Lamenting the Limitations of WordPress

Always read the fine print before you spend hard-earned money.

When setting up this blog and other sites that I’ve worked on, I’ve oscillated between using the usual content management systems like WordPress, Blogger, Blogspot, etc. and using what’s called a static site generator like Jekyll or Hugo. The idea behind static sites is pretty straightforward. CMS’s (like WordPress) can be insanely bulky, obtuse, and possibly even present security risks. This blog post does a good job comparing CMS’s to static sites. CMS’s come ready to go out of the box, whereas a static site may take a bit more effort to setup and fine tune.

As I write this blog post, I’m mildly irritated that there’s no convenient way for me to change the default font size for my blog posts to 14pts (I favor a smaller font for my sites). Despite the fact that I paid $48 for the personal plan, it seems that $48 isn’t worth the ability to sprinkle in some custom CSS. The WordPress powers that be decided that the ability to use custom CSS is worth $96 — double the cost of the personal plan!

p {
  font-size: 14px;
}

See that? That’s literally all I want to do. p represents the body text on my site, and font-size: 14px; would globally set all fonts to 14px. I refuse to shell out any more money to WordPress, especially when I could have complete control over my site through other platforms like a static site generator.

I’ve dabbled in making static sites before, although I didn’t really take the time to learn the requisite tools/scripting languages very well. Instead I just grabbed a theme that looked decent to me and did some light customization together by clobbering code snippets together that I found across the internet.

My requirements for a personal site are pretty simple:

  • Minimal theme that is blog-friendly.
  • Use of Google Analytics and Disqus .
  • Allow users to easily view blog material by chronological order and category tag. I recently found a static site template that had chronological tags to view posts by year on the blog page itself, and a separate tags page for viewers interested in exploring posts categorically.
  • I’d like to combine my professional and music blogs onto one site, and simply keep a separate page that lists my music-related posts separately from my professionally-oriented posts.

At this point, I’m leaning towards jumping ship from WordPress and moving back to a static site, perhaps this time built in Hugo. I have the better part of a year left on my WordPress personal plan subscription, leaving me with plenty of time to do my research and build up a site the way I want it to.

I’m not going to settle for using technology that doesn’t meet my needs/preferences when there are so many options outside the worlds of WordPress, Blogspot, et al. Again, it’s ludicrous that paying $48/year doesn’t allow me the privilege of…globally setting the theme size for my blog. I hope to report back soon with some updates on what I’ve decided to do with the site.