Sometimes WordPress Isn’t the Right Choice

Wordpress Logo

Wait, what? That’s sacrilegious for me to write a headline like that!

WordPress Tavern linked to a post by Kevinjohn Gallagher about his creative agency stopping the use of WordPress for clients. Gallagher points out these weaknesses in WordPress:

“WordPress has either no, or severely limited:

  1. Document management
  2. Workflow management
  3. Digital asset management
  4. Link management
  5. User management
  6. ESI Caching / CDN ability.
  7. WYSIWYG editing
  8. Single Sign-on
  9. Multi-side Admin
  10. Publishing options
  11. Access Management
  12. Application
  13. Multi-lingual
  14. n-to-n content sharing
  15. Reporting”

As one of the commenters points out – there is no perfect CMS. Each user’s needs differ vastly – especially enterprise clients. And as John James Jacoby says, Gallagher’s “they” are us. We can change the course of WordPress in a number of ways to make it more like the perfect content management system. You just can’t say that about proprietary systems.

Some of the proprietary systems do some of the things that Gallagher wants better, but none of them handles the user experience or ease of installation/updates better than WordPress. That’s something to remember. WordPress has nailed that pretty well, and can continue to build on it.

What do you think? Is WordPress as weak as Gallagher makes it sound?

5 Reasons Nonprofits Should Use WordPress

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Nonprofits have a lot of choices when it comes to content management systems.

There’s Blackbaud NetCommunity, Convio, (the first two are not open source) Drupal, Joomla, WordPress and more… It’s easy to become overwhelmed by those choices. Many of these systems have similarities, and often the right choice comes down to the individual needs of each specific nonprofit, and its technical capacity. All that aside, let’s take a look at why WordPress stands alone as THE open-source CMS choice for nonprofits:

The WordPress Difference

  1. Easy: WordPress is easy to use, from both a user standpoint and a development standpoint. And hey, plenty of nonprofits have found success using WordPress.
  2. Open-Source: WordPress is a true open-source project. It’s powered by thousands of people, and that leads to quick development cycles and innovation.
  3. Flexible: Built with HTML, CSS, PHP and MySQL, WordPress grows with the web. And you can do just about anything with it.
  4. Tips, Tutorials and Guidance Galore: WordPress, like any other CMS, can be intimidating when you first dive in. However, once you start cruising the interwebz, you notice plenty of support and places to turn to learn more about WordPress.
  5. True Community: The more I slowly become a part of the WordPress community, the more I’m impressed by the feeling you get once you engage with the folks who are truly passionate about WordPress. That’s really what propels any project onto something bigger and better than most. It’s not just driven solely by profits or client needs, but by passion. Anyone working for a nonprofit can get behind that.

What do you think about nonprofits using WordPress as a content management system? How does it compare to other open-source solutions? Let me know your thoughts.

31 Resources for Powering a Website with WordPress

Chalk board with "www" on it


If you wish to use WordPress to power your website, you’re lucky. Thousands of people who love and support WordPress have filled the web with tons of resources. I’m going to share my favorites, and segment them by category. I hope they help you. If you have more to add, please do so in the comments.

Resources from WordPress

  • Automattic – The company behind WordPress, and started by WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg.
  • WordPress.com – The free blogging platform created by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.
  • WordPress.org – The free blogging software, available for download and able to be run on a server, and power an entire site.
  • WordPress Documentation – The WordPress Codex has all the relevant details, tricks and tips on how to take advantage of WordPress’ full power.
  • WordPress Showcase – See sites built by WordPress, and discover what it can really do.
  • WordPress Theme Directory – Download free themes for WordPress.
  • Commercial Themes – WordPress also has many premium themes for purchase. Download them here.
  • Plugins – WordPress can be extended by way of plugins. Browse and download those here.

WordPress Design

WordPress Development

Blogs About WordPress

There’s more here at this nice list of 10 as well.

And if you want more great links about WordPress, be sure to follow my Delicious account and this tag.

Photo by JayLopez.

This is the second part of a two part series on Building Websites with WordPress. The first installment covered the strategy needed when considering WordPress as a content management system or blogging platform for your website.

To Use WordPress, or to Not Use WordPress

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So you want to use WordPress to build a website, huh?

Good choice, and you’ve come to the right place. This is the first part in a two-part series on using WordPress to build a website.

Why WordPress Works?

WordPress has continued to gain popularity as a CMS (Content Management System). Why?

  • It’s free (You do have to pay for web hosting and a domain name, of course).
  • It’s open source (meaning anyone can contribute to the project’s development).
  • It’s easy to use, and relatively flexible when it comes to options for developing a website.

Granted, other choices exist for content management systems, and you should research all of your options. Drupal and Joomla are two popular CMSs that web designers, web developers and companies seem to favor today.

However, some top corporations, organizations and individuals have selected WordPress to meet their needs. Check out the WordPress showcase to see some of the most inspiring and effective ways to use WordPress.

WordPress as a Better CMS

Also, the WordPress team has just released WordPress 3.0. Developers built in several features that make this new version a more powerful content management system. These include:

  • custom background support.
  • custom menu support.
  • custom content types.
  • custom taxonomies (meaning ways to organize content)

You can read about the new features in a great post by Jeff Star at Digging into WordPress. And for a brief on the new features, you can watch the video above.

Important Questions for Using WordPress as a CMS

Wordpress Dashboard

Once you get an idea of what WordPress can do, you’ll want to ask yourself some important questions:

Why do you want to use it?

Ask yourself that question. Just like any other tool, WordPress has its advantages and disadvantages. From my experience, WordPress works best if you are really into blogging, have a lot of content to manage or will be updating your site frequently.

What’s your design look like?

The first thing you need to do is decide how your site is going to be laid out. This will help you select which theme to use. My advice is to pick a theme that is exactly or as close as possible to your desired layout. This will determine how much modification you need to do.

You can select between both free and commercial themes, available directly from the WordPress website.

A note of caution, it’s always good practice to download themes from the theme directory itself, or from reputable theme developers. Lleland over at ThemeLabs says, “People searching for free themes in Google likely have a more ‘innocent’ mindset and probably don’t even realize the mistake they’re making when they use themes from these random sites.” He’s got some good advice on the issue too, so make sure to give it a read.

Inevitably, you might say, “Dave, I found this premium theme, and it’s cool, but it costs money. What do you think?”

I am generally against premium WordPress themes unless it’s EXACTLY what you need. Many fantastic theme developers have built beautiful and easy-to-use premium themes. So it’s a definite option, and one that could make your life easier. However, there are plenty of free options that can accomplish the same thing, so do your research.

Conclusion

Start with these two questions if you want to use WordPress to build your website. Begin browsing themes, and pick some favorites. Then, be sure to remember these two questions: why do I like this theme and does it allow me to do what I want with my site design-wise?

The next part in the series will be a gigantic resource list for using WordPress to build your website.

This is the first part of a two part series on Building Websites with WordPress. The second installment covers resources you can use for building your site with WordPress.