When it comes to building a church website, there are many options that exist. One of the most common platforms that people use is WordPress. However, this is not the best choice. WordPress is widely popular and millions of websites around the world use this platform. However, just because something is popular does not mean it is the best. To help you make a more informed decision, we will take a look at 19 reasons why you shouldn’t build your website with WordPress.

Here is was your freelance designer didn’t tell you about WordPress and your next church websites

WordPress Security Issues

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of security holes that exist in WordPress which makes it extremely easy for hackers, spammers and other people with malicious intent to target and hijack your website. Statistically, church websites are among the highest attacked. WordPress websites are notoriously known for being extremely easy to infiltrate, which means that your site would be more vulnerable to attacks. Worst of all, if your site has sensitive information or you spent thousands of hours on your content, then it can all go down the drain and be easily accessed by hackers.

Unfortunately, your site would be extremely vulnerable, and you may not even know it has been attacked for a long period of time. This is quite unacceptable and definitely a huge downside of using WordPress. In the event that your site is attacked, then you will have to hire a WordPress security specialist to help you secure your website and fix it so that it is less susceptible to attack. To be clear, this is going to be “cheap” or “free” which might be the reason your church is considering using WordPress in the first place.

WordPress Gets a Lot of Spam

If you’ve been around on the internet for any amount of time, then you know that internet spam is a huge issue that only seems to get worse with time. WordPress has a blog posting system which is basically a magnet for spam posters and spam posting robots. Therefore, if you have a WordPress website, you will likely get flooded by thousands of spam, every single day. These spambots are completely automated, and they will continuously perform brute force attacks on your website. Even if you turn off the blog posting system on WordPress, you will still get attacked by spam. This means that you will have to manually delete spam on a regular basis or enable bloated software or plugins to block it.

However, if you have an actual blog and you need to enable comments, then you will actually have to manually delete spam comments since some will still find their way on your website. This will create a poor experience for your users, which means you will have to spend a significant amount of time deleting and removing spam. As you know, time is something that we as church leaders don’t have much of so we certainly don’t want to spend it deleting spammy comments on our blog posts or sermons page.

Issues with Plugins

Once you install WordPress, you will have to download plugins in order to increase the functionality of your website. While this may seem to be a good thing, it actually isn’t. That’s because each plugin will need to constantly be updated, which can be extremely annoying if you have a lot of plugins on your site. Additionally, WordPress usually needs to update every month or few months, and when this occurs, many of the modules or plugins on your site will stop working. As a result, you will need to enlist a developer to help diagnose the problem and fix it. This is extremely painstaking, requires a lot of time and can cost you a significant amount of money.

Also, in many cases, if you have certain plugins installed on your site, they may be incompatible with another plugin already on your site. As a result, you will have to spend even more time to look for another similar plugin that doesn’t clash. This is extremely frustrating in the long run and again, another time and money waster.

Severe Limitations

When you have built a website using WordPress, you are stuck within the confines of their coding and CSS format/structure. This means that while you can change the body of your page, i.e., the content, you won’t be able to have direct access to the HTML source or PHP files. This means that you won’t be able to add CSS or Javascript to your site like you normally would. So, you are not able to alter page structure on your site, and you don’t have much control over your website outside of the theme options. Theme builders do this as a way to “protect” you; the problem is, your website is dependent on one of the thousands of theme builders out there with no way to verify their skill levels.  

The only way that you can gain greater control over your website is to hire a WordPress programmer or developer and then have them make the changes for you. However, this, of course, takes a lot of time and you have to find and pay a developer. This will leave you wondering why you didn’t start with a system that will enable you to be creative and to communicate your personality from the start of your new website project.

Lots of Buggy and Bulky Code

Since you will have to download a lot of additional plugins to improve your website, this will bog down your hosting significantly over time. This is especially true if you not only installed plugins but other 3rd party apps and software. It will create a lot of bulky and buggy code which will completely slow down your website and create a poor user experience, causing many of your web visitors to abandon your site. In 2018, website retention is a major factor in your website ranking on Google. Learn more about Google’s RankBrain.  

Also, you should note there is no WordPress development team, which means that there is no real support to help you when you run into these problems. Instead, you will have to use public WordPress forums and hope that someone helps and gives advice. This is extremely unreliable, and in the event you don’t get a response, you will have to figure it out on your own or hire a developer. Or, you may have to delete as many plugins and apps as possible, which will decrease the functionality of your site.

Limited Creativity

The font, layout and entire structure of each page on your website would be dictated by WordPress and the theme CSS formatting. This format is extremely difficult to change, and most people are not able to do so on their own. As a result, you would be quite limited in your ability to creatively design your website since WordPress has so many design limitations.

As a result, you will have to hire a web designer to create custom graphics for your site as well as any other custom content. This can be quite the frustrating process as well since it will take a lot of work in order to make your site look different and stand out from other WordPress websites. As you can imagine, the costs just keep adding up …

Bad SEO?

SEO (or search engine optimization) is essential if you want to get your website ranked highly on Google. The higher you rank on Google, the more organic traffic you will get, which is the aim of most websites. And, in order to rank, your site has to be properly optimized according to Google’s ranking factors. However, WordPress actively creates sites that are not SEO optimized and actually hurt your SEO.

For one, most WordPress sites have pages that are bloated, have too much code and are extremely slow. This means that Google has to spend a lot of time searching through WordPress code since quite often, it is not optimal for Google’s search engine robots. This results in automatically lower rankings, which is definitely not desired. Also, as mentioned previously, WordPress sites tend to get a lot of spam, and they naturally attract it. Spam is one of the negative ranking factors for SEO, which means that if your site has a lot of spam, it won’t rank highly in Google. This may actually lead to Google and other search engines blacklisting your website, which you need to avoid.

Additionally, there are many plugins that you can install to help with your SEO. However, these SEO plugins may work for a while and then become outdated, or the plugin developers may fail to update them. This can cause a negative effect on your SEO and even cause your rankings to drop.

WordPress Hosting

Unfortunately, there are many website hosts that only allow you to use WordPress for your website. They may advertise this as the easiest way to get started, however, the only easy thing is pressing the button to install WordPress. As you can tell from above, it is easy to install WordPress, but extremely difficult to customize it on your own without the help of a developer. As a result, it is essential that you thoroughly check out a host before you buy a hosting plan and only purchase a plan that allows you to build other types of websites.

Content and Copyright Issues

There are content and copyright issues that you will need to consider when you use WordPress to create your website. Their terms of service indicate that they will have royalty-free access to your data in order to promote your blog or website. There is even a clause about termination which says that Automattic can actually terminate your access to all or any part of your website, at any given time, which is quite alarming, especially considering how things are going with large companies filtering content they don’t agree with.

As you can see, even though WordPress is “free” to install and use; you might be giving up some of your ownership of the website according to their terms, without warning.

Limited WordPress Themes

When you install WordPress, the next thing you need to do is choose and install a theme. Of course, there are thousands of free themes available, but in most cases, these themes are not high quality, and they come with bloated code or even malicious code that can hurt your website visitors and SEO. In many cases, you will have to buy a premium WordPress theme which can cost you between $15 – $100+ depending on the type of theme you purchase. However, the fact remains that most themes look quite similar to one another and your choices of good themes are limited.

Once you purchase a theme, you may think that it is a one-off purchase, but that is not true. You may have to pay to update the theme every year, and you may even run the risk of the developer not doing any further updates. If the developer doesn’t update the theme, then it may become incompatible with your plugins in the future, and then you will have to go through the trouble to find a new theme.

Hidden Costs

Once you have chosen a theme, purchased it and installed it on your site, you may want to make changes to the style of your site. However, you cannot do this on your own, and you will need to purchase a Custom Design Upgrade from WordPress so that you can customize the CSS on your blog. It will cost $36 per year to purchase the Custom Design Upgrade editor (which could be another hidden cost that you didn’t expect), and it is only a text editor. If you have many blogs and want to customize the CSS on each one of them, then you will have to purchase the editor for each one, which can be quite expensive.

Worst of all, the editor is a text editor only, and there is no visual editor. While you can change some elements on your site with the editor, you will not be able to remove the copyright information on the theme. This should be fine if you’re creating a personal blog, but it is certainly undesirable if you’re creating a website for a business or clients.

No Real WordPress Support

Another negative of using WordPress for a site is that there is no official support to help you when you run into problems. There is no official WordPress support team that you can contact, and the only forms of support that exist are from plugin and theme developers, volunteer support and WP communities made up of random people around the world that use WordPress. Therefore, you are stuck relying on the person that originally published your site and after being in this business for so many years, I can tell you “professional designers” come and go very frequently.

If you choose to buy a commercial theme from a specific company, then they will most likely have support to help you with the theme you purchased. However, they only provide theme specific support and not general support for the other issues you may have with WordPress. As a result, this lack of support makes it extremely unwise to use WordPress since you are basically on your own and will have to figure out most things by yourself.

Difficult for Beginners

It is widely advertised that WordPress is a great platform for anyone to build a website and is extremely beginner-friendly. However, this is far from the truth, and this platform is actually quite difficult to use and not beginner-friendly at all. Since there is no official support, there is no support team that you can turn to in order to get help. Instead, you will have to take your time and learn WordPress on your own.

The only way to learn really, is to look online for tutorials and on YouTube for instructional videos. However, these videos and tutorials are made from other users of WordPress and may be outdated or even incorrect since WordPress changes so frequently. Therefore, you will have to learn WordPress through trial and error which will take a lot of time and effort. This makes it extremely difficult for beginners to learn. With our solution, we give you a Ministry Sucess Rep and their only job is to make sure you know to always use your website tools.

Lack of Functionality

The entire point of having plugins is to increase the functionality of your site. However, even though WordPress has thousands of different plugins, most of them don’t provide proper or full functionality. Sometimes, you may require a plugin to do a specific task. However, the chances are that you will find plugins that do the task to some degree but not completely or in the way you want it done. Therefore, your only choices are to either compromise and use the inferior plugin or create a completely new plugin from scratch.

Creating a plugin requires you to hire a WordPress developer and spend a significant amount of time and money to get the plugin completed. Also, by the time you get the plugin completed, it may not even be needed.

Issues Migrating Servers

It is common knowledge that all websites that exist are hosted on third-party servers that are known as web hosts. Once you get your website hosted on a particular web host, you may at some point in the future need to move your website from that host to another host. This may be necessary for a variety of reasons such as upgrading to a better quality host, a host that is more cost-effective or one that provides more bandwidth or uptime, etc. Whatever the case may be, you will probably need to migrate from your current host to a new host at some time. However, the complexity of WordPress websites makes this quite difficult to do. In many cases, other types of websites that are not hosted with WordPress are much easier to move, but WordPress will take more time and expertise. If you’re inexperienced with WordPress, then you will most likely need assistance from a developer to change hosts.

15 (B) In addition to all of the server and migration issues that we just discussed, there is also another MAJOR problem that must be mentioned. Most of the time a freelancer will publish your website on shared hosting provider; there are hundreds of them. Often you can get shared hosting cheap, but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. A lot of times freelancers or WordPress designers buy shared hosting space and then upcharge you monthly. Although there is nothing wrong with this as a business model, there could be a lot things that go wrong with your website. In these shared hosting environments, your website could share an IP address with anything. There are no limits to what these companies will host (I’ll let your imagination run). That means that if for some reason your church’s website shares an IP address that gets an IP ban from search engines or email provides due to their content, your site will be banned as well. You want to be very careful about shared hosting environments.

Lack of Originality

If you’ve seen one or two WordPress sites, you’ve seen them all. One of the downsides of having a WordPress website is that it won’t look unique since most of these sites look like copies of each other, even with different themes. This is especially true if you’re running a blog, since the blogs are not as customizable. Also, because of the difficulty in changing the source code and CSS of a website, most people end up simply using their WordPress themes as is.

Updates Can Break Your Site

If you take the time to have a custom theme created or even do custom coding on your site, it is possible that your site may not be functional after a few WordPress updates. WordPress typically updates the core software every few months in order to fix bugs, security issues, etc. However, there is a high chance that after one of their many updates, your customized WordPress site may not work and you will have to get it fixed by a developer. This is extremely stressful and will cause a significant amount of downtime on your site, which is obviously not desirable with all of the activities, sermons, and events you have on your website.

WordPress IS Costly

If you’ve read most of the points made above, you will see that it would be necessary to hire a WordPress developer or programmer at some point. WordPress is advertised as being stress-free and cheap, but this simply isn’t true. You will have to hire a developer to help with security issues, design issues, customizing and plugin issues etc. Therefore, if you use WordPress for your site, it will cost you a great deal of money and may cost you even more than if you used another platform like the closed source and much more stable solution like we offer at Ministry Designs.

WordPress Isn’t Suitable

If want to create a website that is going to be easy to update and maintain and allow you to get your content on your site quickly and with little frustration, WordPress is not for you. You’re not going to want your untrained volunteer, with not experience logging with the ability to break something and no support to turn to.

As you can see, there are numerous downsides of using WordPress for your website. We have just looked at 19 reasons why you should not use WordPress to create your church website, and I am certain there are many more. Even though WordPress may seem like a quick, easy and free option, this is definitely not the case upon closer examination. So, with that said, be sure to do your research and thoroughly think about all of your options before deciding on what to use to create your website.

We are confident that you would be much better served with the solution from Ministry Designs which has taken all of these factors into consideration when we built our tools specifically for the needs of the church.