Why Graphic Designers Should Run a Mile From WordPress

View Comments by Bianca Board on 22 November 2013

I know it's been around for a while now but lately it seems like there's this insane WordPress frenzy sweeping the world by storm, almost like a cult. It's spread through all my mastermind groups, invaded the minds of every life and business coach I know; it's bizarre that so many 'experts' are proclaiming WordPress to be the only option for a website. 

But is it really all it’s cracked up to be? I'm going to stick my neck out and say 'no'. Especially for Graphic Designers who prefer to errr on the side of caution when it comes to code and the technicalities of web.

When I first got into graphic design, I thought it was going to be smooth sailing. And for the most part it was.

Then I was politely nudged into web purely due to client demand.

I thought it’d be an easy transition to be honest. I mean how different could designing a website be to say producing a 100-page annual report? Surely all you need is a little creativity, some good tutorials, Photoshop and a geeky developer by your side.

Well for the most part it is easy. I mean... I love designing websites. However it’s the developing part of a website that gives me headaches and makes me want to crawl under a rock and hide.


As a designer allergic to HTML, I can’t stand using WordPress and here’s 8 good reasons why.

Disclaimer: Now I know this post is probably going to ruffle a few feathers of die-hard WordPress fans so before I dive in, I want to first stress that I know and admire the great WordPress designers/developers out there. But I also know that there are some cheeky ones who have broken many a designer’s heart....

After all, there’s nothing worse than designing a beautiful website that your client loves... only to end up delivering a website that’s buggy and falling apart the minute it’s wired up to the CMS system.

So here's my top 8 reasons as to why I think graphic designers should RUN for the hills when they consider building WordPress sites for clients.

(And if you disagree with me... I invite you to let me know in my comments section below).

1) WordPress was originally designed as a blogging platform.

It was never really designed for the creation of everyday websites. WordPress does blog sites brilliantly, but anything over about 5 pages for a small business CMS website and it starts to crumble under the pressure. 

The fact is that its CMS is being modified and changed by developers looking to shoehorn WordPress into handling more than it was designed to.

Imagine this…

Close your eyes and imagine running every single powerpoint and electrical item in your house off a single 6-point powerboard with double-adapters and cords plugged in on top of each other and piled up everywhere. That’s WordPress.

With all these extra plugins designed for WordPress, there’s bound to be an outage and that’s going to cause you headaches.

Again, for the record, there are some developers who have taken Wordpress and made changes to it that work really, really well. But I’ve sadly seen WordPress sites that have been poorly developed and that’s what really winds me up.

Imagine designing the website of your client’s dream, only for it to be made user-unfriendly and unwieldy by a developer who really didn’t know what he or she was doing? How annoying would THAT be?!

Oh and that reminds me... 

2) WordPress is rubbish for eCommerce and booking sites.

Back in my rookie days when I started out as a designer, I foolishly accepted the job to design and develop an eCommerce website… with WordPress.

After all, I had a developer on side that would make sure that the technical part of the site would work flawlessly. Right?

WRONG! Never before have I wanted to strangle someone so bad, but that developer got me close. The site became buggy, massively unfriendly to use, and the guy wanted money to fix his own errors!

Sadly, I’m not alone. When speaking to many of my design buddies, nothing makes them want to break out into a cold sweat more than a client who wants a WordPress site... with a fully functioning shopping cart.

What would your life coach know about websites?

Just yesterday we lost a job to a lady in one of my mastermind groups for an eCommerce site because “Her life coach told her she had to get WordPress so she could take it anywhere when she gets the shits with the designer/developer”.

I thought to myself as I read the email “Firstly, I can’t believe she’s already assuming the relationship is going to go turn bad and she’s going to want to move and secondly, what does her life coach know about eCommerce and WordPress living happily together?”

In fact, two of the big banks also hate WordPress eCommerce sites!

We talk regularly to the heads of Merchant Services at two of the major banks here in Australia and they are very nervous about the amount of eCommerce WordPress sites being targeted by hackers. I’d say it’s only a matter of time before their online merchant facilities become almost impossible to get approved using the WordPress platform because of the risk to them.

Simply put... if someone asks you to implement a booking or shopping facility onto a WordPress site... don’t. Even if you don’t opt to use our friendly CMS and partner program, something like Magento would be a far better option!

3) You WILL need a developer.

I think for me this was the real reason why I wanted to avoid using WordPress  For 95% of designers out there who have little to no development skills (and aren’t keen to learn code either) if you’re going to build a website using WordPress  you’re going to need some development help.

And that’s not why I became a designer! I became a designer to create beautiful things that make people’s mouths drop open and say “DAMN”. Not to wade through miles of code trying to figure out why something isn’t working right.

And the problem is this; if you have to rely on a developer, you’re taking a gamble on that developer. Some will be cooperative and bend over backwards for you. Others will throw you under a bus.

But regardless how good they are, you will always have to pay them.  :(


4) WordPress is ‘Open-Source’. Which is great... but...

When you’ve run your own web design business for as long as I have, you start to become cynical and begin to wonder if everything is a buzzword.

‘Open-Source’ is one such word. 

Brilliant in some ways, dangerous in others. In fact I recently read a blog that described ‘Open-Source’ as a wonderful, magical, flying dragon.

The problem is that dragons also breathe fire!

The main issue with ‘Open-Source’ software is that it’s notoriously easy to hack. After all, WordPress is inadvertently giving hackers access to the code for free. And when they get access to that code, they can learn from it and find little trapdoors into the backend of the websites you’re building.

It's for this reason that more and more designers are opting to create websites for their clients on ‘Close-Sourced’ systems... they are just much more secure and less likely to be destroyed within its first year!

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5) Updating a WordPress site can be a pain.

One thing that WordPress deserves credit for, is that they do regularly offer upgrades to their WordPress sites to ensure the integrity and security of your client’s website.

The problem is that, because WordPress updates aren’t automatic, many WordPress users simply won’t bothered updating their system.

Can you see the typical busy small business owner rolling out security updates to their website every two weeks without fail? I can’t.

However, if your client decides that they don’t want to be responsible for updating their WordPress CMS, it’ll often fall to you (and your developer), and it’s not as straightforward as you might think.

Basically, you need to backup the entire content of the site ‘just in case’ before the upload. This may require assistance from your developer, and they will often charge you for this service. Not good when your client probably expects this to be done for free!

Newsflash: I’ve literally just found out that the most recent update with WordPress does incorporate automatic updates. Good job guys! It's still early days, but I hope it’s a change for the better. 

Hang on a minute, if you're a WordPress user, don't get too excited! 

The problem with automatic WordPress updates is that they can't actually test how these might affect all the other plugins and functionality available for WordPress  That would take years! So my sources tell me that WordPress designers/developers are really weary of letting the automatic updates loose on their client sites for fear of the destruction it might cause. For now anyway, they're going to keep it manual. :(

That leads me to my next MASSIVE drawback from WordPress’ updates...

6) Updates can BREAK plugins and themes.

And boy, can it drive you nuts!

Many developers will use additional plugins and themes to help bring your client’s requirements to their websites.

The problem is that because WordPress is Open Source, these plugins and themes are not developed in collaboration with one another. They certainly aren’t all ‘endorsed’ by WordPress.

And all it takes is one WordPress update for that plugin and theme to break. And when it breaks, your client’s website is going to break too.

And since WordPress now incorporates automatic updates... surely this is a case of WHEN the plugins break and not IF a plugin breaks?

And who’s going to be expected to clean up the mess? YOU! 

And who’s going to want more money to fix the mess? Your developer. 

You’ve been warned. ;)

7) WordPress support is so-so...

WordPress’ support isn’t all bad. They’ve done an excellent job of creating an online community, where members support one another with a wide range of the most common WordPress issues that can pop up.

The problem however is that although they’ll give you advice, there’s no one there who can fix problems for you right there and then, and they can’t give you personalised support for your client’s specific website.

So if something on your client’s website breaks... there’s no one to support you. Which often means paying the developer to fix a problem that was nobody’s fault to begin with.

Are you beginning to see how WordPress is full of hidden costs and nasty surprises?

With WordPress your initial costs are admittedly lower, but that lack of official support will undoubtedly bite you in the ass down the line.

8) Hosting can STILL be a complicated matter.

Even once you’ve designed and developed the WordPress site, you’ve still got to launch it onto your client’s host. This is where WordPress can get complicated all over again.

You have to purchase hosting, purchase a domain name, linked the domain name to the hosting, set up a SQL database onto the hosting etc etc It’s enough to make a grown woman cry.

Frankly... it’s a time consuming technical process you don’t NEED to go through, and one that your developer will likely charge for as well.

There are so many website solutions out there which automatically upload websites onto hosting effortlessly, so why bother a developer with such a laborious task?


If you want to make your life easier, you don’t HAVE to use WordPress.

In many ways I have a lot to thank WordPress for.

As a young designer I had already had several brushes with developers who took advantage of my idealism... and it was a bad experience with WordPress that finally made me take my businesses to the next level and launch the Web123 ProPartner program.

Yep that’s right... WordPress lit a fire under my ass, which encouraged me to create something that would be like WordPress but without ANY of the weaknesses.

We created our own graphic designer friendly CMS system, our own Web Builder and our own web design business processes to teach you how to grow your business. Why don’t you check it out for yourself? You can check it out for 14 days simply by clicking here. *wink, wink*

So hit me with comments... Love it or hate it? Let's get the conversation going!

What do you think? Share your comments below.


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