I’ve been a long time defender and lover of WordPress, and I could recount some pretty terrible stories of things that have happened to me, or people I know, running WordPress. The thing about WordPress is that it is big, like really big — it’s used everywhere. And it has gotten a bad wrap in nerd circles, mostly because it used to be that a link from John Gruber would bring a WordPress site to it’s knees.
The problem is with self-hosted WordPress installations that are not cached — which is the default. People choose WordPress for their self-hosted weblog software because it’s easy to install, and easy to configure with “just put it into a folder” installation of additional themes and plugins. But such an installation can’t handle large amounts of traffic. If I link to an uncached WordPress site, it will go down.
That was in 2011, and things really have changed since then. I no longer run caching on my site, though my hardware is far more robust than it used to be. Even still, out of the box, WordPress 4.1 is fantastic and if you don’t know how to write code, it is the only option you should be considering for your blog.
I truly mean that.
Flexibility to Do Anything
If your foray into website building never goes more than what you want right now, WordPress will be a solid choice as it is constantly updated and patched. Your site won’t need you.
Likewise, if you grow as your site grows and learn to design websites, or want to add any features to your site down the road, WordPress will be ready. You can create anything based off of WordPress, leaving you the ultimately flexibility. Easy to get going, infinite possibilities as you grow.
My paywall system is custom built for me, but only because at the time there were no other solutions that used Stripe to process payments, only PayPal. Today there are at least three plugins I know that are better than mine and do more while using Stripe. You can install all three of those without knowing how to code.
I always joke that if you want to do it on your site, there’s a plugin for it already. That’s only ever not been true for me once. I’ve been running WordPress for a very long time.
Let’s get down to the real core of my argument: WordPress is easy. I mean that in every sense of the word, even the installation. If you truly don’t want to worry, you just go to WordPress.com and call it a day. Dead simple, but if you want slightly more flexibility, you go to almost any host and get a server, just fill out some forms, and then click a button for one-click installation of WordPress. Again, really easy.
So installation is easy, so are themes and plugins. Both have built in galleries where you can search for what you want and install them with two clicks (one to install, one to activate). From there all configuration is done in the web browser with graphical elements and lots of check boxes. Of course it can all be done via editing files if you want too, but it doesn’t have to be.
There’s no need to over think things or use special software. You can publish from any web browser, and that includes mobile. The options are unlimited, but the basic installation is simple.
My wife’s site is the default 2015 theme with a custom font and some custom colors. I overrode some settings using CSS, but other than that her site is dead simple. And yes, the stock theme does Daring Fireball style links, in a way that is so simple I wish I used that with my theme.
I know it feels really redundant for me to go on, but I cannot stress how simple things are. With the free Jetpack plugin you can add Markdown support, CDN hosting of your images (free), and site stats. This really couldn’t be more simple.
Ah, But It’s not Static
Yes, you are right. WordPress is a dynamic site, where the PHP engine is building the site from a database every time someone visits. So what? It’s not baked, or static, what does that really matter? You think it is going to go down?
Yeah right, to go down you need tens of thousands of hits coming to your site at once. You need John Gruber to link to you, and even then it may not go down. But, being WordPress, you can make it static by installing any number of ‘caching’ plugins that are not only free, but simple to install and use. But you don’t need one.
This is such a stupid argument I can’t bring myself to continue. So while Jekyll users waste hours trying to figure out how to publish from an iPhone and trigger their static site to be built, you can spend your time blogging.
Yes, WordPress maybe isn’t as cool as Jekyll, OctoPress, or SquareSpace. So what? I’ve built a copy of this site on almost every major CMS you can think of. Off the top of my head I’ve had test versions of this site running on: Jekyll, OctoPress, Drupal, SquareSpace, Statamatic, Movable Type, and I know I am missing a couple.
Each time I came to the same conclusion: there are more reasons to stay with WordPress than there are to move. There is simply no compelling reason to move. Don’t get wrapped up in what CMS is trendy, figure out which one is going to grow with you. Likely that will be WordPress and not the others.
I touched on this above, but the WordPress community is so large that it’s dead simple to find helpful tutorials on every aspect of the CMS. There’s not just thousands upon thousands of themes and plugins. There’s a lot of free articles walking you through how to do all sorts of stuff.
There’s no better community out there if you ask me.
You Should Focus on Other Things
If your site is taking active time of yours to work on, you’re doing it wrong. If your site restricts your flexibility to grow, scale, and customize — you’re doing it wrong. If you can’t publish from any browser, anywhere in the world, with no special tools, you’re doing it wrong.
WordPress, they don’t even pay me to say this stuff.