Personal editing. Professional results.

Watch out for website wags

April 9, 2019
Posted by:
Ron Seybold

I recently ran into a web designer who said in a glib tone, “WordPress sucks.” I tried to share my history with Joomla (ouch!) with him, but he was all “there’s a Frankenstein of code inside WordPress.” Yeah, and countless companies doing good web commerce and connection using it. I’m pretty well versed with a WordPress dashboard.
I didn’t cut code. I make content and thought up business products and services.

With Joomla it didn’t help that I had a web designer who could build-out just fine for a shoe store or a garden center. Making modifications and tuneups and the interface with customers, not so good. Building for anybody but yourself is graduate-level work. Plenty of people are ready to help build simple websites. Mine was anything but, since I come from editorial work. Mine looked good, but oy, did it ever show off its open-sourced roots. My designer never wanted to use anything that was built on a pro basis from the start. Cheap was important to her. Joomla and her build-out was all so lightly documented. It’s hard to improve a site fast with something that someone else built. With my designer, learning always involved a phone call.

It didn’t get better once my Joomla site was injected with malware scripts. Twice. I changed hosting (now at SiteGround) and got an intermediate firewall company (SiteLock at $60 monthly) to keep the security problems away. When you make your living off a website and Google’s searches on you include “This website may be infected,” that’s a moment of panic. That was on the old hosting company, yes, but it’s also on me for having a Joomla install that wasn’t auto updated and had a lot of those hobbyist plug ins and extensions which the “gee-it’s-free” developers roll out. And then don’t secure.

SiteGround auto-updates my WordPress (and believe me, I know people are trying to hack into WordPress. It’s everywhere, like Windows) and my designer who built wants to secure me as much as I do. I come to the WordPress use from much more direct experience. I get lost in theme modification and configurations, though. If a developer can modify the CSS, that puts me so much closer to the pro look that I want.

My problem is I that learned publishing in the paper era. We controlled every user experience because the medium was the same everywhere. Losing that control, and giving myself over the the dynamic nature of web, still annoys me. Three different sizes of smartphones and two operating systems always alters the experience. When I want a border to be 5 pixels outside of content, I want to know where in the theme I modify it.

There’s another website out there selling books and collecting reader names.  Slick and sweet. It’s a WordPress installation with a Leadpages plugin. $48 monthly for Leadpages. Spend money to look like a pro and make money, I always say.

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