WordPress is Junk to New Users

If I was new on the scene and looking for a host for my first blog, I’d run from WordPress as fast as my feet would carry me. It’s junk today compared to what it was when I first started in January 2011. Back then, it was easy to navigate, everything was right there in the left margin and I could conveniently find my way with the drop-down menus.

If I had trouble performing a task, a quick google search for the information cleared the fog instantly.

My philosophy is, if it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it. However, in this tech world, companies are always updating and changing things usually for the worse. It’s as if it’s a competition: how many things can I change this week?

Because I’m grandfathered into WordPress, I can use the old-style menu of 2011. So, I’ll stick around with WordPress for the unforeseeable future.

However, I created a WordPress site for an organisation I’m with. It’s only two years old, and the new improved system runs it. It reminds me of a game for preschoolers: big, chunky, bold, plain, childish, simple, yet, it’s horrible to navigate, and the colours are depressing. Nothing is found easily, and when I do find something, the system is tweaked, and after not visiting the site for a month or so, I can’t find it again.

WordPress New Design

At the moment, I’m trying to find the Widgets, which have somehow disappeared from the options. I’m about to throw in the towel and close the site. It’s as if they’ve dumbed it down so much that real users who know how to create a site are baffled, led in circles until frustration makes them yell, “Junk!”

My WordPress account allows me to click on the WP Admin, which is conveniently hidden in light colours at the bottom of the menu after all other options. It’s as if WordPress doesn’t want me to find it. But I found it just the same because I was determined. I have several sites connected to this one account, and I can easily switch to the old menu using WP Admin.

WordPress Old Design

Perhaps the organisation site I created is junk because it uses only the free option. I pay for this writing blog and a few others, so it might be the reason I have the benefit of the older-style menu. What are you finding out there? Which menu type do you have?

For those stuck with the new menu style, I feel sorry for you. It’s a clunky system that would drive me mad if I had to use it for my writing pages.

Also: I failed to mention when I posted this, that I am satisfied with the appearance of WordPress blogs. I like the variety of themes, the ability to host a blog and pages, as well as add items in the columns. I do a lot with my blogs, and each year I do more. So the face of WordPress is great, but the authors behind WordPress sites at times need to jump through hoops to get everything to look that way.

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40 thoughts on “WordPress is Junk to New Users

  1. I too hate (really hate) the new layout. And, I too am grandfathered in. So: typing wp-admin after your blog address doesn’t take everyone to the old layout? That’s sad…

  2. I have been on self-hosted WordPress since 2011. I’m assuming you must be on the Automatic site. For me, the challenges are the plugin repository–which the keep promising will be improved but never is. The search filter and sorting is useless. What I do is Google search for highly rated plugins for specific functions and then enter the one I like in the add plugin search box. Other than that, I haven’t seen the problems you describe.

    • I am on the automatic site. I pay $24 a year to not have ‘wordpress’ in my web address. In spite of the new system trying to gain control, I’m happy with my layout and what my site can do. I know there are perks to self-hosting, but I won’t go that path for a few more years. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, John.

  3. Diane, I have felt this way since they introduced the new look. I’ve been on WP since about ’09 and much prefer the admin side. Are you certain new users can’t use the admin feature? I had the free sites until last year and then this year I purchased a self-hosted blog via WP.org (hosted on Bluehost–which I love). I’m not positive, but I think the old/admin view is standard with WP.org. I will use the new view for quick posts only usually. I write mainly with an iPad, so I’m kind of stuck with the stupid new customizer when I use the app (which also is kind of crappy). It’s best on a PC.

    If you’re looking for widgets on the new view I think you need to click on the Customizer (Customize button). You have to finagle your way through to where you need to get–it’s a pain. If that doesn’t work then like you said, you have to go through the admin side.

    I will say this, I came back to WP because in my mind it just blows the other places out of the water (Blogger, Wix, even Weebly). It’s still much easier to use, and the prices on WP.com beat the others too. Ultimately though, a WP.org/self-hosted blog is way cheaper if you want to be able to fully customize your site (but it does require some slightly more advanced technical know-how).

    • Gene, since I know about the Admin side, I looked for it and it wasn’t there. I’m going to try again today because I have to post news about an upcoming meeting. I’ll let you know what I find. If I don’t find it, I’ll try your suggestion.

      I use WP only on my laptop, so I don’t know the limitations of using it with a tablet or phone, so you bring up a good point. Anyone using a tablet would not know the ease of using a laptop or table-top computer.

      Thank you for sharing your experience with the other providers. I’ve never used them, so I don’t know how they work. My first website was created using Geocities (back in 1997). It was a great little system until it got sold or crashed, or went as it did. I’ve also created pages on RootsWeb (genealogy only). They were easier to use than WP, but they had nowhere near the capabilities.

      • Wow, Geocities! I made a site there around that time. Feel free to contact me if you need any help with anything on your site. I’m not a guru, but I enjoy figuring out this stuff.

        • Geocities is an ancient city now in the world of technology. I took your advice and found the customize button (after a few minutes of searching) and I was able to change the information in the widgets. Thank you. I looked, and in place of the WP Admin, a ‘start a new site’ button is there.

          • Cool I’m glad you figured it out. It seems like there’s 3 different ways to get around in WP. Sometimes it’s annoying but at least they haven’t changed it to the point of me considering a different platform altogether.

            • I’m not near that point either. Switching to another platform would be time consuming, and I won’t go unless I’m pushed by massive changes.

          • One more thought. There’s a free iOS app called BlogPad Pro which integrates to both WP.com and self-hosted WP sites. It even lets you work offline from an iPad, draft posts, upload media, etc. You can even access the admin dashboard from it as well as view your site. I haven’t used it much, but so far so good. Plus you can arrange/format your posts MUCH easier than the new WP view.

  4. I’m not very technologically astute Diane. I know how to navigate WP well enough, but every change they make throws me for a loop. It also has days when it gets cranky, and the only way to fix it is to turn it off overnight and let it rest. From what I’ve seen, though, it’s better than the alternatives.

    • I know what you mean, Diane, regarding the crankiness. There have been times when I’ve had to return to it the next day too. I think it’s because they are doing updates, or at least that is what I tell myself.

  5. As you know, I’m one of the ones jumping through hoops trying to make an easy to use & read blog. At least my current “theme” has a better set-up than my first one.

    • Yes, I would not want to begin a WP blog today. I sympathize with you. When I used to get confused with WordPress, I’d search for solutions on YouTube. There are many videos out there to guide you.

  6. I’m happy with WP – no complaints. Maybe I don’t do as much as you. I hope you get some satisfaction from the team in improving things for you.

    • Norah, I’m quite happy with the old-style menu, and yes I do a lot. It’s that new style that seems to being pushed on us that I truly dislike. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this matter.

  7. Great post Diane. I’m self hosted so I don’t have those types of issues but I’ve sure heard many complaints from author friends about all the hide and seek with changes. 🙂

  8. I signed up in 2010 so I’m still using the old version, and yeah, I do wish they’s stop trying to keep up with the ‘cool kids’ (whoever they might be at any given time) … le sigh.

    • I’m all for change, but when it comes at the expense of ease, I’ll opt for the old way every time. I wish they’d stop trying to keep up with the cool kids too.

  9. I have had my account at WP since 2008 so, of course, I am grandfathered too. Like you, I hate the new setup and refuse to use it. Although, in order to see my list of blogs I am subscribed to, I must go into there to review it. That part is all right but nothing special.

    • We are lucky, Glynis. Like you, I can handle it in limited bits, such as seeing the other blogs I subscribe to and seeing the stats, but I refuse to use it to create posts and the pages. I hope we will always be able to do this.

  10. I think I’ve lost one blog and published one twice, but I do like the finished layout of mine and other people’s blogs. Usually I am not sure if I’ve shared it to Facebook till I go and visit. I’m sure I’m not alone in my general actions on line; my brain and eyes focus on the familiar parts of the page and if something changes or moves I’m flummoxed!

    • I like the finished layout as well. Sometimes it take a bit of tweaking, but I’m happy with 99% of what I have created on my blogs. If I can’t make it better, it’s my fault. I don’t have the automatic share to Facebook, so I can control what goes there and what doesn’t. So I don’t know how efficient that feature is.

      You are not alone. My days are full, and when I got to make a post, I expect all the buttons to be where they should be. If they’re not, I waste time finding them or find a new way to do what I want done. Yesterday, I spent almost an hour adding a bit of information to the organisation’s site, something that would have taken me ten minutes on this blog. And I still didn’t find the widgets, so the countdown for the next meeting was not added.

      Thank you for commenting. I feel your frustration.

  11. I’ve noticed the difference and thought it was a stupid change. The widgets don’t work right and many things disappeared. I’ve been on there since 2012, but I guess I am too late to be grandfathered into the old site. I don’t like this either!

    • You may not be out of luck, Rebecca. The change took place only about three years ago. Go to your website page and click “My Sites” (for me it’s My Sites because I have more than one). At the very bottom of the menu that appears on the left, there is “WP Admin”. You might have to move your screen up to see it. It’s the very last thing. If you have anything opened at the bottom of the screen, it might cover it. Click “WP Admin”. The old menu should appear.

      I’ve noticed that sometimes when I click on it, it takes me to the stats page of the new menu. If that happens, click that “My Sites” button again. It always takes me to the old version the second time. Let me know it it works. Good luck. I hope it works for you.

    • The new version compared to the old version is junk to me but if I only knew the new version, I might be happy with it. But I’ve made websites with other hosts, and know that it can be made easier. I find the new version more of a challenge to learn and it is not as versatile. But again, I’m unsure if it is because the new site is free. Which menu version do you have? And do you pay the yearly fee to have the ‘WordPress’ name removed from the address?

  12. I joined WordPress not long ago. I already write a blog on Goodreads ( blogging and book reviews are the only things I find easy on Goodreads! ) and I have my own paid for website. But so many authors are on WordPress I felt left out and wanted to link in easily with other writers, but each time I go on to do my blog I feel it’s more by luck than judgment that it appears!

    • Janet, I have always been confused by all the noise at Goodreads. I have a page and I’ve done giveaways and such, but I couldn’t get involved in the many groups and discussions because it ate away at my time. Instead I focussed on other social media venues. My blog posts from my other blog automatically go there. I just visited and see it needs to be updated. Eek.

      When you say your blog magically appears and sometimes disappears, do you mean the whole site or the ability to edit the pages or add a post?

      When I decided to blog, I chose WordPress because a few of the writers I followed were on it. I guess I chose wisely at the time though I didn’t know it.

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