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WordPress is not easy

WordPress isn’t easy. There, I said it.

I’m willing to bet if you’ve spent any time using the software, you probably feel the same way. Even if you’re a WordPress expert, using the software is not without frustration. As a consultant, what I find even more frustrating, is the difficulty I have in recommending WordPress to a lot of new-to-the-web users or users with strict goals to launch their new business online.

I’m mentoring an accelerator class and 90% of the students need to make their mark on the web. Sounds easy enough, but within a deluge of learning business legalese, accelerator students can’t come up for air to learn the best practices of WordPress too. Quite frankly, they shouldn’t have to.

In the end, there’s simply too many moving parts for the newcomer to comprehend.

Why is WordPress hard?

First, there’s the major hurdle of web hosting:

  • What is web hosting?
  • Where do I get it?
  • Who is the best?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Who supports me?

Then you have to GET WordPress installed on the web host you finally chose:

  • How do I get latest .tar.gz there? (wtf is .tar.gz?)
  • 1-Click install or something else?
  • What’s this database thing?
  • Who is sparky?
  • Did I do this right? Can someone help?

So it took you two weeks to finally get the famous five-minute install finished and now you have to build your site!

  • What’s a page vs a post?
  • What theme is the best?
  • What are plugins and why do I need them?
  • Hello Dolly? Do I need to active that? (Can we move on from this?)
  • I want to change the colors of this theme to match my logo.
  • Where do I upload my logo?
  • I don’t like how there’s a sidebar on the homepage …
  • I thought setting up my website would be easy.

Finally, if you’re lucky, it only took you a month to get your site “live,” and you’re still not 100% sure how the hell you did it all. Pray no one asks you how you made those two columns on the homepage either.

Two ladies want to start a honey company

Here’s a quick story about two lovely ladies looking to start a honey company.

Entrepreneurs at heart, they’ve caught the bug (ha!), to kickstart their next venture. Two well-educated, smart, competent individuals that work with bees to create and bottle honey. The process and science behind it is astonishing. Their product can cure colds, calm allergies and make your tea taste even better — a product that improves human life! Amazing. I mean, I won’t even go within five yards of a bumblebee when I’m cutting the grass, let alone build them a colony to harvest their honey.

Even with all of the knowledge and can-do attitude it takes to launch a company, they’re lost when it comes to starting a website. Never mind a WordPress website. I recently spoke to them about the importance of “owning” online presence:

• The only platform you can control.
• Build an audience.
• Publish your story.
• Create measurable actions for your business.

Ponder this for a moment: In the midst of formalizing a legal company, finding product/market fit, and prepping to ready the hives + strategy for the spring — they need to launch their new website. This, amongst the seemingly never-ending to-do list of tasks. It’s Overwhelming.

I left recommending Squarespace to them. Not a good feeling for me.

howtomakewordpresseasy

How do we make WordPress easier?

I don’t want to (attempt to) provide a solution in this case, but to present the question and gather feedback from folks pondering this same situation. What would you do to make WordPress easier?

I’m a huge advocate for using WordPress, but I also get paid to build web solutions and support commercial WordPress products. I feel it’s the onus of the private market to aide in shaping the adoption of WordPress to new users, not just community contributors.

My argument is that as “consultants” and “WordPress experts” we need to do a better job at onboarding WordPress to our clients. Commercial product creators need to accept the same challenge and make software and the onboarding experience easier if the context calls for it. In the latter case, pay more attention to core WordPress user experiences of the software and not forking that on the unassuming user.

WordPress has a branding problem

this is the most defining discussion to come along in a while, which will shape what WordPress is for the next decade.

Last monkey wrench for the day: What is WordPress?

• An open source blogging platform
• A content management system
• Website builder
• E-commerce platform
• An application framework
• WordPress.com?
• The web’s operating system?

Before we define it, I don’t think we can fix a branding problem without knowing who we are and what we do. For example:

There’s a fast and furious debate going on about WordPress’ up-and-coming REST API, and whether or not it’s making it to core anytime soon.

… hold up … let’s break that down for the layperson: REST API? Core? What?

These discussions are for the 1% of the 1%, but they send ripple effects through the future timeline of our beloved software. In fact, I’d argue this is the most defining discussion to come along in a while, which will shape what WordPress is for the next decade. If you’re someone that doesn’t live and breathe WordPress like I do, why do you care? You probably don’t and quite frankly, why take on this cognitive load?

My honey bee entrepreneurs don’t care — they care that they can make a website easy. A famous Internet entrepreneur doesn’t care, so long as she can build an e-mail list. The Amazon drop ship guy just wants great SEO and a place to sell his stock. While we quibble about endpoints, people just want easy-to-use software they can depend on.

Unless, of course, we’re not building for them anymore?

28 comments on “WordPress is not easy

  1. A remarkably good post, Matt.

    I was asking myself this same question a few days back. I’m glad to see that I’m not alone in thinking this way.

    Quite frequently I encounter business people who are confused about all the terminology and requirements around building a site with a CMS. Its more of a “tech” problem than a “WordPress” problem.

    Business objectives tend to drive solutions and their adoption. In my opinion this is one reason why WordPress has become very popular: early business adopters (of WordPress) have proven that there is an opportunity and advantage to using it. The cost efficiencies and flexibility of using WordPress as a platform has allowed some of these businesses to demonstrate agility when it comes to “first-mover” advantage.

    But…..not every business will be able to replicate the success of these early adopters. Smaller businesses, who may either not be tech-savvy, or who may be struggling with streamlining their internal processes and objectives, will find it difficult to have the headspace for WordPress (or any) tech.

    From experience, such businesses are better off starting out with a managed solution before arriving to WordPress. It just serves them better. Case in point: your SquareSpace suggestion to those lovely ladies. Nothing wrong with that at all. In fact, I believe you’ve done them a service.

    How do we make WordPress easier for clients and small businesses?

    In my opinion, the answer is “abstraction”. Rather than speaking about WordPress and tech, suppliers and tech providers should speak the business’ language. Clients will understand that and respond…positively. Then we should help these businesses strategize their adoption of WordPress as a technology platform.

    Taking the approach of being a technology partner tends to yield better results and satisfaction for businesses; but this often means also having to take a wider view of web solutions than just WordPress.

    Now, the above is a different argument than what one would make if one’s entire audience were technology experts themselves; but in my mind, businesses shouldn’t need to understand the details. They should be guided, because they simply don’t know the technology, and tech experts sometimes simply don’t understand what these businesses *really* want.

    I’ll tell a short story: A few months ago, I was very active on Social Media; posting stuff on my Facebook page and all. One weekend, I felt reflective and posted something on my page. The post was about “WordPress Competencies”. My expectation was that some of my page followers (few as they were) would relate to my reflection and respond with a comment or like. Instead, I got a comment from someone whom I didn’t recognise as a follower at all. Their message, and I quote was:

    “I’ve never heard about WordPress, and I don’t think I care”.

    I was a bit disappointed at first, but then I thought: “Hey, this guy has a point. Why should he care what WordPress is, unless he’s a coder or developer. Who is he anyway?”

    So I investigated.

    Turns out the guy owns a chain of restaurants, and they were looking to expand their online reach, and implement web and mobile purchases, etc.

    Did I think he could use a website and perhaps a payment gateway for this? Sure! But would he care if I built him a solution with WordPress, or Zend Framework, or heck, even hand-coded it in Pascal? I think not.

    I’m on the periphery of the WordPress community, and I can appreciate how passionately its expert practitioners feel about this wonderful platform. There’s nothing wrong with that.

    But, the outside world are not in the WordPress bubble, however.

    WordPress is hard because it is internalized…tacit to its practitioners; at least as far as its greatest volume of adopters are concerned (i.e. small businesses).

    The solution? abstract the tech for “the others”. They’ll love us for it!

    1. My takeaway from reading the post and CJ’s comment: WordPress is a tool that I can use to provide business solutions to my customers.

      In the same way that a tradesman doesn’t sell his tools, but rather sells the benefit of whatever he makes with them, I should give up trying to sell WordPress websites and just find out what the customer needs, and sell them that.

      I will still use WordPress to make the solution, because it is great as a tool, and can help me earn big margins on my time. More than I would using Pascal.

      1. Spot on, William.

        I think in many cases, good tools just help one deliver higher quality work. The end result is more indicative of individual achievement and value than the tools that were used to create the coveted result.

        In my opinion WordPress is an awesome platform. A real business enabler. And its able to cater for both business and tech adopters in a way that no other platform has done in recent years.

        I feel grateful for the opportunity to use WordPress. 🙂

    2. “I’ve never heard about WordPress, and I don’t think I care”.

      Hey, this guy has a point. Why should he care what WordPress is, unless he’s a coder or developer.

      Whenever I read or hear someone who understands the technical side advocate that customers should not care about the technology they select, it really troubles me.

      Now I get it that it might be smart business to cater to those who don't care — and I agree with that when you have people who are not open to understand — but I think that bit of savvy marketing differs from the question "Are clients best served when their service provides treat the technical aspects of a solution as something a client never need to be concerned about."

      My position is that clients should care, and should consultants should try to help them understand why they should care.

      That does not mean that all "others" need to understand technical considerations, it only means they need to be informed by someone they trust who does understand the implications. And sometimes — especially for smaller businesses — the only someone they have to trust for that understanding is you.

      Mission-critical technical decisions made by a Fortune 500 CEO are not made regardless of the technical solution; they have a CTO/CIO/IT department to evaluate the technology; why should a smaller business not have the benefit of similar?

      For example, you (almost certainly wouldn't) tell a company leader who is about to choose 1000 Blackberry phones for his workforce that "All phones make calls, so don't worry about the technology"; you would tell them that they should also seriously consider Android and/or iOS, and why.

      And you (almost certainly wouldn't) tell a company leader who is about to choose 1000 gas-powered fleet vehicles for his workforce that "All vehicles can move cargo, so don't worry about the technology"; you would tell them that they should consider electric, fuel cell, natural gas and diesel before buying because one of those could be far better than getting stuck with many years of the wrong fleet technology.

      So why would you not think that it is not important to explain the pros and cons of using WordPress in laymans terms so that the "others" can make an intelligent and educated decision? Of course, if at that point they reply I don't care" then the onus is on them in case of a bad choice, and not you…

      #justsaying

  2. Amen… I could not have said it better CJ.

    And I agree, this is a great post, something that I almost start writing weekly. I believe Matt and I have discussed this to great lengths in the past 🙂

    I was at a training the other day with a business and everything you said here rings true with that experience, as well as others. Three very non-tech people, but brilliant when it comes to business, who just needed it broken down where they could relate it to their needs. One of them, previously an actress on a comedy show, appreciated the sense of humor thrown in when explaining things.

    It all boiled down to exactly what you said, abstract the tech for “the others”.

    Great comment, great post… cheers!

    1. Hey Bob. Thanks for the kind words.

      Breaking down the terminology and communicating the principles behind websites in general is hard, especially if our audience are not web developers; add a platform like WordPress on top of that, and it just gets overwhelming.

      If we assume that people who don’t use WordPress day to day should understand it, then its like saying that we as lay members of the public, should understand what Doctors or Surgeons do. That’s a specialist field, and in some cases niche, even.

      WordPress is not surgery or rocket-science, but its a niche field (regardless of what its experts think).

      This is where the work of WordPress education (as you teach it, Bob), is vital; because it helps to explain the awesome things that WordPress can do.

      Education of this nature will help businesses ask better questions of their WordPress providers, because they can see the connect between the technology and their business goals.

      Thanks for all you do Bob!

  3. I’ve been saying this … well, something similar anyway … for at least a couple of years now. Open source is great until it becomes a thing for developers who may or may not be interested in moving the beast in the direction it should move in. Sure, lots of people could/should contribute, who don’t, but that’s the nature of the beast as well. The reality is that those who do the actual work of making WP what it is, have lost the thread when it comes to moving WP farther along the track of ease of use for end users. Nothing against them per se, it’s just natural I guess, that those contributing will contribute things that are of interest to them, regardless of whether or not that’s in the best interest of the average user. And without someone guiding the ship in that direction, it just never gets there. I love WordPress, but I don’t love explaining to the moms and pops of the world why it’s so hard to comprehend and use a WP site. I’ve also recommended Squarespace at times, and it annoys me to have to do so.

  4. When you’re expertise is the business of honey, why DIY your website? There are startup costs with any new business, it makes sense for a marketing platform to be one of them.

  5. When people come to me and say they don’t want to buy a site from me, they just want to build it themselves, I find myself telling them to go to Squarespace. They start asking me questions about Squarespace and I politely let them know, I don’t know. I guess I’ve never looked at the platform. But after looking at the features, I could see myself not getting asked all of the crazy questions about hosting and features and whatnot.

    I think that there is still a place for WordPress and I think they are going through an identity crisis right now. People are getting frustrated with WordPress. Developers want to stay on the forefront of technology. Business Owners want to watch their bottom dollar.

    I think as a community we have grown the community to something really mature, but I think that for today’s users, it may be a little to techie. I was just approached not 30 minutes ago by someone. He said that WordPress is like hieroglyphics to him now. It really takes someone who uses it on a regular basis to really understand what’s going on. I think this will in time scare people away.

  6. There is a tradeoff between power and complexity. WordPress isn’t “easy”, but it’s not hard either. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but you don’t have to have an engineering degree to create a WP site.

    As WordPress has grown and become more powerful, more useful, it has also become more complex. Squarespace is easy because it’s simple, WordPress is not easy because it is robust. Yes, we should strive to make WordPress as straightforward as possible, but no, we should not dumb it down to compete with the bottom feeders of the Internet world.

  7. I’m encountering this with a client now — *after* the site has launched. Even though I’ve minimized the learning curve significantly but creating videos to be referred to, and included a written manual, just the prospect of having to read a manual/watch a bunch of videos is daunting to the client.

    It would be a huge boost for it to be less complex for those who want to manage their own sites once they are built.

  8. I have a lot of clients that think they can DIY. They request WordPress because they’ve heard it’s easy, popular and good for DIY.

    But none of them have done anything with the sites I’ve built them after delivery. Even when I’ve provided training. You’ll have to trust that I keep the site, and training, very simple.

    Instead they email me their changes. They’re busy with their business and they overestimated their interest. Sometimes they install a plugin and mess something up, and I get an email, but that’s the extent of it.

    I’m starting to decide WordPress is more for me – so I’m choosing simpler, non-builder themes that are quicker for me to get set up because I have more low-level control. I’m turning off the p-and-br-inserting WYSIWYG editor and putting clean, semantic markup in as page content – more control, cleaner content, faster layout implementation. But not editable in TInyMCE.

    WordPress is better for some clients than Squarespace because it can offer them more control and flexibility as future needs arise, and because it’s so popular they know they can hire just about anyone to take it over if they get unhappy with me.

    Other than that, it’s for me.

    1. Hey Greg, thanks for stopping by!

      I totally agree with what you’re saying. You can build yourself a nice business taking care of client’s day-to-day with WordPress and they find *that* more valuable than the software. You’re smart to build your own workflow to accommodate that. Good luck with everything!

  9. After reading through more of the comments, had to return.

    WordPress is a pretty powerful tool, especially when it’s compared to other simpler tools out there. And in the sense, we are comparing apples to oranges. As much as we all like simple, I think there is another issue.

    We need to stay away from shouting out to the world that it’s easy. We have put ourselves in that spot. Or at least some have. Sure, if you just need “A”, it will be a bit easier to setup. But if you need your site to do “A”, “B” and “C”, well, it’s going to take some work. We have created an expectation for people that no matter what your needs are, it’s easy to set up a site.

    People need to understand more the power behind WordPress and what it can do rather than just labeling it simple. There are other options for that and people need to understand their own needs and what the best choice for them is.

    Just a thought….

    1. I agree, Bob. WordPress is becoming the *best* solution for someone that wants full-control and the ability to build a real & complete platform for their business. A platform that big businesses invest 100k’s if not millions in proprietary software. Dare I say, we’re actually moving upstream?

      That said, while we’re moving in that direction, we are leaving the “little gal” behind. Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about that yet. This could be the start of companies seeing more value in professional services, but it could hinder the overall adoption of WP. Only time will tell.

  10. We use WordPress for our company’s site and also for the task of building out a community of our users. WordPress has been excellent (as we all know), but you’re right that it’s becoming harder and harder for any newcomer to figure out quickly how to get it up and running. Recently, we’ve been also exploring other options for more “community-oriented” CMS like Discourse (http://www.discourse.org/) and HelloBox (http://www.hellobox.co) – but time will tell. 🙂 Thanks for the thorough post – I’m sure many of us WP users will agree with your points.

  11. I sat with a small business owner last week and together we set up her new site on wordpress.com. She is on a limited budget, so only having to pay $18 per year for her domain name, with no monthly fee, was an advantage.

    When she outgrows that site, we will move her to wordpress.org and she will already be familiar with the backend interface and some of the tools.

    Often clients come to me knowing they need a website, but not understanding all the other factors that make up digital marketing. It’s my job to point out that they should update their Google+ profile, pick one or two other social media platforms, develop email marketing, learn to write for SEO, check out what their competition is doing, set up analytics, and suggest best practices for how to design their web navigation and create compelling content.

    No matter what platform you start with, the above it not simple or easy, but it is important for creating an effective website and this is what people need to understand.

  12. How many ways do I love this post. I’m so tired of reading how easy WordPress is. My target customers are small business owners who can’t figure out the difference between site hosting and content management, hosting vs. domain registration, heck they probably can’t even tell you what browser they’re using on their computer. Figuring out the differences between posts, pages, and widgets, well. Not easy at all. And many web designers want to hand over the site and its management to their client upon completion. After that hurdle, they’re expected to go on and master security, SEO, and opt-in lead generation. Like Greg, providing all those services for my customers without overwhelming them with jargon is my business niche.

  13. This post and the previous comments are so awesome! I’m a little surprised how long it took for someone to mention WordPress.com as a good starter site alternative to Squarespace. I recently interviewed one of my favorite authors about moving her site from Blogger to wordpress.com and it was a great chat. She’s not someone who considers herself technical either. She got help from a friend who was a developer who did some custom stuff on the home page but now she manages it herself. She made herself a second site in about an hour. I don’t think enough people explore this option.

    I also love what Mike Schinkel said about business owners needing to care about technology. Quick story: I got an email from the CEO of NTEN (Non-profit Tech Network) asking if I knew of any women or women lead companies who could help a women’s org with their website that was build on a custom CMS using PHP and Laravel. I wanted to find whoever gave that small non-profit with a low budget, a site built on some obscure framework that they A) can barely manage themselves and B) will be really more expensive to maintain and more difficult to find developers, esp given that their mission mandates working with women. SERIOUSLY? So yes, I think owners DO need to care to a certain extent and we should explain to them in user-friendly terms the BENEFITS of the choices we recommend.

    That’s why I have a ton of blog posts on my site that just try to educate normal users and I’m building a product for those DIYers to give them a clear path to good ways to build a site that doesn’t require coding. One person from my beta class actually finished her redesigned site already!

    Lastly, I’ll leave you with this pretty awesome post from Aaron Hockley comparing WP and Squarespace to a DSLR vs a point and shoot camera:

    https://photowebo.com/wordpress-vs-squarespace-photographers/

  14. WordPress has made sales people think they’re web developers and have unfortunately given birth to the era of “entrepreneurs” who simply sell five page websites with Gravity Forms. It’s insulting to haven spent half of your life learning a craft and know that someone out there with no real world experience is milking thousands of dollars out of unsuspecting clients.

    WordPress is easy because (many) business owners do not care about the technology behind the scenes and never will.

    /endrant.

    Qualifications: I work with over 700 clients a year that experience issues with their websites on various platforms and hate that I have to divert people to a forum because the WordPress gets upset a business is profiting off their inability to manage expectations of its user base.

    1. “… and hate that I have to divert people to a forum because the WordPress gets upset a business is profiting off their inability to manage expectations of its user base.”

      Can you please fix up this English and/or clarify what you mean? What forum? How does “WordPress” “get upset a business”?

      1. You do well at parties I take it?

        The few free resources that exist for a website owner to get help with WordPress do not allow you to contact someone directly to help resolve their issue, and instead make you sit through a series of responses from people who cannot get the full picture of whats wrong with their WordPress based website, inevitably given them a bad impression of the WordPress platform as a whole when they were lead to believe it was supported and easy to manage.

        What I meant by my statement was: having to tell someone to go to the official WordPress support forums, just to allow someone who may not know what they’re doing to respond to their query and lead them towards a bulky solution, if they even get that far in the conversation.

  15. To me, the question of making WordPress easier is akin to making car repair easier, or law for that matter, or medicine. WordPress, as several have already said is an amazing tool… when you know how to use it. Not everyone wants to change their own oil in their car, or build their own house, or be their own lawyer. Most people want to run their business and not take the time to learn web design, layout, image optimization, information architecture, site navigation, internal vs external hyperlinks, etc…

    For a while I was offering WordPress classes to business owners. My experience was, they would much rather just have someone take care of it all for them at a reasonable price tag (which is an article unto itself).

  16. No cms is easy when you have no experience and you want to design, set up and maintain your own website the right way. No matter how many “specialists” say how easy WordPress (or Joomla, or Drupal) is.
    As an experienced application manager I am specialized in setting up and maintaining WordPress websites. And keeping these sites updated, safe and findable. That only can be challenging at times.

    I sometimes advise people to have the website designed, set up and maintained by specialists, and only deliver the content to be put on ti. Or only learn how to put the content on themselves, but only that.

    I think it is a good thing that WordPress is versatile. That is why I love it and do not need anything else. But when building a website, you just have to keep focused on what you want and need, especially because the possibilities are seemingly endless. All the other possibilities? Just ignore them, if you don’t need them! I

    Internet technology will never be easy. It will only get more complex. And so does WordPress. As specialists just have to adjust, whenever new technology or functionality is implemented…

  17. I feel like WordPress is only for people willing to take a course on how to navigate WordPress, and hope they can learn enough to format it in a sophisticated way so it doesn’t look rough or amateur. OR it is for people to just pay a professional to do every last bit of formatting for them, and have to call on a professional for every little website change except making blog posts.

    I’m a generally computer literate person and I have a design background. I want to be able to change the appearance of my site, line up videos with headings and text effortlessly, add in buttons or pictures as I wish at the exact place on the website I want them positioned, and call on a professional only for modifying more complex back-end settings and plug-ins etc. I can create sites with my eyes closed on Wix or Squarespace and make them look how I want faster than I could tell a Website professional to create what is in my brain, yet would still need them to optimaize my site and figure out more complex plugins and listen to my functionality wishlist and help bring my site up to a level that I envision. I don’t think I’m alone – having a bit of design savvy but needing a professional to help convert the vision into a functioning website. Yet the situation I described is not conducive to WordPress. I tried WordPress a couple of times. I was hostage to a professional doing every last thing for me and sending messages back and forth just to get a photo to be the right size and lined up with the right content etc. The email correspondence was unmanageable to accomplish the tiniest tasks because it was like I was a designer with my hands cut off and he was my acting as my hands. I asked him if it was normal to communicate so much just to create one page and he said “YES”. He said on his end it was awesome and easy because I knew what I wanted and could send him drawings or clear descriptions while most people can’t articulate what they want or don’t know what they want. But on my end i felt like half of my work days were dedicated to communicating with him. It felt like I should just sign up for Wix and get it done myself until I hit dead ends and need a professional. I believe in paying professionals what they are worth and letting them do what they are good at (he was amazing) but the time commitment to work together just to complete the home page made me throw in the towel. Again, I felt hostage by not knowing how to just go into the back-end and move things around and line up edges, and change font sizes etc. on my own to just get the trivial things done and move on.

    Still I’m told that WordPress is the best choice for business owners/bloggers. I don’t see how it is the best choice in my situation. People show me ugly, rough WordPress sites and say “See? I thought it was easy to make my site.” It is so discouraging. I had even chosen a wordpress them that I liked the default demo for, and had said he could just set it up like the demo and we will just modify a few things. I wasn’t even that picky and I still felt like I would need to full on go to school and become a WordPress expert just to set up a theme demo and then add in my own photos, text, buttons sidebars etc.

    1. I totally sympathize with you, Mindy. There’s so much in your comment to unpack, but I’ll try and answer the reasons why you *should* pick WordPress — granted, the stars have to align perfectly:

      1. A great professional *should* be able to communicate with you, and help you achieve your goals. As long as both of your expectations align, usually, the budget 🙂
      2. WordPress is the *most* flexible platform for your business. While it might come with some geek-speak, and rough edges, whatever you want your website to do, WordPress can be customized to do it. In contrast to a Wix or other hosted platform, you have to play within their boundaries.
      3. You own the platform. With hosted platforms, you don’t have direct access to your stored content, and in the event you ever want to migrate away, or that company gets sold, you have to deal with the migration headaches. If you’re blogging and publishing content on your Wix site, and suddenly you’re flagged for spam or it’s against their terms, you lose. All what ifs, but valuable to know where the buck stops.
      4. Design is still a challenge, but page builders like Beaver Builder & Elementor are making new strides to get better at serving the needs of folks like yourself. It’s still geeky code, so it’s not the same as designing in Photoshop, but the right tools could get you going in the right direction.

      For most people who are running a business, especially if they are just starting out, there’s not enough time & revenue to re-invest into a solid WordPress solution. Just know that when the business is rocking-and-rolling, and you need to beat out your competition, WordPress gives you tools to do it. I really appreciate your comment, as it’s telling of a lot of situations. Hope my comments shed a little positive light in WordPress’ direction.

    2. You’re right on with your criticisms, Mindy.

      That’s why I tell most small businesses that contact me to go with Squarespace (no affiliation).

      But, when someone wants ownership of their content, and full control (even through me), they still seem to want to come to people like me. It doesn’t usually take as many back-and-forth emails as you’ve experienced – they send a mockup done in Photoshop or GIMP, and emails are usually about functionality & behavior.

      Moving something 1px to the right shouldn’t be necessary unless you’ve changed your mind since you did the mockup, and even then, no biggy.

      Your wishes to be able to easily control layout yourself, down the the pixel, without needing a professional or writing code, have been heard and answered, several times over.

      People like Squarespace, and the WordPress community has come up with competition.

      Specifically, check out Upfront (https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/introducing-upfront/) and X theme (http://theme.co/x/). I have no affiliation with either, or experience for that matter since I build custom themes from starter themes like _s.

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