Over the past decade, I’ve built and maintained websites on various content management systems and publishing platforms. However, one platform has remained a constant in my toolkit – WordPress.
WordPress continues to strike the right balance for my needs as someone who values clarity, simplicity, and flexibility.
I started using WordPress in 2012 for a blog I wanted to set up. Many of my web developer friends then recommended it as an easy and free solution. I tried it and was pleasantly surprised by how simple yet powerful it was out of the box.
Pagination and the basic templating system let me get my blog up and running within an hour without writing any code. But what I appreciated most was WordPress’s underlying architecture – built with hooks, filters, and extensions in mind. I could still drop down to the PHP layer and customize aspects.
Over the years, I’ve tried many other content management platforms. While they each had their strengths, I often found their interfaces too cluttered or not flexible enough for my needs.
It’s all about hitting the sweet spot, dude.
Some felt too bloated with unnecessary options, even for small personal sites. The learning curves involved also deterred me from using these platforms for lower-priority projects.
Back to WordPress
WordPress’s simplicity and extensibility have made it approachable for technical and non-technical users. After building the initial structure and templates, I can easily hand off-site maintenance responsibilities.
For an independent blogger, WordPress’ plugin ecosystem also means most common website features are just an installation away. This minimizes the time spent on repetitive coding tasks.
But plugins make it even more bloated, right?
No. I only use plugins such as Yoast and GeneratePress Premium, both backed by a dedicated community of developers. Every other plugin I use is second tier, and I don’t mind if they break one day. And if I need something else, I’ll code it myself.
More about coding.
Over the years of maintaining and developing WordPress, I’ve become well-versed in its hooks and actions. Being able to wire into WordPress at a deeper level with plugins is important for building customized functionality.
Nothing is perfect.
There are certainly design aspects of WordPress, like its template structure, that could be improved. Performance can also be an issue on sites with high traffic or complex functionality.
In recent years, I’ve seen projects where something like a static site generator* might have been a better fit. Nonetheless, WordPress offers the right toolkit for most small to medium personal, community, or small business client sites I work on.
One persistent wish is for an official lightweight version of WordPress or an active fork community focused on minimalism. Something stripped down to just the core functionality without unnecessary features or admin interface bloat. A “WordPress Nano” could significantly improve load times and hosting requirements for certain simpler use cases.
Nb: I acknowledge the existence of ClassicPress, but it’d be great to have Automattic maintain an official lightweight fork.
WordPress renders content easily, allows hooking into code at any point, and has never actively prevented achieving my design goals. The thriving community also guarantees support and fixes.
WordPress has continuously satisfied my criteria of being understandable, extendable, and reliable for over a decade, making it a long-term confidence for my work. While no software is perfect, WordPress checks far more boxes than any other options I’ve tested. And so it remains my go-to CMS starting point.
*PS: I’ve dabbled with Jekyll a lot. And I have an unnamed Jekyll theme pending release on GitHub. And Ghost, it’s a beast. But I want to get hacky with PHP.
Also, The WordPress’ 100-year plan for $38K – sounds absurd.