I am sure you wondered at some point, how many websites are there in the internet? That depends which part of internet you are referring to. Assuming you are referring 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 based on any kind of CMS, But still 27% of all websites on internet running on WordPress. That’s 1.2 Billions websites, running on WordPress at this moment, or in other words, one of every 20 websites of 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, Lets see…

WordPress, The Good

Well, we all love WordPress, don’t we? The statistical number above reflects that clearly. WordPress is popular for reasons. And one of the main reason is its user friendliness. I mean, Think about a story of a small business owner who doesn’t know any sort of coding. But he can set up his website for his business within 5 mins in ease with WordPress. That’s a wow factor! Another important reason is availability of wide range of plugins for it for almost anything you can think of for your site. Social sharing? no problem! Jetpack is build 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 skill, 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 🙂

The story can be extended to other areas, There are bunch of GREAT WordPress theme (if I call those just theme, It would be underestimated) 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 web, or may be it already has.

WordPress, The Bad

Now we are looking to WordPress more closely. All things seems nice with WordPress, but think again, even tho its more like now the OS of web, but it was built for Blogs. It is still focused on Blog. 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 bad about it? Well, It’s not about the quantity, it’s about quality. From my experience, to find a particular solution at WordPress plugin repository, I have to try at least 4-5 different plugins before I finally get a fair one. I know it’s 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 Freemeum plugins.

Back to again point one, WordPress is primarily a blog engine. So anything you want to extend it according to your need, need to done in blog type way, with writing plugins. In development perspective, it can be so much pain at some extent to write a custom blog type and proper fields set up for it and also proper 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 business man, He already is having nice time, bringing his business online without coding knowledge, Just with WordPress and some of those 50,000 plugins. But as a 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, co-founder of WordPress website support service WP Curve, recommends 20 to be a good number. But, in real life experience, most of 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…

Creepy and super confusing back end!

So you get the picture, its super confusing when it gets like that.

About themes, ready themes are good for kick-start, but as I mentioned earlier, having an extensive backend framework at theme is a trend now. It make sense when you use a general purpose WordPress theme, but then again, A very important question, Is you site is a general one? Of course not, no one ever use all the features comes with a general purpose theme. So where those unused feature go? Those don’t go anywhere, those stays at your site and slow down things. Pretty wired right?

And at last, when you realize, you are using too much of plugins, themes and resource, 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

So, what is the first approach so increase performance, Caching PLUGINS! it’s again more and more plugins!
Ah… Plugin, How angelic evil you are!!

WordPress, The Ugly

As of now, we are pretty much messed up trying to build our online business with plugins, general purpose themes. We are messed up with performance of the site. If you look around a bit how web technologies are movies, you will notice its going to Mobile First approach where your contents are rendered by API, and themes are built on fly at client side (I am taking about JavaScript World, React.js, Angular.js era). Big question is, Where is WordPress’s place on that? Frankly, we don’t see much approach (except very few) to work on this issue. Responsive Theme’s doesn’t mean its mobile optimized. Also, to do it responsive and fancy, developer use a lot of assets (css, JS, images) without regulating. Means, even tho you are not using a fancy image gallery at a page (which you are may be using for homepage), The large js and css files for that gallery is still loading at that page. WHAT?! why is that extra load. and that’s just one example, in real life, a whole bunch of css, js, image loads all at once even tho those are needed at that time.
well, it’s not entirely WordPress’s fault but it’s partially, let me explain why.

Developer develop things, but they always don’t follow the best practices. But WordPress also don’t enforce them to use the best practices by changing its API in that way (as example, wp_enqueue_scripts). Which ultimately lead us to a bulky fat and slow website.

30% of all internet users are mobile internet users. So you know to reach out max, you need mobile app (or at lest a decent mobile friendly interface), and as I mentioned before, responsive site doesn’t always mean mobile optimized site, 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.

In 2011, the average page served to mobile was just 390 KB, which, if 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 time of mobile internet user and Single Page Application era.

WordPress do have REST API at core, which is perhaps 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 encourages/enforces them to have REST endpoint? Those are very critical questions which are yet to answer clearly. Overall, Is WordPress ready for next generation of web? I think, it’s not yet 🙁

So, How do you I know if WordPress is right for me? What are the best and ugliest parts of WordPress. Can WordPress be the answer of all types of websites. Is it good for an online shop? Ultimately, Is WordPress ready for next generation of web, Lets discuss about those vital questions in another post very soon.

Your thoughts?

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 may be?