Stoicheff

    No one has commented about Weebly. I started with it based on my graphic designer’s recommendation. So far it’s been easy and works well for me. Ismail food blogger.


    1. Ramsay

      Good one!


  • Shelbi

    To be honest, I hated WordPress. I started off with WordPress when I had a tiny baby and because I was always pressed for time, I didn’t have the patience to learn everything. I only had 1.5 – 2 hours a day to figure everything out and I was exhausted while in the process. My friend suggested Squarespace and I instantly loved it. It’s way more user friendly and their customer service is AMAZING. You can ask them as many questions as you need and they’ll get back to you within hours. Also, you can change your theme anytime as many times as you want. For people who maybe aren’t super techy or people who don’t have much time on their hands and want to get going, Squarespace is where it’s at.


    1. Laura Routh

      That’s why it appeals to me, although I’m still using WP, only. And I’ve noticed that many artists and freelance writers use Squarespace–I’m guessing that’s because they want and need to spend their time creating instead of doing Google searches. So, I think both platforms work. But which one is best depends on the person and their goals. I’ve stopped worrying about my website speed, even though it’s important, because I don’t have time to deal with it. My hands are in too many pots!


    2. Ash

      I have these same issues! I am SO ready to try Square Space now. 😀


    3. Ramsay

      Great summary. I do like they way it looks and how simple it is, I just know that I’d get boxed in pretty early. But I think you’re spot on.


      1. Laura Routh

        I hope I didn’t sound negative about WP or uppity about the artist/writer comment. Sometimes it’s important to stop worrying about everything so much. Besides, I just tested my website speed, and it’s faster than 94% of other websites 🙂 I must have been having a bad day. Also, you don’t have to be an artist or writer to be frustrated by the technical part. So even though I haven’t mastered the business of blogging, I do enjoy it–challenges and all.


  • Tony Escobar

    The community behind WordPress is what makes the software special to me. There are plenty of people sharing free knowledge on everything WordPress, and many freelancers are ready to jump on custom work. The community is dynamite for WordPress newbies.

    I remember when I first started out. A simple Google search and I had everything I needed, every time.


    1. Ramsay

      Yeah, I feel the same.


  • empowee

    I think for now I will stay on WordPress because of the flexibility.
    I love the look of Square Space though, it looks polished.
    However, WordPress triumphs – Coupled with the fact that a lot of plugins are built only for WordPress – Thrive Themes, Content Upgrades Pro, Social Warfare… to name a few!


    1. Ramsay

      You can make WordPress look the same pretty easily though. Just need to find the right theme or designer.


      1. empowee

        I am agree Ramsay…


  • Chump Lady

    I’ve been pretty happy with WordPress. My only beef is that sometimes the plug-ins do not play nicely with each other. And identifying which plug-in is screwing things up can be a pain in the butt.

    With all the plug-ins and updates, I do feel like I’m missing some essential something I should be doing all the time. (Is this the RIGHT plug-in? Does WPCache not play well with my theme? Yoast! Argh! Did I not configure it correctly? Adult/child themes…)

    If you can recommend any of those coders who can do wonders with your site, send them my way. I’ve been put off a redesign for precisely this what-if-I-screw-it-all-up fears.


    1. Ramsay

      I don’t use a caching plugin for that reason – it mucks with everything. I do my caching on the server side. Check out my footer for my recommendation of great WP experts.


  • Lisa Frideborg

    Yes, it’s still WP for me too. However, not long ago I had to learn about the security issues the hard way. I woke up to one of my posts having been altered to show a message in favour of some Middle Eastern political faction that didn’t know English but had a fondness of the F-word and hating on everyone. Kind of the opposite of the message of my website… 😛 I managed to sort it out with the help of my webhost and installed the Wordfence security plugin they recommended. I feel I can sleep safely now. I had a look around at some of the sites used by a lot of people in my industry, such as wix and foursquare… but no way could I go back to being that limited on what I can and can’t do.


    1. Ramsay

      Ugh, that stuff is so annoying.


  • Mohamed Hassan

    Yes of course WordPress has a great track record that cannot matched !


    1. Ramsay

      I agree!


  • Rodario

    I prefer wordpress for the same reason I prefer Windows, Steam, Android, self-built PCs, and Firefox, I guess.

    So I completely agree with your assessment

    Free typo-patrol:

    – Title of your first subheading: Every platform *has *its own advantages.

    – Second to last paragraph: I would 99 times out of 100 recommend a *(-the, or -a) WordPress and host combination


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks for the error pick up!


  • Panagiotis Tabakis

    To me, WordPress for CMS is what’s Linux for OS. User friendly but powerful and completely tweakable at the same time. Only ✌downside✌ is that with increased popularity comes increased exploitation of the framework.


    1. Ramsay

      Yeah, it’s nice being able to muck around under the hood!


  • George

    Ramsay,

    I think you have over-simplified things substantially in this post, and
    missed what I think is possibly the biggest issue with hosted services
    that should be addressed:

    Any hosted service (Wix, Squarespace, Medium, Tumblr, hosted WordPress,
    etc.) you do not have complete control over. IE, if there are
    complaints about some content (wether valid or not) you can find your
    content taken down, your account locked out, or worse. I know this has
    happened on Tumblr (for example:
    https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/tumblr-erases-popular-blogger-copyright-infringement-blogging-fea#sm.001c7kotz1cwmf6tyj71l8j6p7di6).

    I don’t recall hearing of this occurring with WordPress.com sites, but
    you do hear about it on other social media like Facebook, YouTube,
    Twitter and other sites.

    On another front (completely seperate from the hosted site issues), I
    think you have missed the biggest shift that is happening from a
    technological perspective. (And, just to be clear before I get into
    this, I have no affiliation with anyone in this area. I am talking
    strictly as an Information Technology professional who deals with these
    issues on an on-going basis.)

    There has been a backlash against Content Management and Blogging
    systems as they require many resources on the servers that actually host
    them to dynmically generate the pages that are served to the end user.

    For hosting providers dynamic CMS and Blogging systems are expensive to
    operate: they require a lot of intense CPU and network activity, which
    translates into the need for more equipment to distribute the traffic,
    which translates into higher power consumption. All of this translates
    into higher operating costs which is passed on to the consumer (aka the
    blogger).

    These days a lot of people are moving to static website generators.
    Instead of having a system like WordPress or Drupal, a blogger uses a
    text editor and local software to write the content for their website.
    They can include custom templates, java script plugins, etc. You can
    control all the SEO settings, affiliate links, and other content and
    structure issues.

    While working on their site, the blogger can locally preview what the
    final product will look like. When they are satisfied that the results
    are what they want to see online, they issue a command to publish their
    website.

    From a hosting provider perspective this is preferable: it’s much less
    complicated to host a bunch of static pages that it is to host WordPress
    with a complex engine, database, etc. Static sites scale extremely
    well, are a lot less expensive to run, and fit very well into the cloud
    model most hosting providers have been going towards. (Some people now
    host sites on AWS for pennies a month instead of paying hundreds for
    dedicated hosting.)

    There are still a few things that static sites do as well as WordPress
    plugins, like mailing list integration and shopping carts / eCommerce
    solutioins. However, most of the mailing list providers have java
    script forms that can be embedded in your site. And there are plenty of
    hosted eCommerce solutions that can be integrated into a static site.

    Anyway, I’m just pointing this out to make you and others aware that
    there is a whole other set of option(s) to look into instead of
    WordPress. And, I believe these systems will likely start eating into
    the installed base of WordPress, Drupal, etc sites.

    If you want to look at some of the static website generators that are
    available, check out https://www.staticgen.com/ — again I have no
    affiliation with this site, or Netlify.

    George


    1. George

      P.S. Sorry for teh formatting of the above response. Your forced form colors are making it difficult to read the response as I type it. (It’s black on black.)


    2. Ramsay

      This. Is. Awesome.


    3. Terry

      re: “There are still a few things that static sites do as well as WordPress
      plugins, like mailing list integration and shopping carts / eCommerce…”
      Did you mean to say “do NOT do as well?” Not trying to nitpick, but understand, since I am trying to learn. I’m guessing from the sentences that follow that you meant “not”? Thanks


      1. George

        Hello Terry,

        You are correct, I did mean to have a “not” in there.

        When I re-read my post this morning, I was thinking that I might have been a bit guilty of what I accused Ramsay of: being a bit simplistic.

        Static website generators are definitely a different beast when it comes to learning how to build a website. It exposes a lot more of the technology that WordPRess and other CMS’s hide behind the curtain.

        On the other hand, there are additional benefits to them: no security issues — there’s nothing to really break into (aside from your hosting account). There’s no major code, database or other things to worry about for vulnerabilities. If someone does manage to hack into your account: change the password, buke all the files, and re-run your generator from you local machine…site is back to normal.

        There really is a trade off in many ways. For each advantage it has, there is a learning curve for how they work differently. Some things take a completely different approach to handling…

        Another example I could have mentioned in my original post: commenting systems. Static sites don’t have them — so a shoted solution (like Disqus) is needed in their place.

        Anyway, hope the correction makes my original comment make more sense, and this comment adds a bit more to the picture.

        George


        1. Terry

          yes, thank you!


        2. Aaron

          Let’s not perpetuate the myth that WordPress is superior from an SEO perspective and that Google prefers it for some reason. That’s simply not true. Any other CMS or static site where you have full control over the markup has exactly the same technical SEO advantage as WP.


          1. Aaron

            This should have been posted in response to the WP is best in SEO comment. Not sure why it ended up here. Sorry.


        3. Aaron

          George – check out Cloudcannon or Siteleaf for Jekyll based CMSs. I have used ecwid for ecommerce on Jekyll sites and it’s fantastic too. No woo-commerce breaking on updates to worry about. As close to maintenance free websites as you can get.


          1. George

            Yes, there is a companion site to StaticGen: https://headlesscms.org which lists twenty CMS front-ends for static site generators. IMO – I don’t personally see the use case in my situation. However, if there are multiple people maintaining a site that do not have the skills to work directly with the static generator then I do see where there is a use. (I’m more comfortable with using an SCM in a promotional development model when working with a static generator, which I don’t feel the CMS front ends would fit into all that well.)

            I know there are multiple hosted options for eCommerce solutions. I just haven’t found one that I like all that well. I went with my current WP Plugin because is had some extensions that allowed me to set the pricing model the way I wanted, and it has some payment gateway options I hadn’t seen in the others.

            Thanks for the input.


  • Renard Moreau

    [ Smiles ] Where business is concerned, WordPress is still the best.


  • Matt

    As a professional web developer, I’ve used a number of CMS’ and platforms over the years. Without question, WordPress is the best. It makes putting up almost any website quick and easy (relative to other options).

    The only major downside of it is that because it has a reputation of being easy (ex. “just install this plugin”), I see a lot of users shriek at the idea of having to learn code (or hire an expert) in order to customize their site the way they want. Maybe it’s because it’s my job, but this really irritates me. So you want to do what I do, but you don’t want to put any effort into learning how I do it? Please.

    And since it was mentioned in this post – what exactly is the draw of Medium? Aside from the traffic potential, I don’t see what the big deal is.


    1. Ash

      I would love to learn how to do basic coding, but it’s intimidating. It’s like trying to learn how to read Arabic. I know there are sites out there like Code Academy which help simplify this, but as a full-time worker and a mother of four, it’s all too easy to to push this task towards the bottom of the list and say “One day.” Because just the thought of looking at code makes me feel like my head will explode. 😀

      I do need to make this a priority though. It would make my life SO MUCH EASIER.


      1. Matt

        What would make it easier or less intimidating for you to learn code?


    2. Ramsay

      I think it’s a clean interface and very simple to use. It’s beautiful. Aside from that, they got a lot of interesting people early on so the content is regularly brilliant. It’s like Twitter if Twitter allowed you to write essays. I think it encourages good long-form.


  • Tania Yacante

    I stay with WordPress. I’ve been making all type of websites with it. With good and customizables themes, and plugins for almost everything you want; it’s for me the best choice. And If you know something about code, it’s better. I’ve made from blogs, news sites, to ecommerce and online learning websites.
    Also you can work very well with SEO. You don’t have to waste so much time in development or even in design if you choose a good Theme. I think that without a doubt WordPress has change the way websites are made. Of course I think we will see in the near future a lot of competition, but it’s going to take a while before they can be as good as WordPress.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Tania!


  • Lewis LaLanne

    I love how you signed off on this piece.

    And a thought that occurred to me was, “How cool would it be if a comment section could be divided down the middle of the page when you end with a question like this?

    For example – One side could have a column dedicated to… “Reasons I Haven’t Pointed Out For Why Word Press Sucks and Why Other Sites Are Better”

    And the other column down the other side could read…

    “Reasons I Haven’t Pointed Out For Why Other Blogging Platforms Suck and Why WordPress Is Better”

    Then as you’re reading you know exactly what to expect as you’re reading down each column of the page… this side is selling WordPress… this side is making the argument against it.

    And then maybe you’d have one column in the middle dedicated to general comments and questions.

    Seems like that’d be a cool feature for getting the community both contributing AND educating themselves.

    I don’t know if that exists yet on WordPress or any other platform but if I were trying to make a decision on one or the other, this layout seems like it’d simplify the process of learning… but of also making sure I wasn’t contributing a duplicate comment.

    PS. Thank you, Ramsay for selling me on sticking with WordPress. 🙂


    1. Ramsay

      That’s a cool idea! Might cause issues on mobile, but we could color code each comment so you can see all ‘for WordPress’ comments in green, for example. Would work well on political sites too. You can see at a glance how people lean.


  • Wayne Morris

    While I have tried other’s including static websites for customers, I still come back to wordpress. It’s just easy, and not only that search engines just love it “so do hackers” but I think the hacker thing is the only downside.


    1. Ramsay

      Unfortunately it’s just a part of online life these days.


  • Louise

    Five years on Blogger and I finally made the leap! With much help from WP support and Google searches (which brought me to this site; btw thanks Blog Tyrant!) I have only just recently launched my new WP site. I still have loads to learn and that’s okay. I can build on what I have thus far. So, for me, WP is my No. 1 choice!


    1. Ramsay

      Congrats Louise! I’m so glad you joined the club!


      1. Louise

        Thanks!


  • Temi

    I was on blogger before moving to WordPress, WordPress might have its issues but I prefer it..


  • Jennifer Berroya

    WordPress is still the best! specially to noob like me who is not into the hardcore programming to make awesome wesbites. With wordpress, we can create legit looking websites that looks like it was created by a pro web developer. =)


  • Nayab Khan

    Freedom to do almost anything with self hosted wordpress blog is what sets it apart from others. Having said this one downside of it is the time it takes to grow. It almost takes years to reach out to your targeted audience in wordpress, while in other social media platform it’s a fairly easy task and in the networks like tumblr and medium it’s comparatively easy than the wordpress.
    These networks can’t serve your business purpose alone but wordpress can.


  • Pat

    Thanks for sharing your point of view. I’ve been wondering how the various social networking platforms would best fit into my life and goals. I currently have a WP site – but will investigate more going forward.


  • Tas Branded Murah Terbaru

    Thank you for sharing a very interesting article. I think personally, nowadays wordpress is still the best. The reason is very simple, I use it for 10 years for my online store


  • Simon

    Ramsay, Google+ is still around. It won’t be going anywhere soon – it’s owned and supported by….Google.

    And, tumblr has been around for years and won’t be going anywhere. It’s owned by Yahoo, which is still earning in the $billion. And yes, even MySpace is still around – just in a different form.


    1. Ramsay

      Hi Simon.

      I see your point but it’s a huge risk to place on a platform that you don’t own.

      Google+ is not really being supported by Google anymore, the founder (Vic Gundotra) and his replacement quit and I don’t know if the team is being renewed. Authorship and a bunch of other big things associated with it no longer work.

      Tumblr is huge, for sure, but MySpace is almost useless unless you are a musician.

      I think all of those things are fine as side networks, but I’d never make it my main business.

      Thanks for the chat!


  • Susan Velez

    Hi Ramsay,

    I’ve been hearing so much about Medium that I actually created my account, just in case I ever decided to use it. Believe it or not since creating my account, I am actually getting a little bit of traffic from it.

    While I don’t actually use it, I love WordPress. It took me a long time to learn how to use it, but now that’s what I use to make a living from home.

    It’s hard to leave it and start learning something else. I have gotten to love WordPress so much. You can literally do almost anything you want with it.

    I agree the security issue can be a somewhat drag. But as long as you take precautions then you’re at least protecting yourself. Unfortunately, that’s not a sure deal that you won’t ever get hacked.

    But you can’t let that stop you from blogging. Thanks for sharing this information, I personally still prefer WordPress.

    I know that everyone’s opinion will be different. It all just boils down to a matter of preference.

    Have a great day 🙂

    Susan


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Susan. Lovely comment!


  • Joel Cole

    There’s an easy way to cure the WP security problem, just be a tougher nut to crack than the other guys. If you make it hard to get into your site, something that a brute force attack can survive, the bad guys will just ignore you and move on to the next, easier, site.

    That means that you can’t use a “one-click” installer and you’ll have to become conversant enough in the backend to hand-build your database. But, it isn’t much of a price to pay to assure that you won’t wake up some morning and discover your front page has been taken over by the ISIS flag.

    I own a handful of websites andI take these precautions.I haven’t been hacked yet.


    1. Ramsay

      Yeah it takes a bit of work. I hire an independent security expert and he does things I didn’t know how to do. Worth the money for me.


  • Aaron

    WordPress is good if you’re a bit technical and can add plugins yourself. If you’re not sure what you want your site to grow into, it’s a good solution. But then you have to deal with a system with a large footprint and special hosting requirements. I’ve built lots of client sites and can say that WP is not the most intuitive for less technical users. I’ve had happier clients and less maintenance concerns since moving as many projects as possible to cloudcannon/Jekyll, Statamic and Grav, none of which use a database. Faster to serve, less resource requirements and easier to customize for the user compared to WP.


  • Manoj

    Excellent statistics. WordPress is the best platform which makes blogging easier with a bunch of features and services. Huge library of themes and plugins is another advantage.

    I tried and still holding accounts with several platforms. But found nothing worked for me. So WP is my choice.


  • Rick

    Facebook, Medium, Twitter and other “modern” platforms have brought the concept of “blogging” to the masses, and I believe that’s a good thing.

    The above being said, I also believe that a self-hosted WordPress blog is the best solution for those who prefer to maintain total control of the content they produce and the way their blogs look, rank in the search engines and perform for the readers.

    I’ve been using WordPress for 7 years and it just gets better with the passage of time.

    Security issues have always been a problem for casual WordPress users, but there are steps one can take to minimize those risks substantially, the most important being the creation of regular backups.

    Thanks for a very thought-provoking article.


  • Yasar Ali

    I’m a huge fan of WordPress, Too Ramsay,
    Thanks for your experience & amazing post.
    Yasar,


  • Nelly

    It’s definitely easy to use. I worked with Magento’s blog functionality once … never again.


  • Emmanuel

    I found WordPress to be very beginners-friendly for building websites especially when you are not technically-savvy.

    I’ve built different types of sites for clients using the WordPress CMS, thanks to amazing plugins and easy-to-customize themes.

    You can imagine building a site from ground up which is very cost-effective.

    The number of websites on the internet powered by WordPress (compared to others),speaks volume of its efficiency and beautiful features.

    I think WordPress is still the best, Ramsay!

    I’ve never being happier since I moved to WordPress, I even wrote a book on WordPress: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B06WP6C3S3.


  • Robin Khokhar

    Hi Ramsay,
    Personally, for me, WordPress is the best blogging platform I have used till today. Till today I have developed more than hundreds of websites with WordPress, and I don’t think of using any other platform.


  • Nancy

    I were a “blogspot” person. And honestly, because it’s free. But I’ve just realized that (self-hosted) WORDPRESS has a lot more to offer. Aside from the wide array of themes to choose from, what impresses me is their arsenal of plugins that really helped my websites – a lot of them are free too!. 😀 And my usual plugins – Yoast, Pretty Links and Wordfence. I dont see these on other platforms.


  • Deslauriers Twins Toronto

    No platform is going to allow you to create a 100% custom website without any/minimal effort on your part. WordPress is just great for example like Windows has all new variety applications as compared to Mac or other platforms same it’s with WordPress. WordPress has a lot of plugins which saves time.

    I just love WordPress my whole business is based on it.


  • Silly Hat Affiliate

    I agree that WordPress is the best choose out there. Thank you for an interesting article. 🙂


  • MonicaP

    I’m actually surprised there are only 500 new wordpress sites created each day! I think those stats must be a bit outdated. Great post. WordPress is still the best!


  • Linda Joyce

    Hi Ramsay,
    Very intriguing intro! You had me going for a moment and fully prepared to defend my choice of self-hosted WordPress. With thousands of themes and 40K plugins, there’s no denying the flexibility. My one regret is that I can’t use more of them. Plugins tend to wreak havoc with site speed. Thanks for the engaging post!


  • Caitie

    Thank you so much for this blog!! I’ve been fighting with my blog and feeling really despondent about it. It kills me to see other blogs in the same space that are really poorly constructed (I’m not saying mine is perfect – heck, they have all the traffic and I don’t!) and I just don’t seem to be moving forward with mine. Feeling less down after reading through your blog. Thumbs up 🙂

    On the topic of WordPress (self hosted). I love it. It can be a bit of a minefield if you are not careful, but the flexibility and freedom that it provides is SO worth it. It’s like taking photo’s with an SLR vs a smartphone – you can take great pics with a smartphone (and rubbish ones with an SLR), but if you really understand how to photograph with an SLR, you photo’s will be much better quality. Right, off to brush up on my blogging skills!


  • arvind

    Hi Ramsay,

    I think every platform is good in it own way…coming to WordPress now also many new and successful bloggers are running their website on WordPress platform..for me it is still the best…great post for WordPress lovers…thanks for sharing…!!

    Arvind


  • grahame pike

    Hi Ramsay
    I have two websites one of which, Luxury Thailand Travel, is created on the “Solo Build It” platform. I have been with this Canadian company for over nine years and loving it. What I like about “Solo Build It” is their dashboard which provide you so many tools to work with including daily real-time traffic updates.

    I also use WordPress for my other website “Health Taboo” but I have to say in all honestly that I prefer Solo Build it. I am also surprised that very few people seem to know about this platform for creating websites.


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