The time has come for a change.
I have loved WordPress. It was the first CMS I ever used, and I never regretted building the many sites I have throughout my blogging and coding life.
Why move away from WordPress?
There are several reasons why I have decided to move away from WordPress at this point. I have been using WordPress ever since I can remember building my first websites back in 2004.
However, there have been 7 reasons for the decision to move on, and I’d like to explain a little about each:
1. Visual editor
I hardly use the visual editor when writing. For most this is the reason why they find writing easier by using the WYSIWYG editor in WordPress, but there are others like me who are comfortable writing HTML code and feel even more at home when using Markdown.
The Visual Editor has never really worked for me – the formatting has always seemed a little different to how I wanted things to look so now I just prefer on writing raw HTML code to set my pages and posts right.
Unfortunately I don’t login to my WordPress installs as often as I need to, and this has caused issues when there has been a plugin desperately needing an update.
Sadly there was a WordPress site I was working on which the end-user/client did not update on a regular basis and by not regularly attending to their site someone maliciously took control, and nuked their server.
They didn’t blame WordPress or me or even the plugins – thankfully they saw the problem was their lack of properly maintaining the site, however, it did highlight to me (as I now myself see) that people don’t have the time to maintain their site.
While it’s great we can use services such as InfiniteWP or ManageWP to help manage updates it still requires logging into these services and clicking “update all” and even updating their plugins within a WordPress install (at least as far as I know – being a customer of ManageWP).
However, these services do cost money and if you’re just blogging because it’s a personal hobby you may not be too thrilled in paying all these additional costs, but hey what hobby doesn’t cost any money?
Google loves fast websites.
A recent project brought across my path was a site that was old, but it ranked #1 on some popular search terms for their business.
Due to their high rankings they have maintained steady and consistent growth in their business, with even their competitors begging and willing to buy their top search rank position!
When we analysed why their site ranked higher than their competitors there were really only two variables that came through:
- Age of the site, in terms of longevity without any major changes, and
Their site was an old HTML site which had been running on the same IP address (and perhaps the same server for many years) it still served pages really fast – even though the Apache service serving the pages was nothing special at all!
Yet when we compared other aspects such as back links and keywords they were the worst according to their competitors.
So this has highlighted the need for speed, and it’s therefore critical to try and make your site as fast as possible. Unfortunately for WordPress though speed isn’t a thing. You have to install specific caching plugins, but even then you’ll still be slower compared to the same site if they serve static HTML.
You could certainly get around many of these issues by paying a WordPress hosting provider plenty of cash to ensure you don’t succumb to these issues.
However, if most bloggers starting out they likely don’t have the cash needed to pay for all the bells and whistles needed to maintain a secure, fast WordPress site.
With Amazon S3 and now Google Cloud Storage offering VERY cheap storage and bandwidth charges it almost feels like stealing having your pages served from these services when they only charge a few cents per month per gigabyte!
And how heavy is a minified HTML file?
Maybe a couple of kilobytes at most.
It will be the other things you store on your static server, such as images, which will bear the largest portion of your static costs, but it’s still going to take a lot of images to be able to get to a gigabyte.
5. iOS app
I have only ever used the iOS WordPress app once in my entire blogging career.
It is a great tool and is one big benefit for bloggers on the run or out and about and no doubt this will improve over time, but unfortunately my experience with it has been horrible.
I can foresee this getting better and being popular in the future, but as I blog mostly from my computer it’s a nice feature, but not necessary.
I’m also not the fastest in typing on my iPhone too.
6. Managing content
One thing I will miss when moving away is that when I want to internally link posts in my content to others it is easier in the WordPress visual editor to do so.
Also, it’s easier to find previous content and should you need edit it and apply the changes.
Unfortunately I rarely edit my content once I’ve published a post. I might skim back through a blog post once it is published to help fix some typos or get back on track to the topic at hand, but I very rarely ever go back to a post or a page and edit it.
Once it’s up its up, and I move on.
While I may miss the ease of managing content it’s not a deal breaker.
I don’t do search-engine optimisation. I don’t care about back links or ranking higher on Google.
I just enjoy writing, even though I’m not very good at it. I always have, and I also enjoy sharing information and knowledge.
I might get 2c for someone little money every now and again but my primary income is from my job, not from my WordPress sites. Therefore, it’s not critical or will make a massive impact to my earnings if I do change.
If you certainly have the time to learn SEO and want to push your content then by all means do so, I just don’t think the solution to achieving SEO greatness will be found from someone’s plugin – free or paid. I think it has a lot to do with the content you serve and how helpful this is to the person reading it.
I should also add I’m excited for a change.
I’ve been with WordPress for a long time, and it’s been a great relationship. Perhaps by moving over to static sites I’ll realise just how good I had it with WordPress and come running back.
Then again, I’m at a point where I’m comfortable learning new things and have arrived at a point in my coding life where I’m confident in building something, and I thought what better opportunity than by being able to translate some of my WordPress sites into static HTML sites.
I could be crazy, but considering I don’t blog as often as I used to anymore in the spare time I now have I’ve decided to take the plunge and see what it would be like.
To reiterate these are my big reasons. If you are contemplating moving away from WordPress and going static then maybe spend a little while thinking about your reasons. You may end up deciding that it’s perhaps easier and better to stick with what you’ve got or if you’re a little adventurous and want to see what other possibilities are out there, then see how I go migrating from WordPress to a static service.
Before I go I should reiterate that I’m certainly not advocating everyone should move away from WordPress because it’s insecure – it’s not, and it is getting better now with the way in which it automatically updates itself. This is a purely personal decision for my personal sites as I try to expand my knowledge and coding experience in other areas.
Let’s see how it all goes!