Alternatives to Wordpress

Wordpress is by far the most popular blogging and website engine out there. There are something like half a billion websites that run some version of it. There are thousands of templates and just as many Wordpress plugins. 

From a developer perspective, there are three main reasons not to like Wordpress:

  • its template engine is kind of outdated and really hard to understand.
  • Its not really easy to add custom content types to Wordpress.
  • Because Wordpress is so popular, it's a target for hackers.

On top of those reasons, Wordpress is usually the first thing most people do when they get into the world of web development, so a lot of developers kind of look at it like the kiddie pool. Worse, there are lot of people who pass themselves off as web designers and developers who don't really know how to code and just setup everything with Wordpress plugins and templates. Which rubs developers the wrong way.

Wordpress is written in a language called PHP, and because it's so popular, people sometimes think it's synonymous with PHP. So Wordpress sort of gives PHP a bad name. As a PHP developer, I get really sick of having to defend something great because of it's linked perception to Wordpress.

Whatever your reasons for disliking Wordpress, there are a lot of alternatives. Because there are so many, I'm going to let you know which I think is best according to your skill level with the web. 

If you don't want to use Wordpress and you have no development skills or experience, you should use Squarespace or Wix.

These tools will allow you to buy a domain, choose a template, and setup a website with zero technical knowledge. I've played around with both in the past and they are both excellent.

If you don't want to use Wordpress and you have some design skills and you want a little more control, you should use webflow. 

Webflow is what we use for our website at Build Online and we've done a lot of client websites with it. It provides a photoshop like interface for design and full control and allows our designers to manage our website without bothering our developers. Just like wix or squarespace, you can start with excellent templates - you just have total control of anything you want to change with the templates. It's a learning curve, but once you learn it, it's pretty great.

If you have some development skills (you know HTML and CSS) and you are willing to dig into code, I highly recommend a CMS called Statamic. 

Statamic has been around for a long time and it just keeps getting better. It is a super flexible content management system that lets you add any content type you like with hundreds of form options. It has a robust plugin and template community and if you take the time to learn it, you can manage almost any kind of website or even app you can think of with it. One thing I love about statamic is that it doesn't use a database - so it's really easy to back up and move to other servers. It's not cheap, but I think it is worth the money.

Let me wrap this video up by saying Wordpress is a fine CMS if you want to run a blog and if you are careful about keeping it secure and up to date. If you do go with Wordpress, make sure it's the only thing running on its server and make sure you are super selective about plugins and that you keep everything up to date.

Also, don't let anyone talk you into using Wordpress for a web app. We've had clients come to us who got bamboozled by some agency into building an app on top of Wordpress. That's like trying stitch together a mansion out of garden sheds from Home Depot - why??? and you are going to have problems. If you want to build an app, almost any tool is better than Wordpress.

If you'd like to learn more about building apps, I've created a free course over at softwarecrashcourse.com. It's seven short lessons where I explain the whole process of building an app and share the best of what I've learned helping launch over a dozen apps. So go over to softwarecrashcourse.com and sign up for free.

I'll see you in the next video.


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