Debunking the “WordPress is Limited” Myth

Wordpress Website DevelopmentHaving just returned from Wordcamp Miami and seeing the latest and greatest that WordPress has to offer, I feel compelled to try to debunk a myth that I hear way too frequently:

“Isn’t WordPress really limited in what it can do?”

WordPress Powers 17% of the Internet

People often think because WordPress started out as a blogging platform, that it must pale in comparison to other website software options. Yes, WordPress did start out as purely a blogging tool, but it didn’t stay there. WordPress has evolved into a robust CMS (content management system) that powers 17% of the websites in the world today, including some very big and widely known ones (i.e. Mashable and Techcrunch).

Plugins, Plugins, and more Plugins

WordPress is an open source software written in PHP. This means that any developer that knows the PHP programming language can write plugins, or add ons, that add new features to the core set of WordPress capabilities. And they do. Tens of thousands of them do. Some plugins are extremely robust, such as BuddyPress, which creates a comprehensive custom social network on a website with a few clicks. If there’s something you want your website to do that isn’t included in WordPress by default, chances are “there’s a plugin for that.” And if there isn’t, you can make one.

Pre-designed Templates? Pfft.

WordPress also supports HTML and CSS, which means that the design, the aesthetic look and feel of a WordPress site, can be edited without any limits. A common misconception about WordPress sites is hat they can only use predefined design templates. Not true at all. A WordPress site can be designed 100% custom, to mimic precisely the look of an existing website in any language, or any graphical “mockup” representing a desired look for a site. Photoshop files can be translated into WordPress themes, and custom fonts can be adapted into web fonts to create a very high end look and feel.

Custom Software Compatibility

WordPress can also reside side-by-side on a server with other custom software programs, and can pull the functionalities of those programs into the WordPress site by embedding the custom software into the WordPress site’s look and feel. WordPress can even pull in information from software that resides on other servers via API (application programming interface).

WordPress-Powered Mobile Apps

One of the newest trends in WordPress development is using responsive (mobile-friendly) design to create mobile websites and even mobile apps in WordPress. Yes, mobile apps. iPhone, Android, and Blackberry all have open source WordPress apps that can be customized to pull in a mobile WordPress site, essentially creating a mobile app the runs on WordPress. Or, traditional mobile app programming languages like objective C can call information from a WordPress site into the custom mobile app, which results in an app that is “powered by WordPress.”

Want an example? Check out this YMCA check-in iPad app built by WebDevStudios that scans a member’s badge with the iPad camera and allows them to choose what activities they’ve done to earn badges, points, and prizes. Or there’s the “DMA Friends” app that allows Dallas Museum of Art visitors to enjoy a much more interactive experience while touring the museum, also developed by WebDevStudios.

The ONE Limitation of WordPress

So, tell me again, after reading all of this – how exactly is WordPress limited? Oh, wait, I know. WordPress is indeed limited by one thing: Your imagination.

Pam Aungst Cronin
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