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Is WordPress really easy?

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Posted 11th September 2011 at 02:46 PM by Istvan Horvath

In my latest report about WP Mistakes I have a whole section about this. However, it is not the first time I have written about the misconception around the "easiness" of WordPress.

Make no mistake: it is very easy to install, and I am talking about the manual installation because I hate all the automatic ways (like Fantastico). For the simple reason that I am not in control...

It is similarly easy to install a new, existing theme or to add a plugin for a specific feature to your blog. Since the advent of the sidebar widgets, it is also easy to modify content in your sidebar.

Of course, it's easy to write and publish posts... unless you copy from your stupid word processor and paste all the garbage code into your posts.

And the list stops here. Nothing beyond this is easy.

If you are a code illiterate and cannot tell HTML from CSS or PHP - making further customization to your layout (design) is not easy.

If you want to make your own theme but do't have an idea how the WP theme system works - it is not easy.

If you want to add something to your template files but you are not able to find line #34 in the code - it is not easy.

If you need a sophisticated content structure, involving categories, Pages, different post types and things like that but you don't understand the internal work of WP - it is not easy.

If you want to "force" WordPress to do things it was not meant to do - it is not easy. An advice related to this: instead of fighting against WP and getting frustrated, try to understand how it works and use its features in your advantage!

Before discovering this forum I used to make custom WP sites for clients, for a living. I mention this because I want you to understand I am talking based on experience: sometimes they were asking to do things in/with their wordpress that most reasonable WP users wouldn't even think of. If it made sense, I added functions, outsourced plugins, re-coded the theme etc. However, if the request didn't make sense or it was easier to achieve with a specialized script - I sent them away.

A last note to those that will want to comment arguing that it's easy: if you were right, there wouldn't be hundreds (thousands?) of post in this forum asking for elementary customization help... Don't you think?
Posted in WP myths
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Comments

  1. New Comment
    eibhlin's Avatar
    I'm enthusiastic about WP and use it on almost all of my websites. However, I'm nodding in agreement about the need to understand HTML -- at a minimum -- if you have specific needs not met by a "plain vanilla" WP installation.

    When working with clients, I'm regularly reminded of how unintuitive WP can be. In addition, finding a specific article at a website can be a headache; it's usually imperative to use the Search form, but when it brings up 50 entries -- in groups of 5 or so -- it's annoying.

    That said, WP is still one of the best website options available, and the price (free) makes it the first choice for most users.

    Though it can be countered, "You get what you pay for," WP is still my first choice when launching a new site. I'm hoping developers add/create more ways to use WP for true content management.
    permalink
    Posted 12th September 2011 at 06:42 AM by eibhlin eibhlin is offline
  2. New Comment
    Istvan Horvath's Avatar
    I agree, WP can be "unintuitive" for first time users... I think this is due to its history: as it evolved from a relatively simple blogging tool (in itself as a fork from another blog script) to the complicated almost CMS script of today, new features and tools have been added... but they also tried to keep the backward compatibility.

    As for the search: are we talking about the backend or the frontend? On the frontend the number of posts shown in the search results is exactly the same as the number of posts set to be shown on your main page (Settings > Reading).
    Regardless, the search function is not WP's forte...
    permalink
    Posted 12th September 2011 at 07:36 AM by Istvan Horvath Istvan Horvath is offline
  3. New Comment
    cash365's Avatar
    thank you for your insights!

    in your first post you said you would be writing about different (mis)conceptions people have about wp. i'm pretty much interested in knowing your answer to:

    search engines "love" WordPress - myth or not, because it is a so widely spread assumption.

    i am no expert in this field, but following mere common sense would think that search engines do love all blogs (if they are regularly updated) just for the fresh content...
    permalink
    Posted 27th March 2012 at 11:58 AM by cash365 cash365 is offline
  4. New Comment
    Istvan Horvath's Avatar
    The SE love is a myth, of course. Your conclusion was right on!

    The main reason for the "love" is the fresh content... Now, we have to admit that blogging scripts also help to propagate that content (with the built-in tools like RSS and pinging) but such features are present in any decent blogging tool.
    permalink
    Posted 27th March 2012 at 01:59 PM by Istvan Horvath Istvan Horvath is offline
  5. New Comment
    RobinInTexas's Avatar
    I prefer to use Fantastico when it's available simply because it is a quick and easy several clicks only way to set up the DB and add the salts to the wp-config file.

    That said, I'm not sure what control you might be giving up.
    permalink
    Posted 5th May 2013 at 08:58 AM by RobinInTexas RobinInTexas is offline
  6. New Comment
    I agree with how bad some one click installs are. One of the worst is SimpleScripts, which is much worse than Fantastico. It installs you as "admin" user (no choice) which is a security nightmare (to change it, go to "Users" ment, create another administration account with a different username, log out, log in with the new admin username and delete the "admin" account).

    SimpleScripts also does not give you a chance to choose your MySQL database name and uses a sequence: username_wor1, _wor2, _wor3 etc. - another security problem. Changing this is beyond most newbies.

    Yes, it is good to manual install, especially with some webhost that seems to ignore security issues. Also I stick with one or two themes for all of my sites as many themes have gotcha(s) that limit their compatibility and functionality. For example, I really like the free Weaver theme for combining simplicity with flexibility when you need to customize.
    permalink
    Posted 6th May 2013 at 04:20 AM by acuvic acuvic is offline
 


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