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Just Because Your Site Can, Doesn’t Always Mean it Should

by Jason Unger, Founder

We got engaged in a Twitter conversation last week with one of the folks from MailPoet, the WordPress plugin that was recently in the news for a big security hole it contained.

(Quick sidebar: the vulnerability has been patched, and they were very open on their blog about the issue.)

Our conversation with them started out talking about security, but really ended up focusing on the right use for your site.

I’m not trying to pick on MailPoet here (especially since they’ve been kicked around enough recently), but it’s a really good question: should your content management system be responsible for sending your emails?

And since we’re opening this up for discussion, we should also talk about whether your site is the best option for photo galleries, hosting and streaming videos, editing images, and I’m sure a lot of other things.

Use the Best Software For Your Application

Here’s my general take on it: if the software you’re using isn’t primarily developed to do what you’re thinking about doing, and there are third-party services that focus on it, then most of the time, you should use those instead.

WordPress isn’t email software. Yes, you can obviously get WordPress plugins to send a newsletter or send out RSS-powered emails, but you can use a product like Mailchimp to do all of those things much easier – and it integrates with WordPress.

Yes, you can upload videos to your server and embed them in your WordPress posts. Does almost all of the Internet know how to use your video player? Are you prepared for the bandwidth issues? YouTube is. And they’re happy to host your video and give the embed code to use.

WordPress has expanded its Media Gallery functionality a ton over the past few releases to include basic image editing. I’ve never once used it. We have Photoshop that does that, and much, much more.

Even photo galleries – which seem like a staple of every WordPress site – may not be best suited to be managed in WP. If you’ve got a lot of photos and you’re worried about their quality or file size, I’m going to recommend you use Flickr instead.

It’s a pretty simple philosophy: use the software best suited for the application. Just because you can do something with your website, doesn’t always mean you should.

Photo by THX077 on Flickr

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About Jason Unger

Jason Unger is the Founder of Digital Ink. He built his first website on Geocities, and hasn't looked back since. Digital Ink tells stories for forward-thinking businesses, mission-driven organizations, and marketing and technology agencies in need of a creative and digital partner.

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