Overall Satisfaction with WordPress
For the last four organizations I've supported, as well as in my own endeavors, WordPress has been leveraged as both a blogging platform and as a simple CMS (Content Management System) to enable business users to manage online content with minimal software cost (and installation headaches) and a relatively easy learning curve. My clients have used it to build microsites for their customers, and several have used it as a way to manage content through the efforts of many authors with diverse responsibilities and levels of technical expertise by taking advantage of the security benefits of segmenting access across many levels of user accounts. When a small business, school, or not-for-profit organization needs to manage web content that is dynamic and fluid, they need a CMS that will allow them to keep publically-visible information up-to-date without needing to get the attention of a technician or web designer every time. WordPress allows the designer to configure the environment; but leave content creation, management, and expiration to the owners of the information.
- Easy learning curve. I believe the mark of good software design is that it is accessible to both the power user, and those who just want to get their process up and running. WordPress does not require that users become an expert, or step outside of commonly-familiar document editing concepts, in order to look good in their online presence.
- Ubiquity. WordPress is available on most web hosts I have done business with -- many will even do the installation on their servers in such a way that the customer is completely insulated from the 'plumbing' side of it's configuration (the web host makes the machine work, the customer makes the machine DO the work). Because it is in use by so many organizations and individuals, it is easy to locate talent for content creation, and web site design -- your local high school likely has a hundred kids who have used it for their own blog, and can take that skill with them into the workplace.
- The power of Open Source. With huge community of users, developers, and contributors, WordPress has grown not just by the narrow view of a few visionaries. I have seldom ever had to wonder (for more than five minutes) if there was a way to solve a content-presentation problem within the WordPress world... the plugins, templates, and modules provided (often for free) can take you from idea to delivery in a matter of hours, not weeks.
- Though things have improved with capabilities added through third-party templates and plugins, I would like to see more integrated support for sites that serve audiences both 'on the big screen' as well as on handhelds.
- I spend much less TIME in training users, editing content myself, and changing design features of web sites now that I can give the clients a working environment that is accessible from any connected web browser.
- Clients experience faster TURNAROUND since less effort needs to be spent on erecting the basic structure and templatting of their site.
- Because it is a hosted (server-based) solution, I never have to visit with a client and 'touch' their PC (or Mac); there is always a liability factor whenever adjusting or reconfiguring a workstation, server, or network component that a business depends on every day -- WordPress makes site-building a hands-off experience where clients' 'last-mile' tool are concerned.
WordPress has become my favorite web-content environment because it resides on the server, requires no offline software installations, get updated regularly at no cost to users, and does not depend on a high degree of technical expertise. No one needs to learn HTML or CSS (style sheets); though if you have these skills you will find WordPress does let you 'run with it' by giving you full access to the back-end if you want it. I've gone from being completely dependent on the sofware and source files I'd stored on my laptop -- and the clients being completely dependent on me for every little edit to their sites ... to being able to deliver a fluid web-presentation environment that allows the client to manage the content, and lets me refine the content from wherever I am -- regardless of what software I might have installed on the nearest computer.
One of the downsides to my favorite benefits -- ubiquity -- is that while there are large numbers of happy users out there who utilized WordPress in their own projects, there are also a large number of hackers who have become familiar enough with the environment that it is a common target. I have had at least two web sites become politcal targets of 'activists' who saw the content as reason enough to seek and exploit weaknesses. While the frailties of the sites were based in the hosting, not in WordPress itself -- the content was not protected from compromise once the attackers got to the MySQL database that WordPress is based on. If you plan to host and serve financial data or other information that could cause legal issues -- you may need to look for a product with multiple levels of security that just aren't part of the WordPress structure.