A few days ago Andrew Nacin started an informal poll on Twitter regarding the common assumptions or misconceptions you hear all the time about WordPress. This was the initial tweet:
What are some misconceptions or assumptions you hear about WordPress? (examples: it's just a blog, too many updates, doesn't scale, no API)
— Andrew Nacin (@nacin) November 11, 2014
and a couple of hundreds of tweets by (mostly) professionals in the WordPress community immediately followed up recounting their experience. In my opinion, most of these misconceptions are no longer true (some criticisms could have had some basis years ago, but not today). However, you may find it interesting to keep them in mind, specially when discussing with potential clients that seem reluctant to accept WordPress as a good platform for their new website; the more you know about their assumptions, the better you can tackle them!
I took the time to gather and analyze those tweets to see which the most cited reasons were. Here you have the results:
As you can see, the two top myths by far are security and “WordPress is just for blogs” (which includes variants like “it is not a real CMS“, “not good for ecommerce” and the like). This vision of WordPress as not being something for serious businesses is also the reason why some say it’s just for amateurs/freelancers/lazy programmers. Surprisingly, some also say that open source products (or in general free products) can’t be good. This tweet summarizes it very well:
@nacin It's insecure; or, my favorite, it's open source and therefore insecure, because anyone can find bugs…
— Peter Baylies (@pbaylies) November 11, 2014
A more surprising (to me) reason mentioned by several people is the bad quality of the WordPress code, specially linked to the fact that WordPress core has a strong commitment to backwards compatibility (and also to the fact that some people just hate PHP). Even if it’s true that this limits somehow the refactoring of some aspects of the code, I don’t think this has any effect on the end user. Some also linked this poor code quality to performance and scalability problems.
Last group of misconceptions mentioned a few times include WordPress.com and WordPress.org being the same thing and both part of Automattic (no matter how much we educate people, I think this confusion is going to last forever as long as the two URLs exist), and the feeling that to have a WordPress site running you need to install plenty of plugins (which then may compromise the security and performance of the site, since quality of plugins is not monitored by Automattic):
@nacin "I don't want my website to look like a WordPress site"
— Ryan Hellyer 💙🇺🇦💛 (@ryanhellyer) November 11, 2014
(so you know, make sure your next WordPress site looks like a Drupal one!).
Finally, some misconceptions mentioned only by one or two people. Among them we have complains about WordPress being updated too often, being fragile (i.e. those updates break a lot of sites), not being database driven (don’t ask me why) and being too complicated (really?). As you see, there is always somebody that will complain about anything you do!
Of course, remember that humans are contradictory by nature so it’s not a surprise that some other people cite exactly some of these reasons to justify why they DO want to switch to WordPress.
Maybe the problem was that when asked about WordPress, another very different thing comes to people’s minds 🙂 :
And to end up, one misconception I wouldn’t mind to be true 🙂
@nacin Misconception: the core developers all share a love of jazz. 😉
— Simon Dickson (@simond) November 11, 2014
Featured image by Chris Brown.