July 11, 2022

Why Wordpress Can’t Scale with High-Growth Marketing Leads and Teams

image of running track with title, why wordpress can't scale with high growth marketing team leads and teams
image of running track with title, why wordpress can't scale with high growth marketing team leads and teams

Introduction

Content runs the world. But behind any ambitious marketing team, there is a content management system bursting at the seams. When Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little launched WordPress in 2003, they couldn’t have imagined the scale to which content would grow.

Now responsible for conversions, education, and information provided in 8.5 billion searches on Google daily, content has surpassed the confines of traditional content management systems.

Marketers and development teams find themselves increasingly stifled by what they can and can’t do with WordPress. It’s hard to personalise content, and it’s hard to sustain converting website speed when it’s bogged down by thousands of pages.

How did we get here? And how do we get there - to the bright future of blazing-fast speed and delightfully-converting content?

To find the right route to the future, we must first look at the past.

[Table of contents]

1. A Brief History of Content Management System Evolution

  • 1985 - Ted Smith launches FileNet, the first organised approach to managing documents, images, and workflows.
  • 1996 - First enterprise content management systems appear, including Documentum, Inso, and FutureTense.
  • The early 2000s - Open-source CMS frameworks make an appearance, and they’re here to stay with the launches of WordPress, OpenCMS, Drupal, Joomla, and others.
  • 2003 - WordPress is launched, and the no-code template revolution begins with CMS providers like WP and SquareSpace. CMS is monolithic and contains the back end, front end, databases, and other website building blocks.
  • 2008 - Apple launches the first iPhone. Marketers and developers scramble to provide mobile users with faster web-content loading experiences.
  • 2010 - Ethan Marcotte establishes the foundations of responsive design.
  • The early 2010s - Brands double down on content development. Kraft Foods increases its marketing ROI by 4x with content marketing. Searchers crave more information. Brands crave a direct connection to their audience. Content marketing slips into the vocabulary of marketers everywhere.
  • The mid-2010s - We start paying the price of high-volume content production. Websites running on traditional CMS like WordPress start slowing down and breaking.
  • Mid-to-late 2010s - A new wave to decouple the back-end and the delivery layer in content management systems rises: the headless CMS.
  • 2020 and beyond - headless CMS, hybrid CMS, content conversion OS, powerful websites without slowing down. The future of content management is here.


2. Why WordPress Stands Strong in 2022

Ever since we realised we could reach and convert more prospects with the help of content, we have been producing it like the world is ending tomorrow, and we’re still one customer short.

Throughout it all, WordPress has remained, and it continues to be the most popular CMS choice despite the coupled approach (in which everything is stored in one place, so the entire back-end has to load for the visitor to see the content).

In fact, WordPress is now used by 43% of all the websites on the internet. And there are four very good reasons for it.

Convenience

The first reason for our continuous use of WordPress is convenience. We know WordPress - we trust it. It’s slow, clunky, but robust enough to power the basic experiences with plugins. First-time website owners searching for the best content management system in 2022 will see lists upon lists recommending WordPress as the best option. It’s an easy way past the website stack gate with a low learning curve.

Pricing

WordPress is completely free. All you have to do to use it is register a domain name and purchase hosting. After that, installation is easy. You’ll find yourself in a familiar dashboard with all the familiar perks and quirks. When designing a website, businesses don’t have to start from scratch.

Open Source

Once installed, WordPress can be customised. Due to its open-source nature and the REST API, millions of users and developers have added their performance improvements, plugins, and changes to the back-end, turning it into the product it is today.

Ease of Use

WordPress is a household name even US government agencies use to power their websites. There is a good reason for it: it’s easy to use. When compared to other content management systems, WordPress is beginner and user-friendly. The dashboard is as streamlined as can be. Even tech-unsavvy users can customise with plugins. Everything is accessible at the touch of a button.

Unfortunately, there comes the point at which not even the most user-friendly CMS can do the trick your revenue needs.

4. The Limitations of WordPress for Marketers

In a world where B2B buyers complete 70% of the purchasing research before contacting your sales team for the first time (and your content has a significant effect on 90% of them), a robust content strategy is no longer optional.

The main question is: can WordPress support your strategy?

WordPress Doesn’t Allow for Out-of-the-Box Thinking

You can accomplish a lot with plugins; drag & drop your way to a website, enhance SEO, or fight spam comments. However, if you want to build a digital experience, WordPress can’t help you.

Even if your development team or agency adds every possible plugin to create a semblance of a digital experience, you’ll still suffer from plugin updates, lost support, and website code bloating.

Every new plugin is a loading hazard. With additional third-party integrations for more powerful functionalities that integrate your marketing stack, you risk slowing down your website and decreasing your conversion rate.

Forget About Dynamic Content with WordPress

WordPress is a monolithic content management system. In tech-speak, your back-end database and infrastructure are served from the same place as your front-end experience. When a website has to load all this data simultaneously, implementing dynamic and personalised content that adapts to every website visitor is nearly impossible.

Like a car with summer tyres trying to navigate two meters of snow, WordPress cracks under the pressure of dynamic content.

Some agencies have risen to the challenge by using WordPress’s REST API, but much like trying to fit your foot into a shoe two sizes too small, the connection breaks. Instead of an increased conversion rate, you find another stressor on your marketing plate: uptime.

WordPress Just Isn’t Secure

In 2021, WordPress experienced a 150% growth in vulnerabilities. There’s nothing wrong with the system itself - plugins are to blame. The plugin vulnerability is so widespread that hackers now actively target WordPress websites because they’re easier to access.

In the era of consumer privacy with laws such as GDPR and CCPA, one website hack can lead to fines so high that you have to pull the shutters down. Even if you recoup the losses, you’ll need expert help to strengthen your website against new attacks.

And should the sensitive financial information of your customers be compromised, your brand will take a credibility hit no awareness campaign will be able to fix.

WordPress SEO Plugins Don’t Mean Good SEO

WordPress SEO plugins could have helped your website SEO back in the early 2000s when you could add dozens of keywords to your content, buy a scammy link or two, and call it a day, knowing your website will rank quickly.

Today, WordPress’s slow loading time and poor user experience nullify the benefits of SEO plugins. In addition to technical aspects, consider competitiveness: if your competitors are powering websites that offer new and enticing content to searchers, why would a searcher linger on your website?

Hidden Costs

WordPress may be free to install. However, maintenance, plugins, and Content Delivery Networks aren’t free. If your website is hacked, you won’t want to see the post-hack cleanup fee, much less sign off on it.

Paying more makes sense if you’re paying for better functionality. Don’t pay more only to continue sacrificing opportunities.




4. The Sunk Cost Fallacy or: Why It’s Hard to Switch from WordPress

WordPress pulls you into its ecosystem. With millions of users contributing to its development, it promises a solution for every challenge on your plate. The problem is, WordPress isn’t inherently meant for marketers. It’s light, but it’s not agile or made to scale.

Marketing in 2022 is past the point of lite CMS. It needs robust frameworks that support business goals, advanced tracking, personalised experiences, and any new development we send their way.

The Swiss Knife of CMS

As the Swiss knife of content management systems, WordPress can be used by anyone. But if you need it for something specific, you’ll be disappointed.

Used by hobby bloggers, small businesses, mid-market companies, enterprises, and non-governmental organisations, WordPress has to cast a wide net so as to avoid excluding anyone from its target audience.

If your business needs are met in that net, don’t switch. But if you’re reading this, you’re outgrowing WordPress and paying for the continued use monetarily and in missed opportunities.

The Sunk-Cost Fallacy

Everyone wants a fantastic website, and they want it done as quickly as possible. If you’re used to the CMS-imposed limitations at the same time, it’s hard to fully commit. You’re not alone, but the throwaway approach to website development is becoming an obstacle to designing websites that convert.

Even though throwaway development looks fast and cheap, it ends up charging you later down the line. As you rush through the necessary steps, telling yourself you can just fix it later, you create a glued-together solution that can’t scale with your business. It’ll hold for the time being, but you’ll be wasting money on development, backlinks, SEO, and opportunities.

Your costs rise with new plugins, prototypes, and features. Like an endless upsell funnel from a two-bit business coach who’s only ever sold to potential business coaches, you’re spending more and more money without getting the value you actually need.


5. Why Your Product Team Hates Your Marketing Stack

Marketing websites are like Mars bars. They let you eat them, but it’s only because you insist - not because they’re good for you.

If you’re like the average marketer, you have more than 10 tools and apps in your marketing stack. Now, for developers, every integration is a red flag. Tools and integrations you want in your marketing stack (based on the unstable foundations of WordPress) expose your website to risks.

Mary Shelley Joins the Conversation

If you looked under the hood of your marketing website, you wouldn’t see rhyme or reason. You’d see Frankenstein’s monster; a stack scrapped together from the building blocks of CMS, third-party integrations with HubSpot or Salesforce, tracking solutions, and other knick-knacks.

Nothing works the way it should because it hasn’t been built to - it’s been taped together. But it won’t hold forever, and your product team knows it.

Code Quality

Building a marketing website is like developing a universal language. Every app in the stack has its own rules. The code was written by different people. When we try to sync them with your stack, we deal with duplicate or ineffective code, and outright conflicts (that we often can’t fix due to the license terms).

As your business grows, you ask for more integrations. Instead of a plug-and-play affair, we need to dive in again to rework the entire construction.

The Security Risks of Marketing Websites

No integrated connection will ever be one hundred per cent secure. Hackers find a way to exploit integrations. If your third-party app provider hasn’t updated their own stack, you’re at risk.

When you own the foundations of your website (or the majority of your critical architecture), you can protect it. With integrations and Frankenstein marketing websites, your business is out of your hands.

Your Marketing Stack Is a Temporary Solution

... which is why your product team hates it. Yes, you were forced to build this towering stack to avoid losing leads. You know you’re duplicating efforts and haemorrhaging money, but the traditional CMS just couldn’t support it.

You’re not alone. Marketers everywhere feel the same way, which is precisely why a new wave of content management technology is rising.

In a world where consumers demand more and marketing teams have brighter ideas, technology advances to provide the long-term solution to content management.


6. The Future of Content Management Is Headless

You will always be forced to compromise with a traditional, monolithic content management system. When you scale, you’ll have to trade functionality for speed which, in turn, reduces your revenue.

This is no way to market.

Instead, take a deep breath and cut your sunk marketing stack costs. Headless content management systems decouple content and presentation so your website can go farther, load faster, and grow with you (without the growing pains).

How Headless CMS Works

Think of your website as a body. Your website content is in your body, and you present it in the head. With a CMS like WordPress, your body and your head are inseparable - everything is stored and delivered from the same place.

With a headless CMS, your website’s body and head are decoupled. You store your content in your CMS and choose where you want to deliver it, giving you more possibilities.

Your website isn’t built on top of your CMS, as is the case with a WordPress website. Instead, your CMS is added as an extra functionality.

Unlike a traditional CMS, a headless CMS isn’t a compromise of functionality vs ease of use. You can still manage your content like you usually would, but your website is safer, more powerful, customisable, and ready to scale with you.

A Quick Note on the Headless CMS Technology

The best headless CMS stacks are built using Sanity and NextJS.

On the surface, you can add any functionality to your website. Your developers will have no problems using the NextJS engine to add new features and customise your site to your liking.

In most cases, headless CMS is always a better alternative to traditional solutions due to its flexibility and ease of use (and implementation). However, let’s assess your website stack first.


7. A Rapid-Fire Guide to Assessing Your Website Technology

When assessing your website technology, focus on the technical aspects. You can ask your developers to join you (they probably have their own pain points).

Then, follow our checklist below - ✅

1. Infrastructure evaluation

a) What are the key technologies your website wouldn’t function without?

b) Which plugins or integrations are a key part of your website stack?

c) Is your website architecture organised and intuitive?

d) How big are your website file sizes?

e) Run a static analysis to identify reliability and maintainability of your website

f) Run a website security test


2. Performance evaluation

a) How fast does your website load? Check different devices.

b) Do all of your website assets load on all devices?

c) Is the status code of each website page 200 (OK)?

d) Check for scripting issues

3. Business evaluation

a) Review conversion rate, dwell time, pages per session, and other key metrics

b) Review your SEO performance

c) Create and test a user journey map

d) Evaluate your website conversion funnel

e) Does your website meet your needs in full? If not, what’s missing?

If the majority of your revenue comes from digital marketing, you don’t need to juggle WordPress plugins. Your attention needs to be on what generates results: campaigns and content.


8. Paving the Way for the Future with a Content Conversion OS

We need a paradigm shift. Websites don’t generate conversions on their own. They need people who, in turn, need a content conversion operating system.

Headless CMS Was Just the Beginning

Thanks to headless CMS’s decoupled nature, we can build content conversion operating systems.

With a content conversion OS, your website becomes the central point around which the different aspects of your marketing revolve.

Instead of managing different functions like SEO and conversion rate optimisation through various portals and connecting them to your website via flimsy integrations, a conversion OS allows you to integrate everything perfectly.

Your content feeds into your SEO. You can set up an A/B test to increase your conversion rate in minutes rather than hours. Your website is protected from hacker attacks.

Everything happens organically - the way marketing is supposed to be in the 21st century.

How Content Conversion OS Helps Marketing Teams

Content conversion OS builds on headless CMS foundations to offer a seamless, real-time editorial experience. If you’re preparing to launch a campaign, you can go from wireframe to implementation in minutes (with very little IT involvement).

You won’t lose any more marketing opportunities because your system doesn’t support personalisation at scale. Content conversion OS was built to scale next-generation personalisation, and it offers enough freedom for you to make it your own.

All the building blocks of your website are already there, so you launch at 70% done - as opposed to starting from scratch or navigating the world of WordPress plugins.

When you’re ready to customise further and scale, your developers can easily add functionality without worrying about plugin compatibility or messy code, bringing down the development time to record-low levels.

With version control, you truly are in control. Even if your entire team collaborates directly in your content management style, you’ll be able to launch the right version, preventing doubled efforts or off-brand live versions.

Marketing attribution is simple. With traditional CMS, you add more apps, causing app sprawl that prevents you from fully visualising your data. In contrast, a content conversion OS powered by headless CMS technology offers straightforward analytics, so you get insights faster than ever.

Finally, content conversion operating systems are built with different devices in mind. They’re mobile-friendly by default, allowing you to customise experiences for different audience segments.

We’ve come far from launching our first websites in the early 2000s. We’ve graduated from WordPress plugins and third-party integrations. Marketing is brighter, louder, and smarter.

You need a solution that doesn’t hold you back. And with a content conversion OS, you get the freedom to create anything.




9. Side-by-Side Comparison: WordPress vs Content Conversion OS

10. Testimonial

Coming soon..


11. Scale with a Next-Generation Approach to Content Management

We built some of our very first websites with WordPress. We’ve used the plugins (and lost our minds over them). We saw the world change with terabytes of data served by Google, and with Facebook unleashing the full extent of advertising capabilities. The world we lived in when WordPress was first launched in 2003 isn’t the same world we live in today.

Consumers want more and, frankly, so do marketing teams. Instead of struggling to implement campaigns or even upload content to WordPress, we need a solution that unlocks the full power of our creativity.

Content conversion OS, powered by headless CMS technology, makes sure your website loads fast and stays secure. It’s ready to scale when you are, so get creative and don’t hold back.

It’s time to experience the content conversion engine first-hand and revitalise your marketing.

(Your revenue and developers will thank you.)

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