There are about 70 million WordPress websites on the Internet – spawning 47 million new content pages each month. And, there are hundreds of thousands of developers and web development companies offering WordPress only services. The WordPress eco system is so massive and wide spread that it is considered a web development platform in itself. But, is WordPress truly capable of powering a full-fledged web portal?
If you ask this to a WordPress developer, he’ll have you believe that WordPress is like potter’s clay which can be shaped into any imaginable object. And sure enough, people have built business websites, community websites, online stores and more on WordPress.
From ground up, WordPress was designed for blogging. So on a basic installation of WordPress, all you can do is add posts, create static pages and activate built-in widgets for social media feeds. The native functionality of WordPress is good enough for publishing blogs and business websites. But, if you are looking at a robust content intensive website with portal like functionality, then native functionality will only take you so far.
For heavy duty applications, developers integrate custom built or third party plug-ins which enhance the functionality of WordPress. And, notable online publishers have spent thousands and millions of dollars on customizing WordPress. Now, this is comparable to hitching a trailer to a small car, when a small truck can serve the purpose more effectively. Any WordPress developer will tell you that WordPress offers great performance no matter what you use it for, but here are 5 points which prove that WordPress is incapable of powering web portals.
1. Not optimized for revenue generation
Web portals are driven by revenue, and they require an infrastructure which allows paid content, ads and affiliate marketing. Additionally, they require a dedicated backend for managing revenue channels and a self-service system for managing transactions.
Officially, you can’t run ads on a WordPress website unless it receives moderate to high traffic. Some WordPress plug-ins provides limited monetization capabilities, but you don’t get an extensive revenue infrastructure which is required for a web portal. What web portals really need is a revenue engine with a CMS built into it, and WordPress is nowhere in the league.
2. Plug-ins work but they don’t collaborate with each other
Most WordPress projects utilize a mix of third party plug-ins, which may have been developed by different vendors. You can imbibe the desired functionality by getting the right plug-in, but how do you make them collaborate? For instance, if you have installed events plug-in and an ad manager plug-in, how do you create ad zones on the events section of your website? The problem with plug-ins is that they integrate well with native functionalities of WordPress, but if you want your third party plug-ins to collaborate with each other then it calls for expensive customizations.
3. Unfriendly back-end for managing add-on functionality
WordPress offers a friendly backend UI for managing native functionalities and creating content. However, third party plug-ins gets limited backend real estate for housing the controls, so usability is often compromised. This results in tedious workflow for people who add content and manage the website.
4. Unavailability of unified end-user dashboard
Web portals thrive on user generated content, and most web portals allow end-users to contribute articles, event listings, classified entries etc. So, it makes sense to have a centralized user management system, and an end-user dashboard through which end-users can manage their contributions.
With third party plug-ins sourced from different vendors, you can’t have a unified end-user dashboard for managing content contributions across different modules. And, content moderation becomes a tedious chore for site administrators.
5. Insecure and vulnerable to hacking
WordPress is by far the most widely used CMS, which makes it an easy target to hacking attacks. In December 2012, over 600,000 WordPress users reported blocked log-in attempts, and by the end of the first quarter of 2013, 3 million plus blocked log-in attempts were reported. It has also been reported that an unknown group of people is attempting to create a botnet of infected servers by creating a vast network of infected WordPress installations.
For web portals, security is of paramount importance, because service failure can affect thousands of users. Considering the security issues, running a web portal on WordPress is a high risk proposal, because it will have a negative impact on credibility of the web portal.
Here is an alternative to wordpress, for building web portals: http://www.blackmonk.com/