Why I Love WordPress

My post Why I Hate WordPress 2.5, about the newly released version, touched a nerve. If I’m not mistaken, there were more people that disagreed with me than agreed, though most disagreers seemed to admit they were not power users. (Am I mistaken?). One person, whose very short comment was deleted, signed themselves “Fah Q”. (Pronounce it quietly, in case you’re at work.)

Obviously, some people took exception to my views, but I’d like to point out a few things: (1) The post wasn’t called “Why WordPress Sucks”; (2) I’m entitled to my opinion, and I did invite others to respond; (3) I still love WordPress. In fact, here are some of the reasons why I love WordPress, and will continue to love it over any other CMS/ blog platform:

  1. It’s open source.
  2. There is a lot of online documentation at the WordPress Codex.
  3. There is community support through the WordPress forums.
  4. There is additional peer support, thanks to all the bloggers who write tutorials. What other platform have you seen dozens of blogs spring up around? Maybe I haven’t looked for it, but in four calendar years, I haven’t stumbled across any slice of the blogosphere as dedicated to another platform.
  5. WP is flexible and its use goes beyond just blogs, as per 48 Ways to Use WordPress.
  6. You can implement advanced features, particularly via Custom Fields.
  7. There is a plugin architecture and lots of third-party free and paid plugins. You can learn a great deal about creating your own plugins by studying what’s out there. This is a fast-track method over spending months poring over documentation.
  8. There are literally hundreds (thousands?) of free themes. There are also many premium professional themes (some free), that make your site look like a magazine rather than a blog.
  9. There seem to be far more designers online who can build a custom WP theme for you.
  10. WP has true future-dating in the timestamp. (Though possibly not in V2.5, as I had difficulty with this version.)
  11. Overall, WP has an architecture that you can very easily contribute to, learn from, and even making a living from, all the while enjoying warm community support.

Sure, other platforms have many of these features/ factors, but collectively, WordPress seems to be the only one that has them all. That’s why I picked WP and spent the last three years learning how to customize installations, and writing about some of my findings. (I’ve been posting numerous “WordPress Hacks” tips here at Performancing and will continue to do so. I’ll also be releasing some research-supporting WP themes.)

So do you use WordPress (self-hosted), and if so, what made you choose WP over other blog platforms? If you have a love for something other than WP, what is it, and why do you think your choice is better than WP?

13 thoughts on “Why I Love WordPress

  1. I too love WordPress. Mainly for the fact that it is open source and so well supported by a very helpful community. The availability of so many cool plugins and the simplicity of designing themes are also features that I particularly like. I’m not experienced with Drupal – but have used Joomla for a few sites, and Zen Cart for a few shops. WordPress tops the list for usability and easy learning curve.

  2. Marcel: I’m looking forward to your Drupal Themes site. I think Ryan would be as well. Do remember to announce on the Forums here when it’s ready.

  3. WP’s popularity makes it a nice candidate for ad plugins. But Drupal is creeping up. Reminds me that I need to complete the launch my Drupal Themes website. I’m going to research those custom form fields. I need to know their stress limit.

  4. Raul:

    (2) I can’t honestly remember. I know that the Drupal database access simply didn’t work on GoDaddy back when I tried. I’ve since put all my new sites on a different host, who seem to support a lot of options. GoDaddy has also upgraded, but I haven’t tried Drupal since my initial encounter. It’s purely a time issue for me.

    (3) I think that’s just my interepretation. I watched various Sitepoint/ DigitalPoint auctions and it appeared that Drupal-based sites received less attention. However, that’s by no means a scientific observation.

    (4) Not always. Some ad networks use plugins. For example, I spent $2000 buy a small network of sites from a friend, only to find that the ad network I’d intended to use on those sites didn’t support Typepad. I haven’t had time to port the network over to WordPress, so the sites have been lying dormant for a long time.

  5. Dave: Good point. WP is not as flexible as Drupal, but in terms of what I need and what it can do, it’s great.

  6. Raj, I agree that Drupal’s themes are lacking in quantity. But I don’t think they’re hard to customize. But as I said before, I’m biased, because I’ve been using Drupal for quite some time and so I know how to do it

    I don’t agree with points 2 and 3, though.

    I have used budget hosting since I can remember and I never had a problem with Drupal. What problems did you have with it? Perhaps I can help?

    As for selling Drupal sites, most of my clients (the cheap ones) don’t even know that their site is running on Drupal – they just want it to be there, online, for everyone to see

    Your fourth point got me a little worried. I thought that every ad network worked pretty much the same way: they give you a piece of HTML and/or JavaScript code and you just put it in your site, wherever you want the ads to appear. If that’s not the case, then the project I mentioned on my previous comment may face a serious problem down the road… Let’s hope that’s not the case

  7. However, I’ve also learned my lesson in the past about being an “early adopter”. Mind you, early adoption is what I WANT to do, but it usually takes a while after release for a product to have the more annoying bugs shaken out. And sure enough, there are several bloggers in my niche that have upgraded and had problems.

    Therefore, I haven’t upgraded yet.

    I will…just not quite yet.

    As to “Why WP?”…well, several reasons:

    1. Its wide array of plugins and addons.
    2. The simplicity of setup and usage.
    3. The good list of features (while not as flexible as Drupal, it’s just fine for me).

    I started my first-ever blog on the Blogger platform, which is fine…but once I made the switch to self-hosted WP, I wondered what had taken me so long.

  8. Raul: I agree. As a former programmer, I like Drupal a great deal for its flexibility and extensibility. It was actually my first choice, before WP. But I ran into a few problems, though:

    (1) A minimum of themes, and a near headache to customize. (At least, when I first tried it out around early 2006, when I didn’t know a lot about it.)

    (2) A database access setup that some budget hosts do not support.

    That last point was a show stopper for me, originally. #1 is still an issue, I believe. What IS fantastic about Drupal is it’s out-of-the-box support of communities. For example, this site, Performancing.com, is running on Drupal, and all the community features would be very difficult to reproduce in WP.

    Functionally, Drupal is fantastic. But there are some other issues:

    (3)When I first looked at Drupal (late 2005, I think), I was of the mind to build quality sites and sell them. Drupal sites are very hard to sell. (But it’s not like I sold a lot of WP sites, either.)

    (4)Many ad networks do not support the Drupal platform.

    Obviously, it depends on your intent and needs. I wanted to run Drupal, but wanted the other benefits of WordPress.

  9. I have tried WP on several occasions and although I do agree that it is a very simple (as in “easy to use”) platform, I feel the need to use something different, something more powerful, something with a more concise underlying architecture, something more flexible without requiring me to change core files and stuff like that.

    I have also been using Drupal a lot, although I discovered WP before discovering Drupal, if I recall correctly.

    I know they serve different purposes: while Drupal is intended as a full blown and extensible CMS, WordPress is specifically targeted at blogging.

    But I still feel that there are some things that Drupal does better than WP and although I have more work with Drupal to do some stuff that WP does right out of the box (or at least that are easier to get it to do), at the end of the day I still feel better to have the flexibility to do what I want more easily – or at least that I, personally, find easier. But I may be biased, since I used Drupal to build a lot of websites for some of my clients.

    I even started an experiment, recently: to start a blog (the one in my “Homepage” field here in the comment) about making money online, using Drupal. In it, I intend to write about the experience of using Drupal as a “serious” blogging platform, the problems I run into, how I solve them, etc. It’s only in Portuguese only, for now but I hope to find the time to translate it to english.

    Finally, please note that I’m not saying Drupal is better than WordPress. As I said above, they were built for different purposes and each excel in its own points.

  10. I love WordPress as it allows for major template tweaking! While I’m certainly not a code jockey, I can get by with php duct-tape and create sites that look rather good. Couldn’t do that solely by my own skills.



  11. Just this morning, I uninstalled WP 2.5 as the platform of choice for a new blog. Aside from the habit that 2.5 has of dumping me to the login prompt while I’m editing a template – it’s not too bad. What frustrates me with WordPress is the wide range of code quality of the themes. Honestly, someone really needs to set up a repository of thoroughly tested, minutely commented, guaranteed-to-work themes. I just spent many hours, over two days, trying to do simple customizations to a theme whose name I will not mention here, only to find that it contained fatal bugs. The lack of documentation for nearly all themes is even more frustrating. I have basic (X)HTML/CSS skills, yet I continually find that WordPress templates are nearly impossible to decipher, even with help from the excellent FireFox Web Developer plugin. Dear WP theme developer, if you expect me to use your template, then please document your CSS styles. How much trouble would it be to place a simple comment in the page template, telling me which code controls the text in the body of a post? With standard CSS website templates, it’s a no-brainer, but with WordPress it’s always a perilous journey from which I emerge with less hair. No one does it the same – with each new template, you face a new puzzle when it comes to simple customization. For new bloggers and those who don’t know basic HTML/CSS/PHP, WordPress is the worst possible choice. For them, a far better option is TypePad. Call it old, no longer fashionable, etc. – but for a newcomer it is slick, slick, slick – and the support alone is worth the $8.95/month for the customizable templates.

  12. I finally took the plunge and upgrade all my blogs to the new WP 2.5 and I love it. I was only going to upgrade one of them but once I started using it I couldn’t go back.

    Nice post, there are so many things that make WP a great blogging platform, you hit many of them.

  13. I understood your grievances with the new version of WP. Personally, I haven’t yet updated because of lack of time on my part- and I’m a teeny bit nervous about some compatibility issues.

    I am a power user. I create my own templates, bend the WP code to do my bidding and on some sites use many, many plugins (which I tend to further modify once I get my hands on them).

    I love WordPress, and will always love it despite any kinks and misfirings from their end. WordPress has everything I need to make any type of site I (or a client) want, whereas other platforms don’t – or they do, but it’s so complicated it isn’t worth it. And while Movable Type is a close second in my heart to WP, I think the WP interface and built in options far surpass it.

    Not to mention the kickass WP community and continuing development for everyone to look forward too.

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