WordPress is a wildly popular CMS famed for it’s simplicity. In fact, it’s so simple you can have a basic website up and running in literally two minutes. That said, just because it’s popular or is relatively uncomplicated, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it’s the best choice for your projects.

A brief history

WordPress was born 21 years ago into a very different digital world than what exists today (remember MySpace?). The WWW was still a relatively new novelty for most and blogging was, for the most part, not something the masses really considered. It existed to be sure, but in no way that can be recognised through the lens of a highly digital 2024.

There were a handful of content publishing providers such as Blogger (still going, btw) but they were very hard to customise and closed-source, so one-day a gentleman named Matt Mullenweg decided to create a system that was easy to set up, easy to customise and easy for absolutely anyone to create their own content.

Skip forward to today, WordPress still very much follows those three easy principles.

How did WordPress acquire such a massive market share?

Depending on your source, WordPress accounts for around 45% of all websites. That’s a very significant figure, given that there are more than a billion websites out there and more created every day.

The answer to this question lies in a few factors:

  • It’s absolutely free – the CMS will not cost you a single penny. That said, hosting and a domain name is not specifically WordPress so I’m ignoring those.
  • It’s entirely open sourced – you can play with everything in there.
  • No technical expertise needed – anyone, and I do mean anyone, can create a WordPress website and you do not ever need to see a single line of code, unless you want to.
  • Huge community and marketplaces of themes and plugins – they’re everywhere, with a pretty wide spectrum of adherence to quality control. This is a sort-of self-fulfilling point here in that the more people use WordPress, the bigger the community becomes, which in turn generates more people by passive (or even active) advocacy.

WordPress sounds great! Why are we here?

The problem lies in the fact that, despite two decades of development and advancements, WordPress is still very much just a blogging platform. Extensible, absolutely, but it is great ONLY at that task.

“Yeah, but e-commerce runs on WordPress, WooCommerce?” Yes, however, if you think of a CMS as a platform to create usually public content of varying types, a product is nothing more than a post with a specific set of categories.

Whilst WordPress is very simple as a CMS, it’s actually pretty rigid in how to customise the system. Everything has to work to fit in with WordPress (much like any other off-the-shelf software), rather than your business logic. An extremely simple example – you cannot upload an SVG unless you write a function or install a plugin that effectively hacks the upload process. Another example – WordPress comes with no SEO tools whatsoever, you need to install one or more, often pretty clunky plugins that also often only give you what you really need if you pay a hefty subscription.

Almost every organisation has complex, specific logic that cannot be tied down nicely and neatly to “post types”. No two estate agents work precisely the same way, nor do two car maintenance companies or two software consultancies. You will, in every single case, need the right tool, specific to your business case and individual functions.


Security is a constant battle in WordPress. Generally, it’s not WordPress itself, the WordPress foundation and contributors are quite fast at releasing patches and updates. In my experience, it’s almost always plugin and theme quality control. If you are installing a plugin for your SEO, another for your SVG logo, another for your favicon, another for Google Analytics and another for your contact form, what happens when development abruptly stops on one of them? How are you meant to know if that Google Analytics plugin that you’ve given your secret keys to (and access to your server, as the files live on there) hasn’t been developed by someone that’s never seen PHP before?

Final words

This post does seem a bit disparaging of WordPress, it’s great at what it was intended for and that alone. As most are only aware of WordPress, there are a massive amount of alternatives out there, in all the languages of the rainbow, often much better suited to a specific use case. This makes them a better candidate for a specific task.

The tools you use should be an asset and save you time and effort. Forcing an inappropriate framework into performing any particular task is inherently expensive in time, effort and very often, money. Leave WordPress to what it’s actually good at – a content management system ONLY.

If you would like to have an informal chat about your organisation’s goals and how we can help you achieve them together using the right tools for the job, get in touch.

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