Sweet 16 Reasons Why Teens Need to Use WordPress
Are you a teen? Do you have a family member who’s a teen? Then read this! Tell other teens as well. You won’t regret it!
WordPress, the most popular online publishing software turns 16 in 2019. Wow. That’s old in Internet age… But young in human age.
Many teenagers often struggle at 16, and can’t see the “sweet”. But WordPress can certainly help out with their present and future. Here are some super-sweet reasons why teenagers should learn and use WordPress.
Being a Teen in 2019 Seems to Be Tough
So you’re a teen or parent or sibling and think about the bleak present or future? No wonder, with teenage anxiety and depression levels at an all-time high. This is often blamed on social media and smartphone usage, but is more likely caused by climate change and the overall state of the world.
It might seem as if the world is falling apart and the future is not a good place to grow up. Many kids even sacrifice their education to protest on the street like 16-year-old Greta Thunberg.
The future is always an imaginary place, though. It can depend on what you do today. If you do something positive now, the future can turn out positive too—better than if you give up and become apathetic.
Pressure is High and the Web is for Winners
Street protests are probably the most obvious way of spreading the word about pressing issues like climate change. Missing school or giving up education because of this is not really a viable option though.
Modern teens grew up with social media and smartphones being used obsessively. You might even think the most important use of the Web is to show off your latest gear, makeup or daredevil stunts.
While there has always been the rich and the beautiful, the cool and the popular, and the fast and the furious, the pressure is much more extreme right now. Sure, some people are:
from day one and can flaunt it on Instagram or elsewhere, but the truth is that most people aren’t and that’s OK. Introverts—like half of the population—do not even care much about presenting themselves to a potentially global audience. Yet often their contributions are the most valuable ones. Weirdos and geeks like Bill Gates have made the world what it is now.
In reality, we’re all winners. It’s just that some of us need longer to find our favorite discipline. Others are good at a lot of things and may travel the world and discover new skills. Some people even “do nothing” just to become great artists, musicians or writers later on instead of “having a real job”.
OK. Then we agree, probably… not all types of people can and want to compete in a social media popularity contest. Some care more about the important issues than about online fame or sheer publicity for the sake of validation.
Yet you don’t have to do either/or. There are many shades in between black and white. Presenting your ideas online is a great way to learn more about the world while contributing to it at the same time. You can:
- cover solutions to the world’s most pressing problems
- organize local groups of people who rally behind a common cause
- express your own ideas on how to fix problems many people face
You don’t have to assume that demonstrating and navel-gazing are the only ways to go. Think about what your unique contribution to the world is.
Try New Things and Share Those With Your Peers
Try new things and find out which ones suit you best. Share your progress with the world and add to the overall progress of humanity.
Your contribution might not seem like much at the beginning, but when it matters to just a few people it already makes a difference. It’s not about becoming an Instagram influencer. The Insta trend is already slowing down. Instagram might not exist a decade from now.
Actual Reasons to Use WordPress as a Teen
Here are sixteen of them! Aren’t they sweet? Check the whole list and tell us in the comment section, or add yours!
1. WordPress has been growing for 16 years and will stay for another 16 or more because it doesn’t rely on trends. It just allows everybody to publish online. While Instagram and the like always have a certain style of depicting things, WordPress can be used for anything by everybody.
You don’t have to be sexy, crazy, or spectacular to get traction. There is an audience for everybody once you know who you are writing or making images and videos for. Your weird hobbies are interesting to people at the other end of the world!
2. You can learn by doing on WordPress. The more you use WordPress, the more features and opportunities you will discover. While social media may work with a click, it does not have lots of standard publishing options proper websites using WordPress have.
Even adding alternative text to images so that people with bad eyesight can read it is difficult on social sites. Your grandparents can’t be really proud that way. The longer you use WP the better you become. With apps you just discover the limitations.
3. It will be around when you’ve grown up. Do you remember MySpace? Or Friendster? Your parents probably do. Social media hype comes and goes. Once a site becomes popular it goes mainstream and the cool kids are already on the way out. Parents still use Facebook but kids have moved on.
Some teenagers are still using Instagram but some already socialize on Snapchat and so on. WordPress is not a hyped app or proprietary technology from a company. It evolves slowly and everybody can contribute. It may not be cool now but it will be still around in the future.
4. You own the content yourself, unlike on third party sites. Most teens take the seemingly easiest route these days and use other people’s tools to publish and spread their videos, photos, or messages. This is fine as long as you have your main content on your own site. You can decide when you publish it, how long for, and whether to take it down once you grow older and dislike it.
Sites run by other people make money by showing your content and thus have no interest in people deleting it. In other cases they may delete your content for manifold reasons you rarely understand so that you lose your only copy when you don’t have it on your own site. WordPress lets you manage your content yourself whether you want to publish or delete it, you’re in charge.
5. You have a safe environment on WordPress and nobody can really criticize you without your consent. One of the key disadvantages of social media sites is that they are sometimes not really social. They also get used to bully kids. It’s often difficult to stop such behavior as you can’t always control what other people are saying on third party sites.
On your own WordPress site you decide which comments get published and which not. You can even disable comments altogether—but that’s just for severe cases. Bullies lose interest fast when they don’t get a lot of attention, or their comments don’t even show up.
6. You can share all kinds of content—not just images or videos. Instagram is great for images. YouTube prevails when it comes to video. Instant messengers like WhatsApp or Snapchat work well with short text you send to particular people or groups.
You can’t really publish text-only posts on YouTube or Instagram though. Even posting images on YouTube is awkward at best, while sharing videos on Instagram can be annoying when the same scene loops forever.
On WordPress, you can share all types of content. You can post text, images, videos but also more specific things like photo galleries. The sky’s the limit. You can even directly embed your social media posts.
7. You can link out as much as you want. Third-party sites like Facebook or Instagram want to keep visitors where they are, seeing their ads. Facebook shows posts that link out to fewer people. Instagram does not even allow you to link to other sites properly in their posts. YouTube hides links in the description you only see on click.
All those links are also do not count for Google. They are invisible for bots. Your friends or favorite artists do not get proper credit for their work.
On your own WordPress site you can connect with other people and sites as much and as prominently as you wish. Everybody you link to on your own accord gets credited on Google and they also see that you linked to them when they also use WordPress. This way you will get noticed by others!
8. Your content is public not just part of a “walled garden“. WordPress sites publish on the so-called “Open Web.” Everybody with Internet access can see you what you publish! Your content will be easily found on Google.
Sites owned by Mark Zuckerberg—Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp—limit the access of search engines and people who are not members. This can be a good thing in some cases—when you just want to reach specific friends and do not want strangers to find your images.
When you cover important issues or even your local area you probably want to reach as many people who care as possible. A self-controlled website everybody can view with content that can be found on Google is best then.
9. Your content can be paid for and you can make money directly with it or by using WordPress. Many teens aspire to become Instagram influencers or YouTubers because they have seen some of their idols become famous on those sites.
Some teens succeed on social media as well, but most struggle to make actual money with it. You have to get huge audiences first and then you need advertisers to pay you or products to sell to earn significant revenue.
The number of Instagram influencers is too big by now and many of those are fake so that advertisers are wary by now. YouTube mas made it much more difficult to earn a living on their site and “demonetized” less lucrative channels—some of them with millions of followers.
WordPress allows you to sell your content directly. Sure, you also have to build an audience but nobody can demonetize you. You can also start selling things even when just your family visits your site. Most of the income stays with you. You just pay for some additional tools that simplify the process.
10. You can do many different things with WordPress—whatever you choose. When you use third-party websites they always more or less dictate what to do there. The interface is often optimized for a particular type of website, content or style.
With WordPress, you choose whatever you want. There are limitless possibilities and you can adapt along the way. you don’t have to move from one site to the next just because you get older. You can start a blog today but run a forum tomorrow and end up with store the day after.
11. You can sell your merchandise on WP! Whatever you choose to do with your WordPress installation you can always sell things there from day one. Nobody can bar you from it because you’re the boss.
There are more technical options with lots of features but also tools that simply get linked from WordPress. No ‘Terms of Service’ prevent you from selling though and you can create your own clothing brand from day one for example.
12. You can move your site and keep your content no matter where you go. With WordPress, you can decide where you store your content and other assets and can move them any day when you’re not satisfied with the service. Maybe your site just grows with you over time!
You can always take your whole website with you, content and design can get recreated at a different server. There are also tools that simply clone your site so that you can move while your site is online and the move is seamless. Your visitors won’t even notice!
13. You can add your friends as contributors! It’s very easy to add your friends, family or other people as contributors on WordPress. Depending on how you trust them you can grant them a different status. Some may be just authors who write, others may be contributors who also upload images. Editor and administrators have even more rights like editing or deleting content. You can also mix roles by allowing less trusted contributors to add images.
You can upgrade the accounts any time so once your contributors gain your trust over time. When they lose it you can remove them. You can just revoke some rights by downgrading them when they break something by accident.
14. Everybody can comment, not just members! You can allow commenting for everybody. That way also people you don’t know yet can contribute. Sometimes comments are so valuable that they can also get used as actual articles.
In many cases comments can lead to very important insights so that updating the actual post someone commented on makes sense. Comments were the original definition of a blog. Nowadays many so called blogs don’t allow commenting at all but that’s limiting them.
Comments create actual communities. The more you communicate with your active readers the more you forge relationships with them and the more they contribute. Your site grows that way.
15. Your parents can help you on WordPress! WordPress is so easy to use that even your parents can do it. Everybody who can write a mail in a Webmail interface or use a word processor like Microsoft Word or Google Docs can use WordPress as well.
Tools like Facebook or YouTube often have a difficult to use and cluttered interface for those who actually work with those sites. WordPress is well known for its ease of use and you can simplify it even further.
In case you want your parents to stay off your WordPress you can even ban particular IPs from visiting your site. Your parents will be your biggest fans in many cases. Why block them though?
16. You decide about your WordPress site!
Ultimately the biggest advantage of WordPress is that you can always decide about what happens on your site yourself. Teens often still struggle with taking responsibility but with WordPress they can learn it.
In a nutshell, it’s like publishing a local newspaper. You have plenty of choices to make but along the way you grow and develop. As a publisher, you decide what to cover, when to write, and how to publish things. Do you prefer covering news or are you into evergreen content that will still be valuable years to come?
WordPress makes you grow up during the process of website creation, content production and online publishing. While at it it’s still fun. No other tool gives so as many options while at the same time being that easy to use.
There Are More Reasons to Use WordPress!
As you may guess there are plenty of other reasons to use or learn WordPress but we’re celebrating 16 years of WP now so that we keep some of them for next year’s post!
Services like WordPress.com allow you to use a stripped down version of WordPress for free. It’s a good way to start but you will find out about the limitations soon.
Yet most serious WordPress users choose a self-hosted WordPress installation on their own turf where they can do with it whatever they want and no interference from others.
Doesn’t WordPress Cost Money for a Monthly Subscription?
You may wonder how teens below the age of 18 are meant to pay for WordPress hosting. Yet even so-called managed WordPress hosting—in the recent past just a luxury service for businesses—is cheaper now than a mobile, Spotify or Netflix subscription.
Sure distractions and entertainment are more desirable now, during the teenage years. But at the end of the day they are mostly of waste of time and money. Why not invest in the present and future at the same time?
Parents should invest in the future of their kids by paying for a WordPress subscription. This is probably money better spent than that for binge-watching Netflix.
Become or raise future activists, journalists, photographers, publishers, and writers. The world is yours. It’s literally at your fingertips!