Simple is better

WordPress is pretty darned impressive in its capabilities, but just because WordPress can do practically anything doesn’t mean you have to go there.

Because there are downsides to doing too much. It is so easy to go overboard with a complicated design and tons of impressive plugins (40,000 + and growing). You might think more is better, but actually this couldn’t be further from the truth. Here are five reasons to keep your WordPress site simple:

  1. Page load time. The last thing you need is to lose prospective customers because your website loads too slowly. Complex design elements generally translate into lots of graphics on your site, which slows down the page load time. Custom coding associated with design elements can also slow page load. But the biggest culprits to a slow website are usually specific plugins or too many plugins.
  2. Search engines. If one of your WordPress objectives is to rank high on Google, Yahoo, and Bing, page load time is an important factor. Simple is fast, complex is slow.
  3. Ongoing maintenance. After your WordPress site is built, adding posts, pages, images and videos is typically a whole lot easier on a site with a simple design and minimal functionality versus one with more complicated elements. For example, when making text changes, you may need to tip-toe around custom code supporting a 3-column layout or perhaps a custom background behind a paragraph. A slight mistake could completely mess up your page.
  4. Mobile viewing. The better ‘responsive’ WordPress themes work great on desktops, laptops, tables and smartphones. However, it gets tricky when adding multifaceted design elements to these themes. In fact, many design components that look great on desktops and laptops won’t work on mobile devices. Likewise, many of the advanced plugins won’t work well (or at all) on mobile devices.
  5. Cost to design and build. Simplicity is less expensive, complexity is more expensive. You can save a lot by keeping your WordPress site simple.

As you’ve likely concluded, the degree of simplicity or complexity of your site design and functions are going to be determined by your specific objectives. If you’re a graphic designer, having lots of complex design features might contribute to your competitive advantage. If you’re selling online tutorials, having a membership plugin will be critical despite all the negatives. The secret – keep your site as simple as possible based on your objectives.