Why I Bailed On WordPress

I had good intentions to set up a website with WordPress. I've been developing websites since the late 1990s, so it's not my first rodeo. In fact, I created a prototype content management system before they were even commercially available. It worked. I figured that because WordPress is so popular, I should have no problems.

I decided to build a website about our home farm community. The farm has been in the family for well over 100 years and there's a bunch of us living there now. Our county road superintendent put a sign at the boundaries on the highway marking us as Aydelottville. We thought it was funny, but now we have started taking our identy seriously. We have a big family with lots of history.

Since I already have a hosting account with SiteGround, installing the WordPress files on my host was super easy. It guided me through the selection of a theme, although it was a limited list, and establishing my account on the website. I figured that using a theme already populated with sample data would be easier to edit or delete content than trying to construct a decent layout from scratch.

I started the editing of the home page. Pretty much all of the site's management menus were in the left hand sidebar. It took a bit of exploring to find all the options I needed, but it was close to a WYSIWYG operation to edit. Lots of people like that so they can just sit down and start creating and formatting.

I quickly realized WordPress does not use a work flow that I like. I'm used to doing a design starting with the data or content that I want to build. Just starting and figuring out what I want to display as I go is backwards to me, but I know that's how a lot of people work. I was schooled in software development methodologies where we structured our processes carefully starting with a clear understanding of requirements before we even thought about the user interface.

The more I played with the site, the more annoyed I became. I soon realized that I could already have had a Joomla site working. With Joomla, I have two separate interfaces I can use to build and maintain a website.

With the back-end editor, I can structure my data into relevant categories--like an old fashioned outline. I can build my menu system in a similar outline fashion to link to various articles and article categories as well as to content management extensions (like plugins in WordPress) to capture or display my content on one page, several pages, or all pages as I choose. I can even use a different template (theme) for each page with ease. Furthermore, I can override the labels, terms, and styles (css) used in the various extensions to make it fit my client's type of language and format expectations without fear of an update changing things back.

With the front-end editor, I can edit the page as it appears to a user to update content or add content without having to deal with a sidebar full of complicated menu options. It's quite simple, and it's easy for website owners to keep the site current with minimal knowledge of website building processes.

I'm pretty sure that with WordPress, I'd have to jump into the more technical editing of php and css files to add features that Joomla already covers. 

So, when people tell you how great WordPress is, agree with them. Obviously, it works for them. When they claim it's the best, shrug because they don't know. As my professional WordPress developer son says, "WordPress is the leading content management system because it's the leading content management system."