We’ve all used it in some way, shape, or form. In fact, up to 26% of websites worldwide are powered by WordPress, making it one of the most popular content management systems globally. For many uses, WordPress is a fantastic choice. It’s aesthetically pleasing, easily customizable, and up and running in no time. However, it’s also easy to fall into the trap of thinking that WordPress is the best system for all your online needs—when in fact, this is not always the case. Here we to look at some of the downsides of using a WordPress intranet theme as an intranet solution and suggest a better alternative.
Lots Of Options, Lots Of Headaches
One of the big attractions to WordPress is the vast array of plugins and different themes that it offers users. It seems as though there is a plugin to serve every purpose under the sun—over 40,000 of them! When creating a blog (WordPress’s core purpose), these can be great. However, many users find that the sheer range and complexity of plugins are a real headache.
For example, imagine that you’re looking to have a document sharing center and a staff calendar as part of your WordPress intranet. These would both require plugins, which would seem like a straightforward task. The issue is, WordPress plugins are supplied by thousands of different developers, meaning that you’re likely to end up with two different plugins, run by different suppliers. What does this mean for you? Most likely different support policies, varying schedules for updates, differing mobile compatibility, and a completely different look and feel. Overall? Messy.
Having such a range of plugins to choose from may seem like an intranet heaven, but it’s far from it. They clutter and complicate your intranet, adding unnecessary third parties and creating a disjointed experience. If you’re looking for a great intranet design to engage your staff, WordPress may be the intuitive choice, but it’s not the logical one.
Using A Blogging Site… For Intranet
If you choose to use WordPress to create your intranet, what you’re doing is using a blogging website, for an intranet. As much as WordPress tries to appeal to broader purposes than its initial target market of bloggers, at the end of the day, it’s still a blogging tool.
With this in mind, WordPress has not been designed in the same way that an intranet solution will have been. Some of the typical features you may wish for your intranet to have, such as different levels of access to different pages, may actually be rather difficult to create in practice. Inevitably, the answer for everything on WordPress is plugins—but as we already know, these come with their own set of issues. Often we find that an intranet with all the necessary features takes a painfully long time to load on WordPress, purely because of the quantity of plugins that must be loaded with every new page. Contrast this to an intranet hosted on software specifically designed for intranet, and the difference is remarkable.
Support Responsiveness, What’s That?
An intranet is all about engagement. It’s designed to enhance engagement, and its success pivots around staff engagement. That’s why one of the most important features of an intranet provider is their service—their ability to dive in and fix problems immediately before staff get apathetic and begin disengaging with the platform.
Unfortunately, this level of responsiveness is simply not present in WordPress intranets. For starters, issues are more likely to occur, given the number of plugins needed to run the necessary features of an intranet. Importantly though, there’s no one provider with a service agreement. As we’ve touched on, different plugins are run by different suppliers, often individuals. If your document sharing center crashes, your staff may have reverted back to paper-based systems before Gary from Albuquerque has responded to your calls.
To Build, Or To Buy?
One of the questions that always comes up early on in a discussion about intranet implementation is “Should we build our own? Or buy one off the shelf?” It can be tempting, particularly for large companies with well-resourced IT teams and servers, to build an intranet solution to meet the bespoke needs of their company. This can come with a few pitfalls, however:
- Creating your own bespoke intranet can be deceptively time and labor intensive
- Housing a server requires a physical space
- Ongoing management, maintenance and security the server and intranet become your sole responsibility
So, why not buy an off-the-shelf WordPress intranet solution? It’s cost effective, quick to set up and easy to manage, but beyond this, it’s not all plain sailing. Firstly, you’ll have to host the solution yourself unless you are going pay to host it in the cloud. The cost for hosting with the performance level needed for a stable intranet alone will be the same as paying for a cloud intranet that's ready to go. Secondly, you’ll have a restricted level of functionality, depending on the provider’s development schedule. Thirdly, you’ll likely find that after a couple of years, a new solution is required, if you choose a cloud intranet solution, then it will stay up to date with current trends.
To truly make the most of a WordPress intranet, you’ll need someone on your team who has a thorough knowledge of WordPress. Technical expertise in CSS is necessary too, which is often not available in small to medium-sized organizations. Even if it is, it comes at a cost—and is building an intranet, on a blogging website, really the best use of that resource?
WordPress websites are notorious for security concerns. Given the overwhelming popularity of WordPress globally for its core offerings, it’s naturally vulnerable to SQL injections, hacking, and other unwanted attention. No doubt WordPress is working hard to address these concerns in their updates, however, at the end of the day responsibility for security lies with you. That means if you want cutting-edge security features, such as SSL, you’ll need to set those up yourself.
WordPress Intranet Theme?
We love WordPress, just not for an intranet.
So, what’s the alternative? We believe it’s a cloud intranet solution. Some cloud intranets have several advantages over WordPress, such as:
- No requirement for specific technical knowledge
- Easily customizable, pre-tested templates and features
- Easy to set up, guided site builder process
- Mobile responsiveness
- Secure external hosting using industry-leading online security features
- Straightforward ongoing management for users and content
- High availability and uptime (approx. 99.99%)
- Fully integrated platform, and no need for plugins
- Responsibility for updates and backups remains with the provider
Ultimately, if your business wants an intranet that doesn’t compromise on functionality or service, that your staff can be engaging with within hours, then consider a cloud intranet. Doesn’t it make sense to choose a solution that has been specifically designed for the purpose in mind, rather than a cobbled together set of plugins on a platform originally designed for an entirely different use?
Get in touch with us at MyHub if you’d like to know more about cloud intranets. MyHub is the premier cloud intranet choice for hundreds of businesses of different sizes and in different markets across the globe. Contact us today for a free intranet demo and to find out why.