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WordPress is not easy (mattreport.com)
49 points by gmays on Feb 28, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 35 comments

No software is easy if you are not using it for its intended purpose. The fact that small businesses like to twist WordPress into a CMS for brochureware sites does not mean that WordPress is the best tool for that job. So if a WordPress consultant is finding problems using WordPress, rather than say WordPress is too hard, they should find a better tool for the job at hand.

And if you are teaching a group of new business owners how to get a web presence, maybe you should first determine their needs before declaring self-hosted WordPress to be the correct answer for an entire group.

Because WordPress really is easy if you are using it for a blog, as it was originally designed.

Don't let many years of feature bloat distract you from its original intent - that path leads to disappointment.

I agree to this response.

I had a barely competent lawn mover talk to me about a website and after 30 minutes of discussion was able to get a smallorange hosting , use the script installer , watch some videos and was able to set up a nice little website.

He did make a couple of phone calls to me in the middle but in less than a day he was setup. After pointing to themeforest he now has a website that developers charge 3-4K for.

Wordpress is really easy and if the audience is not competent utilizing it then maybe a network hosted like wix seem an alternative.

Not sure if this demands a discussion.

Each one of those themes nets its developer anywhere from $25,000 to $350,000. So yes it makes sense for him to sell it for $50. Then you come to me and want some customizations done. Well those customizations are going to cost you at least $1,000, if not $3,000 to $5,000. You know why? Because I want to make my $75,000 per year. You don't like it, do it yourself. It's so easy a monkey could do it!

The value is not in how much time I spend doing it. The value is in the 10 years I spent learning how to do it. If you can find someone in India to do it for cheaper, then don't come to me. Period. Seen plenty of freelancer.com brilliance out there. That's what you deserve.

I am not sure what your hostility stems from ?

The author is talking about Wordpress not being easy. You are wrong in that the developer nets $25K per theme. Most of these themes have less than 100 sales so a $50 theme nets less than $5000 for the developer.

Further to that most of these themes now have a very good customizer so even your average Joe can customize it to their liking.

The discussion is absolutely not about value. Its about the author talking about wordpress not being easy. Amazon AWS is not easy and yet they have managed to increase their revenue. If a non technical person can set-up a wordpress and be able to use it then truly it has done a good job of being easy.

That's one aspect of it. The other aspect of it that because the developer is charging $3,000 - $5,000 they are doing something wrong that the user can do themselves for $50. This sort of mentality creates a toxic market for WP developers. It's fine for people to do it for $50, it's not fine to go around spreading this toxic rhetoric that the developers charging $3000-$5000 are ripping people off. And that's what I read OP's comment as saying and that's what the hostility is directed at.

Again you are being hostile to your own perception and what you think you are reading.

I did not say the developers were ripping people off. I did not even talk about the value the developers provide. You assumed that I was talking about developers ripping people off which in some way reflects your own inferiority complex about this issue. I read the previous response and neither is that person saying what you are perceiving.

On another note, the first few points all being web hosting related make me think about how much of an utter pain hosting is in general. Seriously, the hosting world has to be the most screwed up part of the internet, especially when it comes down to jumping through the hoops put in place by different companies and shopping around in an industry where everyone seems to be trying to rip off everyone else.

But I'd say WordPress itself is pretty easy, at least if you're sticking to well known plugins and the core features. Just needs to have the options and text reworded a bit to make things a bit clearer for someone who's never used a CMS before.

I dont know about you but I'm totally happy with my A Small Orange shared hosting. Then there's Digital Ocean if you want full control (VPS). The lowest tier is actually cheaper than shared hosting. I'd say, contrary to what you are saying, hosting is easier and there's more option nowadays. You just need to know where to look.

what is this "rip people off" non-sense. you mean make money. that's what everyone should be doing.

hosting is a race to the bottom sort of business. if someone can create some value in it and charge money from the consumer, they are not doing anything wrong and should be applauded.

Have you looked for hosting recommendations recently? It's a huge line of affiliate sites pretending to be neutral while giving good reviews to whoever pays them the most.

And then there's EIG, which basically buys out everything in sight, pretends they're still independent and cuts costs at every opportunity.

Not to mention the people starting up hosting companies in the summer holidays, only to run them into the ground or shut down in a few months.

There's a difference between making money and trying to trick people with shoddy products and services.

Don't see this as tricking, it's marketing. EIG offers hosting for next to nothing, and you get what you pay for. If you customer wants to pay for value hosting they can find it by paying more. The other players you are talking about, I don't know how they get customers... it's not easy to get hosting customers, period.

Well, they don't like telling anyone they bought out their provider, nor that it's the cause of a previously good service going downhill. The company buys out hosts offering a decent service at (sometimes) higher prices, then turns them into budget providers with low reliability while trying to keep the news on the low.

As for how the other guys get customers... Deals usually. Sometimes literally on web hosting forums, where they talk advantage of the offers section til they inevitably get banned.

Things may have improved recently in the UK, but a couple of years ago it wasn't unheard of for hosting companies to charge significant release fees for domain transfers, and to delay transfers for weeks or months - sometimes for so long the national registrar had to get involved.

Another popular scam was to lock access to an account when a charging period expired so the owner couldn't access any domain transfer tools, and only allow access and transfers on payment of another full year of hosting.

It's a shady business. IMO there's no real reason why it should be.

I'm going to be contrary I guess, and say that Wordpress is too easy. That is, it has grown to almost a full scale PHP framework, so to make it do anything other than be a blog engine, you have to know a fair amount of front end, a little bit of backend, you have to know all the crap that Wordpress chooses to store in the db instead of in config files, etc etc. At this point, Wordpress is a great tool for developers, and a great tool for the no-coding user that just wants to set up a blog site or a brochure site based on a theme without updating that theme. It's the middle ground where it gets dangerous. People that don't know CSS but want to change colors using various plugins, etc etc etc. For a "no code" website, I'd almost always recommend people go with something like squarespace these days and just accept its limitations. Otherwise, Wordpress is fine for developers.

If you need a WordPress and don't have the technical knowledge to set it up, there are plenty of hosting providers that will give you a one-click ready to go set-up (using some sort of panel).

This takes care of 2/3rds of the issues you raised.

If you want to make a web-page without web knowledge, you can buy a theme that has drag and drop features (this takes care of the rest)

Know what's even harder? Drupal. Drupal makes it easy to do the wrong thing, over complicates trivial tasks and a fundamentally flawed core and the community has a huge presence of 'expert beginners'.

All CMS are hard, I always recommend a static site and loading in whatever dynamic content services you truly need.

How about some facts. What is the wrong thing? Which trivial tasks? What are the fundamental flaws?

Expert beginners? You mean humans trying to answer poorly worded questions?

Learning new things can be hard from some people, but generalizations that all of any type of software is hard make me sad. That being said, I've switched people from wordpress to Drupal, mostly by asking them what they want to do in the future, then showing them how it eventually is the road to having to pay for features. That is usually enough to convince them that Drupal is the right choice or a custom solution is better.

I wrote a post on the same thing a year ago. I agree with you all the way. I had a lot of criticism for my post though. It seems those who rely heavily on WordPress for their income struggled with the bitter truth. At the time however, I found it difficult recommend a solid alternative. I haven't tried squarespace personally but I have no doubt it's a worthy alternative. Personally I discovered Webflow and must admit I've never looked back since. I've recommended it to a few others who are also really happy with it.

Anything about the web is not easy. A few years ago I was walking students through the steps of creating a S3 bucket so that they could stash web files and see them live...here's the web tutorial I created for them:


Note that I didn't go over things like, "What is S3", or "What is AWS"...or even web domain hosting, or even "What is HTML". It simply involved making a quickie HTML file and uploading it to S3 via the AWS web panel, and then visiting the URL...being able to put something on the web of their complete creation (rather than through a CMS) is pretty revelatory for newbies.

So where did people get stuck? Some people didn't have an Amazon account yet. Easy enough, they created one. But then one student had a hell of a time just getting into AWS. Hearing her describe her problems, I had no idea what she was talking about. Then I watched as she tried to log in...well, you know how Amazon, like most modern services, allow you to use email addresses as your username? That greatly simplifies things, as most of us would agree...but for some novices, they don't realize that logging in on `my.personal.account@gmail.com` on Amazon (nevermind AWS) is not the same as doing it for `my.personal.account@gmail.com` on _GMail_.

How does such a person survive on the modern Web, where emails are generally used as the user ID? I'm guessing they just have been blithely reusing GMail credentials for all their other accounts which they use their GMail address as their user ID.

This doesn't have much to directly do with the complexity of creating a site via a CMS, perhaps....except that if you're a veteran web developer, it's very very difficult to imagine what is confusing to a novice...We think that Wordpress is easy compared to say, Drupal...sure...but that's not the level of thinking that novices work at. For them, it's more, "Where do I write my program that makes the website?", and all of the fallacies and ambiguities that question entails.

That said...not sure why the author has to care about anything beyond how to set up things for Wordpress.org. If we're talking newbies here, let them use the vanilla Wordpress.org, and then let them worry about self-hosting later.

I had a similar experience volunteering for Rails Bridge a few months ago:


Once we got everything installed, which was a nightmare in itself ("no, Dave, you do not copy the quotes in"), we had to deal with actual "web" stuff.

Me: "Alright guys, refresh your browser to see your changes!"

Student 1: "What's the 'browser?'" Student 2: "How do I refresh?" Student 3: "Why can't I go to any websites?" (they were typing the URL in the command line)

I took for granted the technical environment I grew up in; most people don't even know how to use the software they use every day to browse Facebook. And I don't blame them, they don't teach this stuff in school.

Thanks for sharing your tutorial. It looks like it'll carry me through the hosting end of things, and corroborates what I'v heard elsewhere about S3 being a good way to go for static sites.

I think WordPress gets pushed so much is because most of the pushers are Marketing/Design firms that are heavy on the marketing and design and light on technical knowledge and programming. To these marketing firms, they "know" WordPress. It's their hammer. So everything that a [small] business needs that's remotely related to presenting information or collecting information digitally then WordPress is their nail. I ran into a "marketing" person/company that had setup a WordPress site for an organization. I was brought in to add some more advanced functionality and technical expertise. I wanted to make use of Cloudflare and asked this person to modify their name servers to use the ones assigned by Cloudflare. They went dark. I don't think they have a clue beyond getting WordPress installed via CPanel, installing themes, adding some plugins they tend to use, and editing some things here and there via WordPress admin. That's the other thing that drives me nuts about WordPress... they are a bazillion plugins and everybody has their favorites they use to do various things. Some use plugin x for caching, some use y. Some use visual editor n, others use m... etc. It's maddening.

Not to mention, those plugins are a potential security risk.


You can go straight to wordpress.com and click "Create Website". Or if you want to take a more complicated route and go self-hosted, go to Dreamhost and select the WordPress 1-click install.

It literally is that easy. To write an article containing "So it took you two weeks to finally get the famous five-minute install finished" is just stupid.

I don't care much for WordPress, but the one thing you can't deny about it is that it's easy to install.

Lets use the vocabulary proposed by Rich Hickey.

Wordpress is complex and is not simple. Wordpress is certainly easy if you have taken the time to learn Wordpress, but this understandably isn't the case for the honey bee entrepreneurs.

For some people it just comes down to expectations, everything today is supposed to be trivial since everyone seems to be launching websites and startups all over the place and becoming gazillionaires overnight. Out of the off-the-self software systems out there, WordPress is pretty easy to use for someone with the right experience. However, somehow we expect two ladies who want to sell honey online to be able to set up a WordPress site.

The thing with content management systems isn't that it makes it easy for just anyone to use it, it makes it really easy for experts to use it. I.e. I've built countless on WordPress sites for clients over the years because they want to be able to maintain it themselves, but when push comes to shove, they update their site every 6 or so months which means they have to relearn how thing works over and over again. They just ask me to update it for them, and because it's WordPress, it's super easy for me.

Wordpress is not easy for an amateur but that's missing the point. It has driven down the cost of website development. Cheap cookie cutter Wordpress sites by budget developers are good enough for very many people.

Most of us (particularly small business owners) pay someone to do their taxes right? If you took the time to learn the tax code, you could do your own. Same deal here. In the end I think it boils down to a matter of priorities.

> What’s a page vs a post?

Spot on. This confused the hell outta me when I was newbie. I think it would be a lot easier if its just using an "everything is just a web page with a URL" paradigm.

That would just move the confusion to: "how can I make some pages show in a time-based list and keep others fixed?". At some point you need to learn about static pages vs blog pages / posts, because /about_us and /company/blog behaves differently.

Pages define the structure of your site, posts define the content of your site.

But having said that, posts have their own templates that might make them look very similar to pages.

From the blog name I presumed it was affiliated with Matt Mullenweg. Not so, it's from another guy named Matt.

Matt Mullenweg's blog can be found at: ma.tt

There are a number of people on the Internet named Matt, many who do various things on wordpress even!

How dare he also be called 'Matt'..

For any future reference, Matt Mullenweg's site has the domain 'ma.tt'.

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