Over the past several years, I have fielded hundreds of questions surrounding broken WordPress websites. The problems can be deep into the code base of a custom theme, a plugin conflict, something configured on the server, or sometimes people just need to be pointed in the right direction to get what needs to be done.
The degree of technical knowledge to tackle these requests varies greatly. The size of clients varies greatly. As well as the urgency. There are those problems that arise that can be handled and corrected over the next several months; while others are “drop everything you’re doing RIGHT NOW” to resolve it.
Even with all of this diversity, there are many times the root of the problem with these broken websites can be boiled down to one fundamental concept:
I am sure this is over simplifying it and I have no doubts there are plenty of exceptions to this; but I keep seeing this crop up over and over again.
There is a tension when tackling technology:
Short-term vs long-term.
To save time and/or money, the short-term often wins out. After all, aren’t we going to need a new website by next year anyway?
- Just use a WordPress plugin for that.
- Let’s use Wix!
- We can build the whole website with this one magical theme and a dozen plugins!
- How about that one website CMS service? We don’t need to have control over our data, do we?
I’m barely scratching the surface. This is how most websites are built, and while it works out really well in the short-term, the long-term results are painful.
- Internet security is rarely given the attention it needs until there’s a breach.
- Nobody cares about old code until something fails to work.
- It’s easy to add another plugin until they are no longer updated and the dominos begin to fall.
- And everything is business as usual until the company that owns all your data is bought out by another company.
I’m not saying every decision needs to be long term. I realize we are talking about technology; something that is moving very fast and needs adjustments made all the time. But cutting corners and being cheap has a cost that I don’t think you can really afford.
It’s a balance and tension that will always exist.
Just make sure you’re considering all the variable and don’t get caught in the rut of short-term thinking because it will cost you a lot in the end.