Modern WordPress

So do you ever find yourself sitting around thinking, “I am getting too big for my own britches. I sure think I’m awfully smart. I need to be humbled and taken down several pegs inexplicably.”? Do you ever wonder how to make the already convoluted world of web-hosting and publishing more inaccessible and difficult? Wonder no more! Because WordPress is here to make this all a lot more difficult and aggravating than it ever needed to be.

I write all of this as someone who has been blogging in some capacity for a long time. I was with Blogger before Google bought them. I was with Xanga back when people cared about Xanga…Oh wait, I don’t thinkn anyone ever did other than middle/high schoolers. I was with WordPress under a different name for a decade. I liked WordPress the best because in my memory they balanced having a lot of options with not being evil assholes like Google, and not over complicating the process. If I wanted to just add a bit of writing, no problem. Change the color of my website? No problem. Change a category, or tag? Easy. Do I want to see site traffic? Sure. Incorporate a purchased domain? Easy.

Not. Any. More.

After being gone for a while, I figured that I would like to get back into writing and have a more fleshed out website of my own. I remembered that Google is ruining the internet and that WordPress was still open source and somewhat not evil. I went and purchased the domain www.brerpossum.com, and sought to use it with WordPress on a brand new website. Sounds great, right? It was. Until WordPress made every single step more complicated than it possibly had to be.

Domain: So I purchased the domain through WordPress because the price was pretty good and I would also need webhosting as well as some other basic tools in order to actually populate content on that domain. Right off the bat WordPress tries to up-sell you to a personal paid account to compliment the purchase of the domain. From what I understand, the main difference that I face is that if you were to look up from this text right now, you’d see https://brerpossum.wordpress.com/2020/12/09/modern-wordpress as opposed to https://www.brerpossum.com/blog/modern-wordpress.

To change my “primary domain” from brerpossum.wordpress.com to brerpossum.com requires that I get their “Personal” plan at $4/month billed annually. The domain is “mapped” so that if you simply use brerpossum.com/whateverpage it will take you there like a typical website. None of this is easily explained or walked through. It is purposefully convoluted in order to take advantage of people. That is wrong.

Design: Oh, my biggest grief. My God. I spent more time in frustration trying to figure out how in the world to move a block of text from one place to another than I did actually writing. The block system has potential to make plenty of good sense, but gets further complicated by themes. Some elements are fixed by the theme controls, others are fixed by editing the post. Some are fixed in settings, some others in options. One cannot necessarily just click on an element and have a menu pop up with logical options. One has to continuously preview a site while they are working on it to ensure that it formats properly. Colors do not match, neither does spacing or alignment.

WordPress, please listen carefully here: “If a user is spending more time struggling with your design tools than creating content, your design tools suck.” Oh wait, that’s by design. WordPress actually makes this process purposefully complicated and difficult. Why? Because at $4/month billed annually, one gets dozens of free themes as well as basic design customization. For $8/month billed annually, you get unlimited premium themes and advanced design customization.

It is fundamentally screwed up to take introductory users and treat them to a difficult to use platform for the sole purpose of extorting money out of them. It would be one thing if the difficulty was just always the nature of the beast. It isn’t. I used WordPress for years and had no issue with the design and layout tools when I used it several years ago. I knew how to categorize something or tag something, because it was there in the text editor. I didn’t have to select between “settings” and “options” and then find the categories section. I didn’t have to know how to edit a post two different ways in order to add, edit, or remove a heading from a blog post.

Help: Of course, there are volumes upon volumes of guides out there to read through and try to discern help. Of course, for $4/month billed annually you get email support and for $8/month billed annually you get unlimited live chat and email support. Otherwise, enjoy a complicated, disorganized, incomprehensible heap of help articles and discussions that may or may not have ever been relevant to what you are explicitly looking for. WordPress offers courses on using their product. It shouldn’t require courses. That’s the audacity of this. You recommend I pay you $49/year to learn how to use your poorly executed program? Good Lord.

Unfortunately, this is the cheapest, and least evil option that I have at present. I know that down the line the way to go would be to have my domain hosted on a server with independent, paid tools. To edit the site, use a proper piece of software. Unfortunately, that all takes a certain amount of money that I just don’t have right now.

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