3 Signs You’ve Outgrown WordPress & Why You Need an Advanced CMS

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WordPress dominates the web and holds the title of the most popular CMS. But just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for your business.

Over 455 million websites use WordPress for a good reason. Its ease of use and open-source model make it a popular platform for businesses looking to create simple but powerful websites. In fact, 65.2% of all sites powered by a CMS choose WordPress as their CMS solution - according to W3Techs

And indeed, WordPress is great for building landing pages and small blogs. But, it can fall apart when you’re building a more demanding website. The simple truth is that most businesses will outgrow WordPress. We find that as your needs grow, the limitations of this platform make it difficult to scale your website effectively.

At Bright, we believe the best way to offer an omnichannel experience and scale your business is to build your website with a bespoke, advanced CMS solution. 

In this article, we’ll cover some of the top signs you’re outgrowing WordPress and discuss why you should switch to an advanced CMS solution.

Sign #1: WordPress’ limited functionality is forcing you to turn to clunky, often outdated plugins

Although WordPress is a competent blogging tool, its core functionality is limited at best. It lacks the capabilities of some other, more targeted platforms. 

For example, WordPress doesn’t support eCommerce out of the box, making it difficult for businesses to use it to set up an online store. Luckily, plugins like WooCommerce add important commerce functionality that the core platform lacks.

Many WordPress admins install dozens of plugins to add the functionality they need to run their site. However, having a mass of installed plugins can seriously slow down your page load speed. Compatibility issues between plugins can also cause headaches and affect how your site performs.

Relying on third-party plugins doesn’t provide a particularly stable base for your website. What if the developer stops maintaining the plugin? What if they choose not to update it for a new release of WordPress? What if the developer removes a feature that you’ve built your site around? 

These concerns aren’t merely hypothetical – and they are just as valid for premium plugins as free ones. 

For example, last year, the developers of a premium psychology quiz and surveying tool stopped maintaining their plugin out of the blue.

In late 2021, users began complaining of random errors and security flaws in the plugin. As the developers were no longer willing to maintain the tool and patch these issues, WordPress.org removed the plugin from its store. 

The businesses that had built their online forms through this plugin had to rebuild their sites with a different plugin or risk severe security vulnerabilities.

Plugins can also cause issues when providing training and support for your solution. When you follow a standardized approach, you can use vendor-provided documentation and training. With a knot of plugins, getting anyone new to your project up to speed can be difficult. One of the principles we follow when creating client solutions is that we don't deviate from the standard ways of building whenever we can. This means that information from the vendor stays valid and usable.

Opting for a more advanced CMS solution with the out-of-the-box features you need to build your site, you can improve the stability and longevity of your product. No more worrying about plugin conflicts or slow updates!

Sign #2: You’re managing a large volume of data and you need a more secure platform

With the rising threats of cyber attacks and data leaks, 52% of businesses cite “improving security” as their top IT priority - and with good reason. Cyberattacks on WordPress websites are all too common, with WordFence estimating over 2,800 attacks that target WP sites specifically occur per second.

As a result of WordPress' numerous vulnerabilities, cybercriminals now see WordPress websites as "low-hanging fruit".

What exposes WordPress websites to security threats?

  • Outdated core software: Staying on old WP builds that don’t include important security patches is dangerous. Luckily, this is easy to fix as WordPress can be easily updated through the Dashboard.

  • Outdated plugins and themes: It’s harder to manage plugins and themes that are slow to patch vulnerabilities. Plugins with poor security can open an unwanted backdoor into your site’s database – with potentially disastrous results.

  • Cross-site scripting attacks: In the past, WordPress sites have been particularly vulnerable to XSS attacks. By injecting malicious code into a seemingly trustworthy website or app, attackers can trick users' browsers into executing that code on another website. Hackers can find holes in outdated plugins to execute this attack.

Criminals target WordPress sites because poorly maintained plugins and themes can offer an easy route to steal sensitive data. WPScan found that 91% of all site vulnerabilities are caused by faulty plugins.

These security weaknesses may be less important to smaller sites like blogs. But, for any business handling personal information, reasonably protecting this data is a necessity.

Personal and sensitive data is covered by data protection laws like the GDPR - and negligently mishandling customer information can land your business some severe fines. Data breaches can hurt your reputation - and many firms don’t survive a serious cyberattack.

Sign #3: You need to customize your user experience and WordPress is too rigid to achieve this

It’s pretty easy to build a site with WordPress, but it’s much harder to scale a business using the platform. We’ve touched on the limitations in its feature set, but WordPress also has some serious limitations when it comes to building personalized experiences. 

This issue comes from the platform’s rigid software architecture. Modern businesses love to deliver new and exciting front-end experiences. In our multi-device, interconnected world, it’s important to tailor your site for various touchpoints. 

This customization helps provide a seamless experience for customers and helps create more avenues for revenue growth. This is the omnichannel approach to online commerce.

The difficulty is that WordPress lacks the freedom to integrate these new touchpoints. Classic WordPress is a monolithic CMS. This means that the back-end code of the platform is tightly coupled with the front-end. 

This makes it very difficult to integrate new front-end experiences into your site. Effectively, you’re usually stuck with the UI and UX that WordPress and your chosen theme provides you. 

What’s the alternative? A headless CMS. By decoupling the back-end engine of your CMS from the front-end code, you can use any UI module you like - and build whatever experiences and platforms you need. 

In truth, WordPress can be converted into a headless CMS. It’s possible to use tools like WPEngine to “decapitate” the platform and tack your own front-end experiences on. But, as WP is designed as a monolith by default, this isn’t the most stable solution.

For both scalability and stability, you should opt for a headless CMS that’s designed for your use case. At Bright, we can help you pick the right CMS for the job and help you build some great front-end experiences for your customers.

Final thoughts

WordPress is a great tool for building simple landing pages and running small blogs. However, the limitations of the platform and its many security vulnerabilities make it unsuitable for growing businesses and enterprises. 

You can scale your online business far more sustainably by taking a more bespoke approach and using an advanced CMS that is more suitable for your business model. A headless CMS is a great place to start looking - especially if you’re planning on integrating many touchpoints and devices into your user experience.

Ready to build a robust and powerful website? Get in touch with us and see how we can help!