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Why Is WordPress So Hard to Use? The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

So, why is WordPress so hard to use? People often feel that a WordPress website is overly complicated due to a large number of customization options and hard-to-use WordPress plugins.

This article is going to be aimed at beginners that are having a tough time figuring out how to use WordPress because it is possible to master WordPress if you know how to manage your time and beat the learning curve.

If that doesn’t sound like you though, we’ve also compiled a few quicker and easier ways to build your website if you don’t want to learn WordPress.

What is WordPress? An introduction to the widely-used CMS

WordPress users are working with something called a CMS to create their website. Obviously, the first question you’re going to have is what is a CMS?

A Content Management System (CMS) is a piece of software that helps you to create and manage your website without having to get involved with any of the technical stuff. 

The reason that many people use the WordPress CMS is that they can publish and edit new posts reasonably quickly – and back in the heyday of blogging, that was a big deal.

WordPress sites can be generally split into two different categories. There are those made on WordPress.com and those made on WordPress.org.

The difference between these two halves of the WordPress community essentially boils down to web hosting.

If your WordPress website is .org, then you will be responsible for your own web hosting. Whereas if your WordPress website is .com, then WordPress will handle all of the web hosting. 

The main difference for the WordPress user is that although it is easier to learn WordPress with a .com WordPress site, you will have significantly less freedom and may find it more difficult in the long run to customize WordPress the way you really want to.

For that reason, today we’re going to focus on WordPress.org because it’s important to know about the value of great web hosting and how WordPress themes, WordPress plugins affect your ability to learn WordPress successfully.

WordPress themes

WordPress themes on wordpress.org

Whether you have a hosted WordPress website or a self-hosted WordPress (we recommend the former) you’re going to want your own theme.

The way WordPress works is that you have a basic website until you install a custom theme.

There are literally thousands and thousands of web developers whose job is to try to create the perfect WordPress theme because while free themes are available, creating a popular premium WordPress theme is big business.

Still, with so many options to choose from things can start to get a little confusing when you are first learning WordPress. 

WordPress plugins 

WordPress plugins on wordpress.org

After you’ve decided between all the WordPress themes out there, you need to start thinking about plugins for your WordPress site.

Custom plugins are the beating heart of every WordPress site and they are the things that allow you to turn a basic website into a more powerful one.

There are plugins for everything you can imagine – from SEO and emails to marketing, eCommerce, and customer support.

Whatever you’re looking for, there is probably a plugin for it such as the popularity of the platform and the number of WordPress developers working on creating new ones.

In fact, it’s estimated that 37% of all websites run on WordPress and that’s why it is the number one choice for CMS platforms but that doesn’t necessarily make WordPress easy.

7 reasons why WordPress is so confusing and complicated to use

Here are the most common problems that users tend to encounter when using WordPress software and learning how to design a website at the same time. 

1. Difficult to set up 🙃

When you’re first learning WordPress, it is natural for you to find it tough to set up WordPress.

One of the most common is simply installing WordPress itself. Many people encounter error messages before they ever get to the WordPress dashboard.

If that happens to you, try the following:

  • Re-install WordPress
  • Repair database tables
  • Disable plugins
  • Check your config file

But it’s not so hard to get a working WordPress website, many hosting services like Hostinger, GoDaddy, and Hostgator offer automatic or 1-click WordPress installation direct from the web hosting server provider.

If you’re still looking for help, take a look at our ultimate website set up checklist and our whistlestop guide on exactly how to make a website.

2. Steep learning curve ⤴️

When people discuss WordPress, even the WordPress install process seems complicated. Ergo we might assume that everyone other than WordPress experts can expect to face a bit of a learning curve.

The most common problem is that many custom WordPress themes on self-hosted WordPress websites are almost totally hand-coded

This means that if you want to install plugins or customize your free WordPress site, you’re going to need to hire a developer or learn to code.

In practice, this makes the freedom of a self-hosted free WordPress website pretty much unattainable to beginners as you will need to know how to code or have some deep pockets to pay for it.

3. No technical support on standby ❌

One big problem is that there’s no support team that you can contact whenever you run into problems in WordPress.

In fact, the only place you can find support is on WordPress forums or YouTube videos. While this might help, there’s a good chance that your exact issue won’t be covered.

This lack of support makes WordPress alternatives seem much more attractive. If you use a builder like Zyro, you can rely on 24/7 live support

Still, before you begin to think that this makes WordPress so complicated, it is worth remembering that WordPress has a huge community that can help and the knowledge base for WordPress is everywhere on the internet (more on this later.)

4. Customization and maintenance take a lot of time ⌛

Building a site is one thing, but keeping it afloat is another. The main challenges and issues you’ll face are keeping up with the nonstop updates and the lack of a built-in backup system to save your progress.

That means that the time it takes to build a site on WordPress can vary wildly (short answer: it depends on the goal and size of the site.)

When you compare the site-building process on WordPress to that of other platforms like Zyro that provide drag-and-drop functionality for simple and quick customization – there is a big difference in your time commitment.

Still, you should know that WordPress does offer many beginner-friendly site builders that you can use if you get to grips with the plugins.

If you are interested in learning more about effective web design, we’ve got some great resources to get you started:

5. Themes and plugins tend to conflict 😵‍💫

So, one of the biggest things that contribute to the steep learning curve when learning WordPress is the fact that a lot of themes and plugins just don’t work together – especially when you’re using third-party plugins.

Incompatible plugins and themes might lead to errors and non-technical users often find that this is one of the things that makes the self-hosted version of WordPress hard (we will cover this in detail later.)

The solution is regular upkeep and constant updates but this is time-consuming and can become overwhelming if there are too many plugins. 

In general, it is recommended that you keep the number of plugins on your WordPress below 20 as anything over this will make building websites and maintaining them an organizational nightmare.

6. Too many settings and configurations 🥴

Whether you are just trying to make a simple website, or you’re one of the many small business owners looking to create an online business, a big issue with WordPress is the number of settings you have to deal with.

Plenty of people with technical skills and lots of experience building websites have reported real problems with the settings for categories, tags, and custom taxonomies

If you don’t know what that means, it’s yet another sign that WordPress works with technical terms that might be overwhelming for beginners.  

Mostly, that’s because WordPress is a self-hosted platform, which means there’s more to take care of than a hosted platform.

For example, you’re going to need your own web host, hosting plan, and domain name from a hosting company before you can even get started using the “free version” of WordPress – even if it means that your website will not actually be completely free.

The good news is that this does offer more freedom than a hosted platform, and while you might get some help from a website builder plugin, it is one of the biggest challenges when using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress.

7. Hard-to-fix errors and malfunctions 💔

Here are the most common problems and security bugs that happen on WordPress. 

  • Failure to update WordPress. If you don’t keep your WordPress updated (and there are a lot of updates) your website is going to be vulnerable to many types of attacks.
  • Third party plugins. 75% of all WordPress attacks are due to downloading plugins from untrustworthy sources. Remember to only use verified plugins to keep you and your website visitors safe.
  • Slow page speed. Poor web design, too many plugins, and an inconsistent back end result in slow page speed. Page speed is one of the most important factors for search engines in determining the SEO value of your website. Slow web pages = a decrease in SEO ranking.
  • Constant error messages. When people think about what makes WordPress so complicated the first answer is the so-called “white screen of death.” This refers to the constant and confusing error messages that many WordPress users experience building their websites.

Even for a seasoned web designer, these issues can be problematic. Luckily, there are many online courses on YouTube that only take a few hours that can help you learn how to use WordPress properly.

A laptop with WordPress open on the screen

Advantages of WordPress 

So, we’ve covered the main challenges that you will face when getting WordPress installed and setting it up so that your page is ready for new website visitors.

And while you might just be thinking ‘Why is WordPress so complicated?’ It’s good to remember that despite the challenges, there are more than a few things that make WordPress worth it. 

Easy on the budget 

In essence, WordPress is open source software and that means that the core self-hosted version of the WordPress software is free.

It is one of the biggest advantages of the world’s most popular content management system and a large part of why 37% of all the websites in the world use WordPress.

Still, as we mentioned before, hosting, domain registration, premium themes, and premium plugins all cost money, and if you want to make your WordPress site the best it can be, then you can expect to spend some money.

As always, the cost of these extra elements varies depending on your needs. For example:

  • Hosting. There are plenty of affordable hosting options available for users with basic needs – shared hosting can cost as little as $1.39 per month. While more heavy duty websites could pay hundreds of dollars a month for dedicated virtual private server hosting.
  • Domain registration. Generally, domains are relatively cheap. With Zyro, you can get a top-level .com domain for as little as $8.99 per year (or free with annual website builder plans.)
  • Themes. The price of WordPress themes can vary massively. Yes, there are free themes, but a custom made theme might cost you as much as $5000 while a premium stock theme might only cost $20. It all depends on what you want.
  • Plugins. Similarly, custom WordPress plugins can cost just as much as the themes. One of the most popular WordPress plugins – WPforms (for creating a professional contact form on your site) has plans ranging from $39.50 per year all the way up to $299.50 per year.
  • Web development. If you’re going the self-hosted route and you don’t know how to code, then you’re going to need to hire a professional. And there’s no way that you’ll be able to get a professional built website for less than $5000.

When you put all that together you’re naturally left wondering ‘how much does it cost to build a site with WordPress?’ 

The answer naturally depends on the outcome. If you’re happy with website builder plugins, free themes, and free plugins you could ostensibly run a small blog on WordPress for around $50 per year but if you want to build a professional website or a large eCommerce website then it is going to cost you a lot more.

We’ve compiled a list of the best resources on the topic for you to read:

Flexibility and scalability 

Of course, one of the big advantages of WordPress is the scope for customization on the platform.

WordPress is an open-source platform so users have full control over the look and feel of their sites. 

Simply put, WordPress enables you to build any type of website that you want, given that you have the necessary knowledge.

What’s more, scalability is not a problem on WordPress with a large number of the world’s biggest websites being built on the platform.

It is no problem for the WordPress servers to deal with millions of users logged in and editing their sites at exactly the same time while still offering blisteringly fast results.

If you find that the traffic on your website is rising quickly there are a few things that you can do with WordPress to scale your website fast. Getting a new vertical hosting plan, and a premium caching optimization plugin should help you to handle the new traffic with no problems at all.

Plenty of powerful tools

Whatever you need, there’s probably a plugin for it on WordPress. 

There are over 55,000 plugins on the WordPress Plugin Directory that are used to power an estimated 500 new WordPress websites every single day.

With that amount of tools, and such a high volume of websites created, it is little wonder that the plugin market is worth well in excess of a billion dollars.

It’s worth so much because plugins allow everyday users to create exceptionally powerful websites. 

With a plugin like WooCommerce for instance, you can instantly build an online store. If you’re wondering about the credentials of some of these plugins then listen to the stats.

“WooCommerce powers 22% of the top 1 million ecommerce sites in the world.”

That’s not all, here are some of the most popular plugins on WordPress and what they do:

  • OptinMonster. Check your Google Analytics, if you see that a lot of users are abandoning your website you can benefit from OptinMonster. It’s one of the most powerful lead generation plugins available on WordPress.
  • Yoast. Yoast is all about improving the volume and quality of your website traffic. It is an SEO plugin that is the most popular plugin on WordPress of all time with over 350 million downloads.
  • Contact Form 7. It might sound simple, but a quality contact form is the difference between engaging a potential customer and losing them forever.
  • Wordfence Security. It is well known that WordPress suffers when it comes to security. Attacks are common, especially when you use unverified plugins. Wordfence can help keep your WordPress safe and secure.
  • All in One SEO. Like Yoast, All in One SEO is one of the best and most popular plugins available on WordPress because it helps with the number one problem that all new websites have in common – getting found online.

SEO-friendly 

Speaking of SEO, there is a good reason that WordPress has so many popular SEO plugins. 

A large part of that is users wanting to grow their traffic and visibility on search engines, but another part of it is that WordPress is just not very SEO-friendly out-of-the-box, and achieving high rank on SERP takes a lot of effort no matter which platform you choose.

That said, WordPress has all the optimization tools you need to get your website found on Google.

There’s way too much information about effective SEO strategies to cover here but every little helps. Whether it is meta titles and descriptions, page load speed, image optimization, and tagging, or site structure, the list of ranking factors for SEO goes on and on.

That’s why we’ve put together all the SEO information you could ever need on our blog:

An extensive community of professionals

While it is true that WordPress does not offer customer support, the platform does benefit from an astonishing amount of information all across the internet.

There are endless forums, YouTube videos, and guides out there made by professionals to help you along your journey.

WordPress communities are the answer to a question that the platform cannot solve with customer support simply because the user base is so vast.

When should I use WordPress? 

So, there are all the pros and cons of getting set up on WordPress. 

The biggest factor that brings so many new users to WordPress every single day is its versatility – you can create all different types of websites on WordPress.

Below, we’re going to run through the most popular use cases for WordPress today as well as some well-known examples for your inspiration.

When you want to create a blog with loads of content 

Like a lot of content management systems, WordPress built its reputation on blogs. Way back when blogging was all the rage – WordPress provided a powerful and affordable way to publish regular content.

As we all know, regular high-quality content is the cornerstone of any successful blog.

It’s always top of the list in the most effective blogging tips and the WordPress dashboard makes it so easy to create new content and update old content for SEO and help you get found online.

The advent of the WordPress block editor was game-changing in the blogging industry. Just look at these inspirational blog examples and you’ll immediately see how easy it is to make a beautiful blog on WordPress.

If you still need convincing, check out the blog of the international news agency Reuters. It’s one of the biggest journalistic outlets in the entire world and their blog is powered by WordPress. 

When you want to create a large eCommerce site 

As we’ve already mentioned, WordPress powers 37% of all websites, and WooCommerce alone (just one plugin) is responsible for 22% of the best-selling eCommerce sites worldwide.

If you know how to start an eCommerce business, it should go without saying that WordPress is a great place to get set up online if you want to tap into the multibillion-dollar5 eCommerce market in a serious way.

So, whether you’re selling frozen cookie dough, natural cosmetics, or taking your clothing line to the next level, you can do it all with WordPress eCommerce.

If you still need convincing, just take a look at Clickbank. It is in the top 5000 eCommerce websites in the world and it was all built with WordPress and WooCommerce.

When you want to create a business website 

If you have a business and you haven’t created a business website for it yet, you are missing out on a huge opportunity.

The number one reason why businesses need websites is simply because, in this day and age, your customers expect you to have one. 

If your business doesn’t have a website then you will naturally look less professional and less credible and your customers will go elsewhere.

It’s an old adage but it still rings true to this day: give the people what they want.

That statement underpins pretty much everything to do with web design – whether it’s UX or email marketing or online shopping, you will be more likely to succeed if people understand your website.

WordPress is so versatile and customizable that any size of business can benefit from it. Just look at the way that these small businesses got online.

And while that is all well and good, even businesses the size of Techcrunch use WordPress too.

Still having a hard time with WordPress? Here’s an alternative… 

Website builders vs WordPress infographic

At this point, we have made a pretty strong case for WordPress as a valuable CMS for anyone looking to build a website.

Still, there are plenty of reasons to look elsewhere. It could be time, resources, skills, or just the fact that you only want to create a simple website.

There are plenty of great WordPress alternatives out there for website building and one of them is Zyro.

Zyro is a website builder aimed at beginners and small businesses who want to get online fast. 

With Zyro you can create beautiful websites and get online in less than 1 hour for as little as $2.90 per month.

CMS and website builder: what’s the difference? 

So, what’s the difference between a WordPress and a site builder? Well, it all comes back to the idea of content management systems.

Where Zyro and competitors like Wix and Squarespace are website builders, WordPress is a CMS.

Put simply, website builders are there to help you build a website – dragging and dropping elements onto a page, adding images, and so on. 

Whereas a CMS is a much bigger commitment and requires you to be in charge of all the elements of site creation as well as content management.

Zyro vs. WordPress: side-by-side comparison

Essentially, Zyro is a friendlier, easier-to-use alternative to WordPress.

Zyro has been designed to make websites and online stores easier to create for anyone, regardless of their technical knowledge or design experience.

Where you have to code themes on WordPress, Zyro works with designer-made templates. If you want to edit your site it is as simple as dragging and dropping new elements into place.

Pros of Zyro 👍

For some users, Zyro is the perfect solution to the problems of WordPress.

While Zyro lacks very complex features, it makes use of automatic AI tools that totally remove the learning curve for building websites even for first-timers.

All the features of Zyro are designed to make it as easy as possible for you to get started online and it is one of the best eCommerce platforms on the market.

While WordPress has many plugins that can complicate things, Zyro is focused on offering only what you need to be successful online.

Zyro is also SEO optimized out of the box. That means fast page load speeds and templates that are built for SEO to help you get found on Google from day one.

Cons of Zyro 👎

The biggest flaw of Zyro is that it does not have the capacity to cater to very complex websites and users with highly technical needs at the moment.

Zyro is designed to help anyone create professional, affordable websites and get found online and while this does mean missing out on some complex functionality right now, Zyro will keep on updating.

You can be sure that there will be more promising features in the future for all kinds of needs. 

When to use Zyro 🤔

Zyro is best for new starters and small businesses that want to get online. 

It is designed to be the easiest and most affordable web building platform on the market and with hundreds of designer SEO optimized templates, every kind of website can benefit from using it.

Whether you want to create a simple one-page website in a matter of minutes or you want to become one of our Small Business Heroes that are using Zyro to power their eCommerce businesses – you can always find what you need on Zyro.

Written by

Author avatar

Damien

Damien is a self-professed, semi-obsessed word-freak that wants nothing more than to tell small-business stories in a big way. Always scouring the market to find the right tools for the job, he is focused on finding creative ways to bring them to the people. When not writing, Damien is known to be a massive music bore, amateur radio enthusiast, and woodland wanderer.

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