Why is WordPress so difficult? This article Vee explores alternative web builders and why you should not use WordPress.
Do you find WordPress difficult?
If you’re a small business owner fed up of how complex WordPress has become and just want a website that is simple for you to use, then this is for you.
If you’re a web developer reading this, then look away, as you won’t like what you hear. However, you may want to read on as I predict a growing trend in this direction and it’s good to know so you can take advantage early on.
Watch the video.
Is there an alternative to WordPress?
What are those alternatives? Before we dive into alternatives today, it’s useful to look at why WordPress became popular and how it evolved.
How web design was back then…
Rewind back quite a few years to the early to mid 1990’s when the internet was in its infancy (we had dial up – remember that?).
Up to that point, a website designer would code your website on their computer, and then when it was done, they would test and check it behaved and looked right.
Once they were satisfied, they would make it live by uploading the amended files to the server where anyone could visit and see it.
If you wanted to make any changes, no matter how small the only person who could so this was the original developer.
This was because the original files were on their computer, you couldn’t just go in remotely to the server and change those files. It was not an easy job to do because there could be more than 1 file affected.
Tied to your Web Developer
This meant you were beholden to your web developer, which led to frustration on both sides.
If you wanted any changes or new content added, for instance an event you were promoting, the web developer had to make those changes, get it approved, corrected, approved again, then uploaded, so that by the time it was made live, the event had already passed!
In addition, most web developers aren’t really interested in making minor amends and tweaks – they were little jobs so they tried to fit them in between the larger more lucrative build projects.
Which often meant that the little tweaks and amends took forever to be done.
Frustrating for the customer and not so rewarding for the web developer.
WordPress The Best Option
WordPress came into being around 2003. It was 2005 when I first started working with WordPress.
WordPress revolutionised how websites were built and kept updated.
It’s cloud based which means you can build and edit your site from anywhere as long as you had a login.
You weren’t dependent on your website designer anymore.
Anyone with a login could amend that website or add more pages, add events, whatever needed doing.
At first I remember website designers and developers being up in arms about it and claimed that WordPress was not a ‘proper’ website.
To be fair, in those early days, WordPress was a blogging platform. But there were people, like me, bending it and making it work like a website.
That’s what my coaching clients back then wanted – a website that they could quickly throw up a page for their online programs or offers.
WordPress the Web Designer’s CRM Tool of Choice
Fast forward a few more years, WordPress has been developed and evolved and is now the industry standard.
Indeed, you’ll hear most web people and business owners saying that if it’s not WordPress, then don’t touch it.
Is WordPress Still the Best Option
But here’s the thing. With all these fantastic improvements and developments, WordPress has become a lot more complex and complicated.
There’s thousands and thousands of themes to choose from.
Some are free and many are paid for. The free themes offer paid upgrades to get more customisation and functionality. Some have annual fees and some are one-time payments.
These can be tricky decisions and often we don’t know what the implications are until it’s too late.
With free and one-time payment themes you need to consider whether the developer will continue to invest in keeping it up to date and improving it.
If you can think it, there’s probably already a plugin for it
Then there’s hundreds of plugins that give added functionality not provided for in the theme. For example WooCommerce is a plugin that gives you the facility to easily sell products online.
There’s literally all sorts. If you can think it, then there is a plugin for it.
However, all these different plugins and themes are made by different organisations.
As a result these plugins and themes don’t always ‘talk’ nicely to one another, which results in incompatibility issues resulting in your website slowing down or at worst breaking completely.
And who do you go to, to fix that? You can end up being passed from pillar to post.
The plugin developer will blame other plugins or themes for the clash/incompatibility. The theme will blame the website host. The website host will blame the theme and plugin developers. And you end up going around in circles, nobody taking responsibility for fixing that issue.
A lot of WordPress users are just ordinary, non-technical people and unless you are a developer who understands how to troubleshoot (and many web designers aren’t), you’re literally up the creek without a paddle.
That’s the issue I see among many small business owners struggling with their WordPress sites.
WordPress really has become quite complex and complicated.
I teach people how to build a WordPress site and I make it as simple as possible but nevertheless, it’s becoming more and more complex and challenging.
Is there an alternative to WordPress?
It shouldn’t be so complicated or challenging!
Facebook, Etsy, Instagram and similar prove it’s possible that you can just quickly post a picture and text.
You don’t have to worry about how the platform works.
You just work within the confines of what they allow, safe in the knowledge it’ll be presented in a format that works well whether you’re on mobile or desktop.
Why can’t a website be that easy as well?
Well, I’ve got good news. There are web building tools now that are that simple to use.
In the past I (and web developers) discouraged people from using the likes of Wix and Squarespace.
They have varying price levels. Whilst the lower entry tiers seem very competitively priced, you soon get frustrated with the limitations of the entry level tier.
You have to upgrade to get more functionality like adding more pages, images, video, sell products etc.
Which means you end up paying quite a high monthly fee.
So high that it actually isn’t cost effective when you consider the long term annual cost v/s owning a WordPress site where there are no limitations.
Constant Contact Web Builder Tool
Constant Contact have entered into the web building affray and recently launched their web building tool as their entry level product.
Constant Contact has been around for years and provide email marketing.
They’ve decided to enter into the web building market since having a website is so integral to email marketing, so it just made sense to have it all in one place.
Is Constant Contact’s web builder any good?
It is possible that Constant Contact could be as good as WordPress and even replace the need for WordPress?
What kind of businesses might it be suitable for and can it withstand growth?
I’ve now built a few websites using Constant Contact’s web builder tool, and I’ve actually been quite impressed.
More than I thought I would. It actually is really simple to create a website with Constant Contact’s web builder tool.
In fact, if you’re a small business who just needs a simple website that sells your products, allows you to blog, collect emails and payment, then Constant Contact could well be ideal for you.
What’s the difference between WordPress and Constant Contact
The main differences are that you don’t have to worry about the installation of any files, themes, plugins.
You pay one monthly fee.
You get support from one place and they continually update and keep the site secure.
Here’s the difference in more detail:
How to create a WordPress Site
First you install the WordPress files onto your host’s server.
Nowadays, that’s a simple one-click install.
WordPress is a bit like the frame of your house.
It is a bit like building a DIY house. The walls and roof are delivered pre-fabricated and come complete with electrics and plumbing.
Next you choose (from thousands) and install a theme. The theme which controls the colour scheme and fonts. You may have a choice of layouts that fit within the scheme or it may be quite rigid.
Thinking of the house analogy, it’s like painting your walls and woodwork, laying carpets and making sure all the rooms have a matching, congruent style.
Then you install plugins to give you extra functionality and security.
So, for example, you might add WooCommerce to sell products online and/or install extra security plugins.
That’s a bit like installing extra fences and gates with padlocks and security cameras on your house to make sure any weak spots are plugged up..
Then once you’ve done that, you are finally ready to add content and images.
And let’s not forget the maintenance!
WordPress and all the developers making the themes and plugins are constantly updating and improving their themes and plugins.
WordPress website owners are responsible for making sure all the WordPress files, themes and plugins are kept updated and that you carry out regular back ups.
You’re also responsible for making sure the site is secure and prevent hacking.
The easy and modern way to create a website
With Constant Contact (and web builder tools like Wix and Squarespace) you don’t have anything to install.
It’s all there ready to use, just like setting up a Facebook account.
You create an account and chose your colour palette, add your logo and boom; you can start adding content, images and your products.
If we go back to the house analogy, it’s a bit like moving into a condominium building where you pick an apartment.
You have choice over the colour schemes of your walls so that it matches your branding.
All the functionality is there, ready to use as you need it.
There’s a rooftop garden; swimming pool in the basement; shops in the lower levels; all the latest luxury gadgets, Smart TV, WIFI, and fully equipped kitchen with all the latest models that you could ever want. It’s just there ready for you to use.
Anything goes wrong, you call maintenance, and they take care of it.
When any gadgets or building features are improved or updated, you get it, automatically.
You just have to move your stuff in, hang your pictures on the wall, and put your clothes in the wardrobe.
And that’s what Constant Contact’s web builder tool is like. You just choose your colours, upload your logo and you’re set and ready to upload your content.
Focus on the Content
Which means you can focus on the content.
That’s how it should be.
No need to worrying about tech working and plugins conflicting with one another and keeping the site up to date.
Constant Contact take care of all the tech and updates so you don’t have to.
If you have your content ready, you could have a website up and running literally in a day.
Delegates in my Super Easy Website Programme have been creating super looking professional websites and they have no previous web design or coding experience.
What does Constant Contact’s Web Builder Cost?
You might expect it to be quite costly – to have all that functionality could quite easily cost £3-10k in a WordPress equivalent.
Constant Contact is just £10 (plus VAT) per month. That is cheaper than some hosting companies charge where all you get is the space for your website. No platform, themes or plugins. Just the land where your website is going to live.
Any downsides to using Constant Contact for building websites?
Some may find the layouts a bit restrictive. But consider this. Those restrictions are there to keep you safe from designing something that gives your users a bad experience.
Constant Contact have designed them so that you can keep within the constraints of what makes good website design practice for both mobile and desktop.
That means you can’t go wrong.
With WordPress, it’s free reign, you can design anything you like, but you could end up designing something that’s a horrible experience for your users or looks terrible on mobile.
And that’s no good for your business or Google rankings either.
So my opinion is that the layout restrictions are a good thing. It’s up to you to fit your content around what the layout allows you to do.
Is there an alternative to WordPress?
The answer is yes there is.
Constant Contact provides a really easy way to build a website that is full of functionality without the stress and complicatedness of WordPress.
Watch out for a wave of similar ready-made platforms.
There’s a lot of money being poured into the development of these platforms.
And for good reason too. Website building should be accessible to anyone without having to be technical.
Yes, web developers will resist, like they did when WordPress first came on the scene.
But already, there is a growing movement of web designers specialising in creating Constant Contact, Wix and/or Squarespace sites.
If you want some help creating your business website, then you’re in luck. You can join my Super Easy Website programme where I teach small business owners how to build website and what to put in it so that it attracts and converts dream clients.