The Problem(s) With WordPress

Problem(s) With WordPress

Custom Themes are Hard to Build, PHP Databases are Confusing

It took me a long time to figure this out.

I remember the first time that I heard of WordPress.  It was being praised as this amazing new blogging software that was sure to completely overtake whatever was the main blogging software at the time…maybe blogspot?  Not sure…. Doesn’t matter.  Anyhow, I was never super into blogging, because I for a very long time worked primarily in an industry where I don’t think it’s very useful.  For instance, would you follow a dentist’s blog?  Do you think that what your dentist has to say when you’re NOT laying in his or her chair would be of an on-going interest to you?  I bet not.  So the point is, I don’t really care about blogging, or at least didn’t for a very long time.

Wow.  Building a Website Can Be Pretty Hard.

So I started by using FrontPage and Dreamweaver, which are both basically HTML editors that help you see what you’re building while you’re building it.  Pretty nice.  I started building websites in tables if you can believe that, so like imagine building a website in Microsoft Excel where each column is being formatted to hold links or whatever.   In a word, it was pretty lame.  So the point is I’m self-taught, and learning HTML and CSS and stuff took time, but it was fun and worth it and eventually it became my job which has been awesome….until…

WordPress Makes Designing a Site Really, Really Hard

If you know some of my background I laid out in the second paragraph, I used HTML editors a lot.  When you make the jump into WordPress, at least for me, it was exponentially more confusing.  Maybe it’s my brain, but after looking at HTML for a really long time it really does start to resonate as a language.  PHP, despite my best efforts, still looks like a bunch of very aggressively put together characters that don’t mean shit.  And what’s really confusing, is it seems like there’s some real words in there.  Huh.   Well, if you know how to do PHP coding already, congrats man or lady, you’ve got nothin’ to learn here.  I gave up on learning that.  I still am going to try again one day, If you’re here because you’re trying to figure out how to build your first WordPress site, keep readin’. 

What is a Theme?  Why do they call Designs Themes?

Even since I learned any type of vernacular or vocabulary around websites, it seemed like we were in agreement, that was called “The Design”.  You maybe had a homepage design and then a slightly different design for the internal pages.  Maybe you had a specific design for a landing page that was meant to convert quick action….whatever, they were all called designs.  Then you realize that WordPress calls that a theme.  huh.   OK.  Fine.  There are thousands of themes, most of them very customizable, available on the web.  I was still very stubbornly wanting to make my own theme, because I didn’t think I could sell someone else’s theme.  So basically the trap I was in I had set for myself.  I didn’t want to use WordPress at all until I was comfortable using ALL of it.  That was my problem, because learning ALL of WordPress without practicing by using little bits and pieces of WordPress (the way a beginning WordPress user would) is hard.   For me so far it’s proven to be impossible.  The point is, if you haven’t already, wrap your head around the concept that you’re going to be using someone else’s theme, and that’s OK, you can still make it yours by customizing the logo, imagery, font-size, what’s in the columns, etc.

WordPress is Also Really, REALLY Powerful, But Making a WordPress Theme is Really Hard.

OK.   So a theme is a design, I guess I’ll try again.   Fast forward….After trying to download WordPress and figure out what the F a database was and how all of that worked, I gave up.   Went back and learned some cool, better coding for non-Wordpress sites and kept on rolling.  But the thing is as WordPress gets bigger and bigger, there are more and more people developing better and better plug-ins for WordPress all of the time.  So as a result, this gigantic, mostly free library of kick-ass coding that you can use on your website remained unavailable to me because I couldn’t figure out how to customize WordPress.

The Two Biggest Problems with Using the Full Version of WordPress

So if you’re still with me here, the hardest two things about WordPress are:

  1. That creating a custom theme, even if you’re comfortable with CSS and HTML is very difficult, because PHP coding is hard to understand.
  2. That WordPress is not a static system.  It relies on a database that calls on several individual files and puts that together in a page.  So this isn’t a thing where you can just “build a site” and then “upload it to your host” you have to arrange how the database communicates with the host folder, and if that sounds confusing, it is.

The Two Solutions to the Biggest Problems with Using the Full Version of WordPress

  1. You don’t have to create a custom theme.  You’re going to customize an existing theme.  I thought I already told you to wrap your head around that.
  2. You don’t have to deal with any databases.  EVEN if you build the site on your local host and then need to upload it, you can do it (with this super amazing plug-in called “Duplicator”).