Why is WordPress so hard to use? 🤔 If you just got started with the world’s most popular website building tool, you might find yourself asking that question (or maybe screaming it at your computer screen).
WordPress can be a little more difficult to use than a software as a service (SaaS) website builder like Squarespace or Wix – there’s no denying that.
But at the same time, there’s a reason WordPress powers 43.1% of all websites, while Wix and Squarespace power more like 2.6% and 2.1%, respectively .
In this post, we’ll discuss some of the main reasons why WordPress is so hard to use. Then, we’ll dig into why it’s worth putting up with that learning curve and some of the ways that you can make WordPress easier to use to improve your experience.
Why is WordPress so hard to use?
Most of the reasons why WordPress is difficult come from the fact that WordPress is open-source, self-hosted software.
In a nutshell, this means that you take the free, open-source software and install it on your own web hosting.
Because the software is running on your own hosting, you’re responsible for maintaining it, securing it, updating it, and so on.
Some web hosts give you tools to make that easier, but the basic idea is that the responsibility rests on your shoulders.
When you use a SaaS website builder, the website builder handles maintaining and hosting its software for you. While that approach has a big advantage in that it makes things a lot simpler, it also has some big drawbacks because it means that you don’t have 100% control over your website’s platform.
This basic fact is behind a lot of why you and others might find yourself asking why is WordPress so hard to use. It’s not the only thing, however.
Here are some other reasons why WordPress is hard to use.
Reliance on extensions
Another reason why WordPress is so hard to use is because of its open nature.
Rather than trying to build in every possible feature in the core WordPress software, WordPress relies on extensions from third-party developers:
- Plugins for adding functionality.
- Themes for controlling design.
Relying on extensions like this adds some difficulty in a few different ways:
- “You need a plugin for that” – a lot of features that you might think are essential – e.g., adding a contact form – require installing a plugin.
- Varying quality – some extensions are incredibly polished and very easy to use, while others might have unintuitive interfaces or be buggy. Because the extensions come from third-party developers, there’s not a lot of consistency in terms of quality or interface design.
- Potential compatibility issues – because the extensions come from third-party developers, they might not always work well together, which can increase the chances of bugs.
Trying to please everyone
If you use a website builder, like Squarespace or Wix, you need to keep in mind that such tools are specifically focused on making it easy for beginners to create a website.
WordPress, on the other hand, is trying to offer something for everyone.
Yes, WordPress wants it to be easy for beginners to make a website, but WordPress also wants it to be easy for advanced users to fully customize everything or for agencies to build custom websites for their clients.
The downside is that, by trying to be something for everyone, WordPress isn’t able to offer a single, unified setup experience like a website builder.
However, the upside is that you get a ton of flexibility and can use WordPress for literally anything.
Why it’s worth putting up with the WordPress learning curve
Now that you know why WordPress is so hard to use, you might feel like it’s time to ditch any idea of using WordPress and try one of those beginner-friendly website builders, like Squarespace or Wix.
Ok – those website builders are options, especially if you’re building a simple site. But you shouldn’t totally discount WordPress just yet.
Here are the main reasons why it’s worth putting up with the WordPress learning curve:
- Make any type of site – you can use WordPress for literally any type of site, from blogs to portfolios, online courses, social communities, eCommerce stores, and more. Website builders just can’t match this level of versatility.
- Huge extension marketplace – WordPress has an absolutely massive marketplace of plugins and themes. These give you so much flexibility for adding features to your site or customizing your design and no website builder comes close to matching this.
- Future proof – because WordPress can work for anything, it’s future-proof to a level that website builders aren’t. Want to add a course and/or discussion forum two years down the line? WordPress can do that, but a website builder might not be able to.
- Full ownership – when you host WordPress on your own server, you have full ownership of your platform, instead of keeping your data on servers that you don’t control.
- Monetize however you want – WordPress lets you make money from your site however you want, including affiliate marketing, display ads, online courses, sponsored posts, eCommerce products, and lots, lots more. Other website builders might restrict how you can make money.
How to make WordPress easier to use
Ok, now that you know the answer to “why is WordPress so hard to use?”, let’s talk about some actionable steps that you can take to make your life easier while working with WordPress.
- Use a managed WordPress host
- Level up your WordPress knowledge
- Only use high-quality extensions
- Hire a WordPress maintenance service
Use a managed WordPress host (or WordPress.com)
One of the best ways to stop wondering why is WordPress so hard to use, is by making it easier to use with a type of hosting called managed WordPress hosting.
We have a whole post on what managed WordPress hosting is, but the basic idea is that it’s a special type of hosting designed to make it easier to use WordPress.
As part of this, you typically get access to the following features:
- Expert WordPress support
- Pre-installed WordPress
- Automatic daily backups
- Automatic software updates
- A custom hosting dashboard designed for WordPress
The only notable downside of managed WordPress hosting is that it costs a little more than generic cheap hosting. Still, our collection of cheap managed WordPress hosting providers has companies that start at under $10 per month.
If you want to make things even simpler, you can use the WordPress.com Business plan, which offers a more “website builder” feel to WordPress while still letting you install themes and plugins (which lower-tier WordPress.com plans don’t support).
Level up your WordPress knowledge
Ok, telling you to “learn about WordPress” 👨🎓 to make it easier to use is kind of obvious – so sorry about that.
However, it’s still worth giving this its own point.
Because WordPress is so popular, you can find so many free learning resources. What’s more, these learning resources cover all different types of mediums.
Prefer courses? That’s fine, too! You can find tons of free and paid WordPress courses to learn more about basic or advanced topics. Check out our collections of the best free WordPress courses and the overall best WordPress courses.
Basically, you can find tons of resources to help you with any areas of WordPress where you’re experiencing difficulty. If you’re willing to put in a little time to learn from them, then wondering “why is WordPress so hard to use?” will no longer be a relevant question for you.
Only use high-quality extensions (themes and plugins)
To avoid encountering difficulties because of the extensions on your site, you should research themes and plugins (especially plugins) before installing them.
Here are some areas to focus on in your research:
- Reviews – reviews let you see the plugin’s quality based on other users’ experiences.
- Regular updates – regular updates ensure that the extension is compatible with the latest version of WordPress and also shows that the developer is maintaining the plugin.
- Developer quality – is the developer well-established? Do they have a good reputation? Do they have other plugins/themes that are also well-rated?
For reviews and updates, most marketplaces show this information, including WordPress.org and ThemeForest/CodeCanyon:
For developer quality, you can do some Googling and also open the developer’s profile/website to see their other products.
Hire a WordPress maintenance service
If you really don’t want to muck around with maintaining your WordPress site, you can find lots of WordPress maintenance services that will handle pretty much everything for you.
Some maintenance services even go as far as handling basic edits or tweaks to your site’s content or design (not all services offer this, though, so make sure to verify this if you want this type of help).
Overall though, hiring a quality maintenance service is arguably the most low-effort way to stop wondering why is WordPress so hard to use. This is because it enables you to bypass most of the reasons why WordPress is difficult, and just focus on growing your site.
The only downside? You’ll need to pay some money. These services typically start at around $50 per month and go up from there depending on the level of service that you want.
👉 If you’re interested in this type of help, check out our collection of the best WordPress maintenance services.
Why is WordPress so hard to use? Now you know!
Overall, WordPress does have a higher learning curve than most SaaS website builder tools. It’s still within reach of beginners, but it might take you some time to get up and running.
However, for a lot of users, the added flexibility and ownership that WordPress offers is worth putting in the time to overcome that learning curve. Plus, there are tons of free resources to help you get over the hump. If you’re willing to set aside some time to learn from them, you will eventually stop asking why is WordPress so hard to use.
On the other hand, ✋ if you don’t think WordPress’s learning curve is worth it for your situation, you might prefer a SaaS website builder instead – just be aware that you’ll be sacrificing some flexibility and control. You can check out our collection of the best website builders to see your options.
Do you have any questions about the difficulties associated with WordPress? Did this article help you understand why is WordPress so hard to use (and some ways to make it easier)? Leave a comment below!