Wordpress Good OR Bad?


#1

Hi Guys,
I love to hear peoples thoughts on WordPress.
As a project I’m planning to create an personal website to showcase my portfolio. I spoken to other Graphic Designers I know and they all say, just get WordPress its really easy to use.
The problem is that I’ve looked at their sites and they all look the same, you can tell almost instantly that they were created with a WordPress template.

[B]Is WordPress that limiting or have I just me alot of lazy designers?
Should I come up with the concept and get the coding done by somebody I know?[/B]

Feel free to widen this topic out, to include alternative Software or different approaches.

Any and all thoughts much appreciated.

Paddy, (Ireland’s West Coast, Raining. :slight_smile:


#2

I used to feel the same way about WordPress. I love it for its ease of use, but I felt like all the sites looked the same. Until we did this at another company that I work for. That is a pure WP blog that was designed using the Foundation framework. So… goes to show that it’s only as limiting as you allow it to be.


#3

I agree with Hawk. I’ve heard the same statement about Bootstrap (which I do not use) but I believe that anything which can be edited via CSS and Javascript is totally off any limits.


#4

Thanks guys, I’ve found some great links to Free Themes online.


#5

Nice find Paddy. I’ll look forward to checking it out once you’re up and running. =)

WP is certainly a robust system if you are at either end of the technical spectrum - either pretty comfortable dabbling with the code-driven templates, or simply needing an easy way to get a simple site up and running in a few minutes. It’s less handy for people in between that want some customisation (especially template customisation) without needing to resort to PHP, which is where a lot of visual designers sit.

So yep, an easy to use admin interface for graphic designers - as long as you find (or create) a theme you don’t need to modify much and plugins that do exactly what you need. In conversations I’ve had with most designers running WP they often take an attitude of “I got it close to what I was wanting but gave up further tweaks when the WP templates got too confusing.” A good case for getting a baseline familiarity with code if you’re a designer. =)

As Hawk mentioned, there are some excellent frameworks, themes and plugins out there you can start with or extend - therein lies the beauty of WP. ​But the flip-side are some frustrations and restrictions caused by WP making these decisions on your behalf. In these cases I usually recommend more open systems like ExpressionEngine where content, layout and functionality can be kept more satisfactorily separate - although your site won’t be up in 5 minutes, and there is still a tagging system to learn when adding your HTML. [URL=“http://textpattern.com/”]TextPattern is simpler again and also a good option for freelancers, although there are less active plugins around than there used to be.


#6

Hey Paddy, there are some very cool WordPress themes out there.

I recommend the following:
[LIST]
[]Search for the type of template you’re interested in, like “WordPress portfolio themes”
[
]You can also search for aesthetic-related keywords, e.g. “WordPress flat themes”, “WordPress modern themes”, “WordPress retro themes”
[]The Google results will show a million articles with titles like “50 of the best portfolio themes for WordPress.” Make a list of these links, then start going through them one by one
[
]Every time you see a theme that seems pretty good, click through to its “demo” page and see if you really like it
[]Make a list of your favourite demo themes
[
]Once you’ve collected a good list, go through them carefully and see what sorts of features the demos have. For example, they might let you have 1-, 2- and 3-column layouts. Or they might allow you to have 3 different kinds of home page layouts
[/LIST] If you need any help, let me know! – And if you do start using WordPress, keep us posted and I can give you some other tips, like some really useful plugins to get.


#7

Thanks Foxmwood! I’ve seen quite a few I think will work, but gonna look again with you advice above. Cheers Paddy


#8

Paddy, Wordpress is very flexible, which is as good as it is bad. If you are a coder, it is not difficult at all to create your own theme, and take it out of Wordpress styling. I did that for the previous version of my webite, and it did not look like a Wordpress site at all.

The downside of Wordpress is the bloat. There are a lot of things in there, but I question how much is needed. It is a wonderfully powerful CMS, but because of this people have tried to push it into different more complex areas.

I personally skipped the CMS choice with the new version of my site, and went with Jekyll & Github. It’s great and fast (for me), but as I’m starting to find out - please ensure it doesn’t replace your companies CMS!!

There are lots of nice platforms out there, Squarespace is one that people swear by - I haven’t used it myself, but I’ve seen non-techy people create some pretty impressive sites. Not sure of your level of coding expertise, but this may also be a good ‘out of the box’ solution for you?


#9

@Paddy - I’ve used wordpress in all of my coding efforts and with great success. Its an easy to install/use platform with a wide range of flexibility. Even if its only to validate the idea that you have, it will be easier to get started and verify until you decide to do something different. Tons of templates and plug-ins that will give you direction and customization but again, its totally based on preference.


#10

Hi guys, I’ve got up and running, with a basic enough template in Wordpress. I feel I really need to get something up for now as a reference point was important.
Definitely in the category Luke mentioned above of[B] “I got it close to what I was wanting but gave up further tweaks when the WP templates got too confusing.”[/B]

I’ve some basic coding skills, so with some time and help from my fav coding friends and relations I should be able to make the changes I require. I totally agree with learning as much code as possible. I’ve done basic [B]html[/B] & [B]css[/B] and am thinking of trying to get the fundamentals of [B]php[/B] also, after that I’m open to suggestions?

I’ll put up the site line once i’ve added in some more content, just got placeholder text and images for now.

And I’ll appreciate you feedback, I’ll take the bad news first!

Thanks for the help.
Paddy


#11

Javascript.


#12

You should try out Headway Framework for Wordpress. It’s by far the best thing that happened to me in Web Development. Not only is it excellent for SEO, you can pretty much do anything you want to do with it, without much (if any) coding. I’m in no way, form or shape affiliated with them, I just think it’s that good. Basically, anything you imagine in your head, you can do in Headway.


#13

Sounds great. Do you know of any sites out there that have used it? I’d love to see one.


#14

Sure, you can check out tons of work here - http://headwaythemes.com/customers/ . I have also made tons of sites with Headway, but I don’t want to put them here :). It’s basically a drag and drop editor which lets you control every aspect of your site. I look at it as something that almost eliminates the need for a developer really.


#16

WP is popular since it is for everyone, even ones without any coding knowledge. WP comes with tons of free plugins which help web/blog owners add nearly any functionality for their sites. However WP is not great if we consider the security. According to nakedsecurity site, “73%” of WordPress sites vulnerable to attack. Some plugins allow you to enhance the security and prevent spammers for your WP site are:
Akismet: http://wordpress.org/plugins/akismet/
Accurate Form Data (used with any contact form plugin): http://wordpress.org/plugins/accurate-form-data-real-time-form-validation/
Stop Spam comments: http://wordpress.org/plugins/stop-spam-comments/
Those are the 3 plugins I use for most of my WP blog. If you know any more good plugin, please add to the list.


#17

Hi Percy, welcome to UXM. Are you a UX practitioner of some kind?