If WordPress had a show in Vegas it would be Celine Dion. WordPress is by far the most popular CMS platform around—having reached Bieber-like status. Referring to WordPress as a CMS is debatable though as technically it is closer to a blogging platform then CMS. Only recently has it upgraded and added a sufficient amount of plugins that it can mimic a CMS.
The Open Source WordPress platform is the platform of choice for most bloggers and can be used successfully for simple website design. It does have some stiff competition though, especially with the release of Drupal 7 and with Joomla’s increasing popularity.
Each platform has its advantages and disadvantages, and users need to evaluate what is important for them in a blogging platform/CMS:
Easy to Use
While most products advertise themselves as being “easy to use” WordPress doesn’t advertise this, this is the reputation it has earned. Unlike Drupal and Joomla, WordPress doesn’t require knowledge of PHP or HTML coding. WordPress comes with rich preinstalled features that are literally point and click, installing plugins is simple, and their templates make designing easy.
WordPress is an out-of-the-box turnkey solution that just works. It comes loaded with rich features without any tweaking, coding or other bumbling around. If you are a beginner user then seriously consider using WordPress.
WP 3.0 has some great menu options, making it prettier and simpler than Joomla due to its custom menus that can be rearranged to include categories, pages, etc.
Having a large community to draw on for support and tricks is important to many people and WP has one of the largest online communities around.
There are thousands of free themes available online to use to help you choose a design for your site. There are also premium themes available for purchase for those who want an added touch of professionalism to their site.
There are almost 13,000 plugins available for the WP platform. It is through these plugins that WP gained its CMS title as plugins opened up WP to a world of possibilities. Most of these plugins are free which is cool.
Through the use of custom fields you can turn WP into a CMS by going beyond the typical blogging activities like posting, categorizing and tagging. They have made this process easy for beginners as well with the addition of custom field plugins like ‘Custom Fields Template,’ ‘Flutter’, and ‘More Fields’.
This plugin allows you to create and manage different content types without using custom fields.
For advanced users who are familiar with more advanced techniques like scripting, WP uses its own script. And knowledge of the WP script is necessary for things like adding or removing post dates.
Design Knowledge Required
While WP does have plenty of nice-looking templates many people want to design a unique website as WP themes often look too similar to one another. To make unique designs in WP you need knowledge of the CSS style sheet language, and odds are that if you have this sort of designing knowledge you will want a more powerful toolset like those available in Drupal-like CMSs.
Too Many Plugins
WP needs a lot of plugins to be able to do the things that Joomla and Drupal can do out of the box. While the plugins are available they can slow your page down if you install too many of them. The double-edged sword on WP plugins is that by the time your page has been slowed because of the plugins you have already put a significant amount of man-hours into the project and would be reluctant to migrate to another CMS. Plan for this ahead of time by looking at how many plugins you would need to create the functionality you want.
Unfortunately the PHP security for WP has a shoddy track record and security isn’t as strong as some of the other platforms. This will only be a factor depending on how sensitive the content of your site is.
While there is a large online community of users to help and support you there is little to no offline documentation. WP has been criticized for not creating a MS SDK document, especially now that it calls itself a CMS.
Tables and Graphics
Modifying and formatting tables and graphic images is more difficult in WP than in its competitors.
Needs Regular Updates
WP is constantly changing and growing and it needs regular updates. This is not a big deal unless you are looking for a set-it-and-forget-it solution, in which case this might not be the solution for you as it needs periodic updates.
Queries can be a difficult and convoluted process because of all the custom fields you need to use to go take WP beyond typical blogging actions. Often you need a Custom Select Query, which can be a royal pain in the butt.
Pods CMS is both a benefit and a drawback, while they are handy the admin community does not support them, as they would prefer you use custom fields. This is not a problem in other CMSs.
WP is a great platform to begin blogging or simple website design. It is the most easy to use solution and offers a great toolset to beginners. For more advanced users, you may find that you need to install a throng of plugins to get the design capabilities you want, in which case a more advanced CMS might be in order for you.