I’ve never made any attempt to hide it, I have an ongoing love affair with WordPress. The website management system flat-out beats all other blogging and even web development platforms I’ve worked with… when used correctly. Often times, WordPress I’ve found WordPress used poorly. Handy features go unused, the website looks boring, and issues plague the website. These are some of the most common issues I’ve personally encountered in my adventures on the internet.
It’s obvious that a pre-made theme is used.
I’ll be the first to preach that it’s pointless to start from scratch if you don’t need to. Sometimes you or your client just need a website finished that “gets the job done.” There are some people that can usually name a WordPress template just be looking at it, so it’s normal for myself and other web developers to spot purchased designs. It becomes a greater issue when regular, non-seasoned visitors realize that your site looks just like the other generic website they were looking at.
Purchased themes aren’t bad, even this website is based on one. What’s terrible is when nobody puts any effort in to customizing the theme to the look and feel of your brand. No premium (or free) theme will fit your website perfectly. Many premium themes offer built-in color changing options, and some get even more advance while still offering an easy-to-use interface. There’s no excuses to have your theme look completely generic.
Don’t even get me started on professional websites that are still using the bundled “Twenty Eleven” theme.
The posts & pages are just plain.
I want to read blog posts or articles, not essays. When your page is formatted the same way a high school term paper would look, it gets boring. Headlines, Bold, Italics, Pictures, Colors, Tables, Blockquotes, Pull-quotes… all of these and more can and should be used on every post or page you do. Not only does it looks many times better, but it allows for much easier readability.
For example, just take a look at this post, and how it could look with no formatting.
WordPress is being used for everything.
WordPress offers a simple and clean interface to edit pages. There are many things it can do, from webcomics to social networks, it’s much more than just blogging software. But sometimes it’s still just not enough. Other times it can be too much.
Yes, you CAN set up WordPress for your one-page landing website, but why? Opening up an HTML editor and Photoshop could be quicker, especially if you’re not looking to expand on the website any time in the near future. Yes, you CAN find a way to make WordPress work as an e-classifieds website, but why should you? It’s comparable to using a newspaper as a hat – it gets the job done, but requires more work and probably doesn’t provide the same quality. Dry out y0ur hair and realize that WordPress may not always be the best option for what you want.
You should weigh several content management options before deciding on WordPress. A good web developer should be comfortable using a number of systems, a better developer won’t be afraid of being uncomfortable.
No social media integration.
I’ve been to many a blog that made me think “I like this article, I’ll post it to Twitter,” only to realize there was no convenient Tweet button. Most agree that sharing goes up once buttons are introduced, and it makes things much easier for the reader. However…
Too much social media integration.
…there’s a limit. Providing a button for the top two is great… even introducing Google+ and others in to the mix can be a good idea. But how necessary is StumbleUpon? Reddit? Delicious? Fark? Digg? AOL? MySpace? Chances are these buttons will never be used while taking up valuable space and looking tacky on any web page. Do some testing and look at what sharing buttons are right for your website.
No tracking Or analytics.
Many times I’ve had to work with sites that have absolutely no sort of analytics set up. The demographics of your users and where they’re going are important pieces of information and missing out on those can break you. StatPress only takes a few minutes to set up, and Google Analytics doesn’t take much more effort. Install and pay attention to these. Knowing where your visitors are going can be crucial for business.
Overall, WordPress doesn’t kill websites. People kill websites. I love WordPress, but it’s become clear that once a product hits the masses, everyone becomes an expert and starts to think they can create a good product with it. To create a truly good quality website, it means so much more than installing WordPress, finding a theme, and downloading a plugin or two. The site should be built around you. You shouldn’t build around the website.