I am sure you wondered at some point, how many websites are there on the internet? Well, that depends on which part of the internet we are talking about. Assuming you are referring to our visible web, which is a fraction of the internet, now there are over 4.5 Billion websites according to world wide web size. 70% of those are not using any CMS (Content Mangement System). But still 27% of all sites on the internet running on WordPress. That’s 1.2 Billion websites, running on WordPress at this moment, or in other words, one of every 20 websites of the internet is running on WordPress. Crazy!! WordPress is so damn popular. But why is that? How WordPress managed to get this much popularity? And does that mean WordPress is the answer for all of your web solutions? Well, Let’s see.
WordPress, The Good
Well, we all love WordPress, don’t we? The statistical number above reflects that. WordPress is popular for reasons. And one of the main reasons is its user-friendliness. I mean, Think about a story of a small business owner who doesn’t have any coding skills. But he can set up his website for his business within 5 mins at ease with WordPress. That’s a wow factor! Another important reason is the availability of a wide range of plugins for it for almost anything you can think of for your site. Social sharing? No problem! Jetpack is built-in with WordPress. Email Newsletter, well, it’s also in JetPack. But think about the case, that small business guy wants to sell his products online. With no coding skills, he can do it obviously with WooCommerce. And yes, a lot more alternate of this plugin.
Now you want to manage your business internally, Well, There’s WP ERP where you can do almost everything virtually within WordPress as you can do in a physical office. And again, with no coding skill 🙂
We can see the same use case in a lot of other areas. There are a bunch of GREAT WordPress themes (calling those just themes is just underestimation) at themeforest.net where you can find almost any type of your needed solution as a WordPress theme format. Isn’t it great?!
Well, This list can go on and on. More time is passing, WordPress is becoming OS of the web, or maybe it already has.
WordPress, The Bad
Now we are looking to WordPress more closely. All things seem nice with WordPress so far. But think again, even tho it is more like now the OS of the web, the original goal was to build it for blogs. The blog engine is still the core part of WordPress. The current number of WordPress plugins at WordPress.org, while I am writing this post, is 49,627. So, About 50,000 plugins! What can be so wrong about it? Well, It’s not about the quantity, it’s about quality. From my experience, to find a particular solution at the WordPress plugin repository, I have to try at least 4-5 different plugins before I finally get a fair one. I know it’s an opensource effort, everyone is doing whatever they can do to contribute, but sometimes end-user can get frustrated about poorly written plugins, out of date plugins (confession, I have some already there, which I can not support actively anymore) and Freemium plugins.
Back to again point one, WordPress is primarily a blog engine. So anything you want to extend it according to your needs has to do in a certain way. From the development perspective, it can be so much pain to some extent to write a custom blog type and proper fields set up for it and also related template files for it in theme. Even tho WordPress has a rich API for that.
And again, back to that our little story of that businessman, He already is having a nice time, bringing his business online without coding knowledge, Just with WordPress and some of those 50,000 plugins. But as an online business requires many things, and you can find almost anything as plugin format, from a small redirection to another page, to ERP. Eventually, you will end up using a whole lot of plugins just to run a site (or business I might say). Dan Norris, the co-founder of WordPress website support service WP Curve, recommends 20 to be a good number. But, in real-life experience, most of the WordPress installation doesn’t follow this limit, which will lead us to the next point, the ugly part. Just for a quick visual, Some WordPress backend might look like this after using a bunch of plugins.
So you get the picture. It is super confusing when it gets like that.
About themes, ready themes are suitable for a kick-start. But as I mentioned earlier, having an extensive backend framework inside a theme is a trend now. It makes sense when you use a general-purpose WordPress theme, but then again, A fundamental question, Is your site is a general one? Of course not, no one ever uses all the features that come with a general-purpose theme. So where those unused features go? Those don’t go anywhere, those stay at your site and slow down things. Pretty wired, right?
And at last, when you realize, you are using too many plugins, themes, and resources, which is damaging your site’s performance, now you know you have to do something about it. Because according to google,
60% of mobile users expect mobile websites to load within 3 seconds. And on average, 75% of people will abandon a mobile website if it takes any longer than 5 seconds to load.
– Reference, Google Partners Help
WordPress, The Ugly
Well, it’s not entirely WordPress’s fault, but it’s partially, let me explain why.
Developers develop things, but they always don’t follow the best practices. But WordPress also doesn’t force them to use the best practices by changing its API in that way (as an example, wp_enqueue_scripts). Which ultimately leads us to a big fat and slow website. (UPDATE: WordPress community is much more strict now about code standard. that’s great news! )
30% of all internet users are mobile internet users. So you know to reach out to the majority, you need a mobile app (or at least a decent mobile-friendly interface). As I mentioned before, a responsive site doesn’t always mean a mobile-optimized website. Here I want to quote google partners help again,
According to the Mobile HTTP Archive, the average page served to mobile devices weighs almost 2MB in size and contains an unprecedented number of resources (such as images, videos, scripts, and other page components), as well as an equally unprecedented number of redirects.
you can remember that far back, actually seemed pretty big at the time. Today the average page is more than five times larger than that.
So once again, We need to carefully think about WordPress’s future in a time of mobile internet user and Single Page Application era.
WordPress does have REST API at the core, which is perhaps the most important thing of this generation of web. But what about that all other plugins we used to develop our online shop? Do they have REST endpoints as well? Does WordPress encourage/enforce them to have REST endpoint? Those are very critical questions that remain still. Overall, Is WordPress ready for the next generation of the web? I think it’s not yet, unfortunately 🙁
So, How do we know if WordPress is right for us? What are the best and ugliest parts of WordPress? Can WordPress be the answer to all types of websites? Is it suitable for an online shop? Ultimately, Is WordPress ready for the next generation of the web. Let’s discuss those vital questions in another post very soon.
We love WordPress, and we want to see it in better shape. For that, what are you thinking? Please share in comments and let’s have some brainstorming maybe?