Bryns Blog: Web development and design recommendations

An experienced coder and designer, Bryn runs his own freelance web business from Nelson, New Zealand.
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www.brynheveldt.co.nz

Is WordPress still a good choice for my website build?

WordPress can be seen as a little outdated, but is still a relevant tool for web projects.

What WordPress is

Most people have heard of WordPress, it's been around since 2003. Designed initially as a blogging platform it has now grown to a full website management platform. Some developers see WordPress as very outdated in it's implementation and security and this certainly can be a concern if it's not handled correctly. That doesn't mean it shouldn't be used.

Why you might want to use WordPress

One good reason to use WordPress is familiarity with the edit screens and functionality available. Some people have invested a tonne of time learning the platform that it's often worth continuing to use it for continuity. 

It's easy and quick to setup a WordPress website, one of the advantages. You can use many of the great 3rd party plugins to manage some complex processes like member areas, events management and many other tasks.

It's also open source meaning the code is freely available. You can change and add to the code as you please.

Some of the bad points about WordPress

The plugins whilst being very handy and an easy way to get off the ground can also become a headache to maintain. Some plugins are not maintained and therefor not supported. Bugs can creep in and over time you are left with a big mess of spaghetti to untangle and fix.

WordPress has a reputation for being very insecure and thus hackers target its vulnerabilities. If you are serious about security then WordPress is probably not for you.

How to keep a WordPress site secure

Choose a host who specialise in WordPress like WP Engine. Use a strong password that is long and random, not a word or phrase. Install some security plugin like 'Better WP Security' and use SSL or https:// before your address. You could also use 2-factor authentication and limit login attempts. The short of this is don't leave your setup in a default state. It will require some time to seal it up and keep it watertight.

Best approach when building with WordPress

When building a WordPress website you can buy an off the shelf theme, I always recommend a custom theme built around one of the starter kit themes. A theme always needs some customisation and this often takes the same amount of time as building a good one from scratch. Moving forward is far easier and cheaper with a quality, lightweight custom theme.

Alternatives to WordPress

If you are wanting eCommerce I would recommend Shopify or Squarespace for a simple setup. They are tailored for this kind of functionality. It's not the best idea to bash at a small nail with a sledge hammer. Use the best tool. This may require some unchartered territory and a new learning curve but embrace change for a better web experience for both the customer and yourself. Another option is SilverStripe which is a more modern, secure take on a web CMS. SilverStripe is great if you want to build a stable, secure, high performance website. 

If you want to read about the differences between some quality web platforms I've had experience with read my other post about this topic.

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