What digital marketers really mean when they say they want WordPress

  • 18-Apr-2014

"Why can't it be as easy to use as WordPress?" or more pointedly, "Why can't we just use WordPress?"

This is the lament of many a digital marketer frustrated with their Web Content & Experience Management (WCM) system. They've either used WordPress for a personal site or blog, or an external agency has built a microsite for them on WordPress. In either case, publishing's a snap compared to their enterprisey WCM system.

As readers of our Web CMS Report know, WordPress is not for everyone. It lies very much on the product end of the product-vs.-platform spectrum, and -- like most technologies -- WordPress has at least as many weaknesses as strengths. So for most enterprises, especially larger enterprises, WordPress would not offer a good fit for general purpose WCM services, even if it's an exceptionally good blogging platform.

What they really mean

But you can't criticize your colleagues for wanting to go the WordPress route. In most cases, it's really a way of telling you something else...probably something very important:

- "Our repository is too big to navigate easily"
- "We have meaningless workflow or approval processes"
- "Our rich text editor is buggy"
- "I can't create microsites without IT"
- "I can't easily add or move widgets"
- "The site's structure is too locked down"
- And so on...

Maybe WordPress isn't the answer...

These symptoms often reflect less a deficiency in the WCM tool itself, and more a failure to implement the solution in a way that empowers marketers. If so, then the lesson for you is not necessarily to license WordPress, but to embrace simplicity and configuration-over-customization in your systems and processes.

Yet, this also means that business users need to embrace abstraction. For example, rather than creating fifty different widget types, better to have five or ten different widgets available, with the ability to easily set configurations for each instance.

A final word

WordPress has its place in the enterprise. But most readers of this blog will need something more powerful for their main enterprise WCM platform. With power comes complexity, but the savvy enterprise will make a priority of implementing a platform in such a way that it empowers marketers and editors.