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With the rise in popularity of easy builder platforms like Squarespace, many misconceptions have been spread around regarding self hosted WordPress and the usability for beginners. I must admit, before I became accustomed to the platform, I believed a majority of these WordPress myths to be true myself.
After starting in the platform as a beginner and progressing to a specialized designer, I can tell you, WordPress is no where near as daunting as everyone makes it out to be. (My clients will tell you the same as well!) With this post I hope to put your mind at ease by debunking some of the biggest and most common myths about the platform. Let’s jump in and get excited, a whole new world of web design possibilities await!
(It’s important to note that when I say “WordPress” I mean a self hosted website or WordPress.org not WordPress.com. You can read about the differences between the two and learn more about everything you need to set up your self hosted website through my last post here.)
Debunking the 8 Biggest WordPress Myths on the Internet
Myth #1: “WordPress is just for blogs.”
It’s been a while since I’ve heard someone mention this, but I’ve heard this myth being spread around nonetheless. WordPress was originally created as a blogging platform (WordPress.com still seems to work this way,) but WordPress.org has grown a great amount and has surpassed just a blogging software. WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS) which business owners use to create some pretty amazing websites that far exceed the description of just a blog.
Myth #2: “WordPress websites & themes look outdated.”
There are definitely a fair share of WordPress websites that are visually outdated, but this has nothing to do with the software itself. The visual aspects of a website are based upon the theme a user chooses and if it is kept updated or not. WordPress is constantly being updated, and as a result, new and amazing themes / tools are becoming available. If a website is looking dated, the owner isn’t taking advantage of the amazing tools available to endlessly customize. For example, I utilize the Divi Theme which keeps all my websites looking clean, modern, and up to date.
Myth #3: “You need to know how to code to use WordPress.”
This is probably the biggest misconception that I see in regards to a self hosted WordPress website. Yes, knowing CSS & HTML definitely do help you to customize your site further, but are not a necessity. When I was up-leveling my business a few years ago, I decided to move from Squarespace to WordPress. I was pretty nervous as I had heard from many that you need to know how to code to build a website. When I actually started designing, I saw that this was indeed untrue. Coding knowledge is not required at all to design a website in WordPress and it can actually be pretty easy with the right theme. Going with a theme that has an easy drag and drop builder like Divi, will remove any confusion and frustration during the design process (and it even makes building feel exactly like Squarespace!) If you ever desired a feature that requires custom coding, the Divi Theme support will usually help you out and provide the CSS to implement it for you.
Myth #4: “WordPress is difficult to manage and not worth the time.”
I often hear from users who haven’t tried WordPress (and even some who have moved away) that it’s too confusing and time consuming to manage. I have to wonder if these people are serious business owners as it honestly takes me an hour a month to keep my website up to date and secure. It’s true that you have to take a little bit more time to care for your website versus some of the “all in one” web building platforms. But in all seriousness, this is a tool for your business. If you can’t invest the short amount of time to create a backup and update your plugins + theme with the click of a few buttons, you are missing out on a world of options to build a professional website.
Myth #5: “WordPress isn’t secure.”
We have all heard the statements that WordPress websites get hacked all of the time and are not secure. As an open-source software, it definitely allows for more areas where hackers can get into your site. But, don’t be fooled. Any website has the potential to be hacked (yes, even platforms like Squarespace & Wix.) Preventing hackers getting into your website has to do with many different variables and taking the proper steps during the build process will help safeguard you against attacks. As a WordPress web designer who has managed a multitude of websites over 4+ years, I can tell you I’ve never seen an instance of a website being successfully hacked.
Some steps you can take to keep your website secure are:
• Signing up with a host who is known for good security. (I use Siteground for all of my client builds and my own 5 websites!)
• Integrating security scanners like WordFence to block those who are looking to harm your website.
• Creating regular backups in the case that someone gets into your website.
Myth #6: “WordPress doesn’t offer any kind of web support.”
While WordPress.org doesn’t offer any chat support, they do offer a large open forum where you can ask any questions from how to properly install WordPress to questions about development. Helpful WordPress users answer the questions themselves, rather than the “official” WordPress developers as this is an open-source software. However, any issues that occur within a WordPress website usually have something to do with the host, the theme, or the plugins installed rather than the WordPress software itself. You will likely never have to turn to the WordPress forum for answers as your host / theme / plugin support will provide answers and solutions to the issues you are seeing. Choosing quality services and tools to work with will help in regards to the kind of support you will receive.
Myth #7: “Good WordPress hosting is too expensive.”
It is true that more premium hosting can get rather pricey, but if you’re looking to build a website with less than 10,000 unique visitors a month (which many small business owner websites fall under) you can definitely find low cost, but still high quality hosting to fit your needs. Again, Siteground is the #1 host that I recommend to all of my clients as they are very low cost (60% off your first year!) They also offer incredible customer service, wonderful website uptime, fast speeds, great security, free SSL certificates, free domain email, and so much more! I went from paying $500+ a year for 2 Squarespace websites to $200 a year for 5 websites with many more features!
Myth #8: “You need to hire a web designer to make your WordPress website look good.”
Last, but not least, is the myth that you need to hire / be a designer to build a beautiful website in WordPress. With the endless amount of themes that you can customize to your business’ needs, you most likely do not need a designer to create your website. Some instances would of course require a web designer; if you are looking to fully launch your website within the next few months (and don’t have time to play around in the backend,) if you’re looking to custom code features into your website’s design, or if you really aren’t confident in your DIY design skills.
Like all platforms, it will take some time to learn the ins-and-outs to build a beautiful website, but it is not impossible. I’ve seen plenty of websites created by beginners who rock their design. Just make sure you create a design plan and have an awesome theme like Divi to make building custom websites easier on you!
As a DIYer who had absolutely no coding knowledge, switching to WordPress was the best decision I ever made for my business! I immediately fell in love with the platform, regardless of the misconceptions spread around. I enjoyed building self hosted websites so much so that I eventually became a web designer just a few years later! As such, I continue to promote using this platform over any others! You can read more about why in my post, 7 Reasons Why You Should Choose WordPress Over Squarespace (& Wix!)
I hope I’ve put your mind at ease and helped you see how wonderful a platform WordPress is and give you the confidence to undoubtably use and create a professional website for your business. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed with the results!
Are there any concerns that I didn’t address in the WordPress misconceptions above? Feel free to ask me about any other issues you’re worried about in the comments below and I’ll be happy to answer them!