Are you a new blogger or a small business owner looking to get online? If you’re in the market to launch a website for the first time and have done any research at all, chances are you’ve come across the name “WordPress.” No surprise there – it’s one of the most popular content management systems available, after all. But why should you use WordPress? What makes it better than the other available options out there? Here are seven reasons to use WordPress:
To skip ahead, feel free to click on any of those specific points listed above. To read the whole thing, scroll as normal.
But before we get into reasons you should use WordPress, for the completely uninitiated, let’s briefly explain what exactly WordPress is and what it’s used for.
There are many other content management systems available on the Internet (including Drupal, Joomla, Squarespace, and Weebly). However, WordPress is the most popular by far – powering 59.3% of all websites that are known to use a CMS, according to W3Techs. This translates to 31% of all websites.
We listed the seven reasons why you should choose WordPress as your website’s CMS at the beginning of the article. Now, let’s delve a little deeper.
In the early days of the Internet, the task of website creation was only in the hands of programmers and developers. The advent of WordPress has made it so that anyone, even those without knowledge of basic coding like HTML and CSS, can build a website in a matter of minutes. This has served to increase the scope of who can publish content on the internet manifold, removing the limits of technological know-how or access to someone with that knowledge.
User experience has played a big part in how WordPress has evolved over the years. Convenience is definitely something that plays a big part in why WordPress is so popular. It has a wide variety of customizable themes that will make any site look sleek and professional straight out of the box. There are a plethora of plugins (a piece of software that extends the functionality of a WordPress site without the user having to code anything) available and it has an intuitive backend. Because of these features, you can do almost anything to your site, even if you’re a technology novice. As a result, it’s no surprise that WordPress is known for being beginner friendly.
Creating content is also easy with WordPress. It features an editor that allows a user to write and format posts; add media like audio, video, and images with ease; and schedule posts. Again: you don’t need to know HTML or any other coding language to make a great-looking page.
This ease of use saves people time and money in the long run. Of course, if you want to do anything a little more complicated or add some advanced customization to your site, a developer might be needed. But, for the most part, those starting out with a small business website or personal website, outsourcing to a web designer or developer won’t be necessary.
When many people hear the word WordPress, they immediately think “blog”. While it is one of the best blogging platforms out there, that’s just the beginning. WordPress can be used to create almost any kind of website imaginable, including:
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the possibilities.
How is this even possible? How can WordPress be so flexible and customizable, even for those with little to no coding knowledge? You can thank its 56,000 (and counting!) plugins for that.
Plugins are additional bits of functionality that can be installed by the admin of a site in the backend. They can be used to add just one or two features to a site—or transform its entire functionality.
For instance, WooCommerce is an e-commerce plugin that can turn any site into a store for both physical and digital products. How simple or extensive your store will be is up to you, thanks to its plethora of free and paid extensions. Plugins can also be used to add elements such as forms for user registrations or contact purposes, picture slideshows, and anti-spam filters for your site’s comment sections.
While WordPress does have the option for a number of premium add-on features, at its core the WordPress software is free and open source.
But what exactly does “open source” mean and why is it of benefit to you?
Open source software is available to the general public for modification and distribution. This means that anyone can access the source code, change it, and share it for any purpose. Open source software, such as WordPress, is constantly being developed and updated by a group of independent programmers. This means that you can be safe in the knowledge that the version of WordPress you are using is the best that it can be.
This element of WordPress is also what gives it the edge over non-open source website builders, which may be easy to use, but are ultimately less customizable and more expensive. WordPress is free to install and deploy, saving you money in the long run. In fact, most web hosts offer a one-click installation. Namecheap offers a Managed WordPress package, where installation, backups, updates, and more will be taken care of for you, whereas if you opt for regular hosting, these are things you will need to navigate yourself. With non-open source website builders your options are limited to whatever features come with it. Plugins typically aren’t an option. Many use a unique coding language, so any updates to your site will have to be done by a specialized developer.
WordPress follows best practices to make sites built using the software as accessible as possible. Their ultimate aim is for anyone to access and see a website, even if they have a physical or sensory impairment, and even regardless of the hardware of hardware or software they’re using. There is a handbook that theme and plugin developers can follow to ensure their work meets these standards, and there are a number of tools to test the accessibility of a site.
WordPress currently supports 180 languages, though not all the available languages are fully translated. Currently, 51 languages are 100% translated, while 22 are 95% translated. There are teams of translators dedicated to translating WordPress fully. While there aren’t any options to make WordPress multilingual out of the box, there are several plugins available to add multilingual capabilities to the site, such as WPGlobus and Polylang.
In addition to its intuitive interface, if you get stuck at any stage or don’t know where to begin, there are a wealth of resources available on the web to guide you. Official resources include the official support forums and the WordPress Codex, which is a wiki created by WordPress developers containing information for users of all levels, from how-tos guides to coding information. The site also provides tutorials and it can be updated by any registered user. There are also a number of blogs, Facebook pages, and even YouTube channels dedicated to guiding users. Whatever your medium of choice, you’re guaranteed to find support whenever you need it most.
Search engine optimization is a term that might seem intimidating when you’re starting out. Luckily, choosing WordPress as your CMS puts you at an advantage right off the bat. WordPress’s overall structure is search engine friendly. Programmed in a language called PHP, WordPress pages are created in HTML, and easily allow the user to include title tags, headings, and hyperlinks (when you embed a URL to another page in a particular keyword or phrase), on each page, which are all elements search engines look at when deciding whether to index your site, and then where it should rank. The editor, which we mentioned before, also makes this easy, allowing you to do things like add heading tags and optimize images with important elements like ALT tags and descriptions. Title tags and meta descriptions are also automatically generated for each page.
Site speed and mobile optimization are also important factors when it comes to search engine indexing and ranking. People are impatient. If a website is slow to load, most will leave before they’ve gotten the chance to consume your compelling content.
Meanwhile, optimizing a site for mobile is ensuring a website is responsive across different devices and screen sizes. A site that has been created only to be viewed on a laptop isn’t likely to look good on the smaller screen of a smartphone or tablet. This isn’t something to sniff at, seeing as more and more people browse the web using a mobile device. Through mobile optimization you can be certain that your site looks good no matter how your visitor is viewing it.
All of this might sound complicated, but with WordPress you can ensure your site is fast and responsive simply by using the correct theme. This is why it’s important to be discerning when choosing a theme for your site. Read descriptions carefully, and ensure it suits your site’s ultimate goal.
Lastly, there are a huge number of plugins dedicated to improving the search engine friendliness of your site to help you index and boost page rankings. These plugins cover a lot of important bases, like telling you how readable your content is, suggesting keywords, providing key backlink information, and so much more. Popular options include Yoast, the All in One SEO Pack, and Squirrly.
Sometimes the most compelling argument is, “well, everybody else is doing it!” As we mentioned earlier, almost 32% of all websites on the web today use WordPress. This is especially striking when compared to the market share of its competitors. WordPress is light years ahead. According to W3Techs, as of October 2018, Joomla held 3.1% market share, Drupal had 2%, Squarespace 1.4%, and Shopify 1.3%.
Its popularity also means that the core code, plugins, and themes are continually actively developed. New features are released all the time to meet demand, and there are many people continually testing for security and performance issues that can get resolved with updates. WordPress is also available on nearly every hosting platform. It’s safe to say that popularity actually plays a big part in why WordPress is as good as it is.
“But none of my favorite sites seem to use WordPress.” That’s the beauty of WordPress themes. There are so many unique and customizable options that you wouldn’t always notice. You’re too busy browsing its compelling content to pay attention. Some of the big brands and companies that use WordPress to power their websites include:
And so many more.
This is a fair question – after all, popularity isn’t everything.
Convenience is also key when it comes to WordPress. Its popularity means that those who work in the area of content creation and website management are already familiar with the WordPress CMS and how it works, meaning less training will be required in the long run. The fact that the code is open source makes WordPress an infinitely more favorable option in terms of customization. And, like we mentioned before, WordPress has 56,000 official plugins for expanding your site, making it hard to beat when it comes to flexibility. Drupal has 41,635 while Joomla only has 7,944. With non-open source CMS options like Squarespace and Shopify, control over your site’s functions and features is often limited to what’s offered in your particular package. You’re also stuck with the hosting they provide, whereas with WordPress you are free to shop around, and choose whichever web hosting you prefer, and often you will be unable to move your content elsewhere – this is not an issue with WordPress.
In terms of ease of use, in comparison to the next two most popular open source CMS on the market, Joomla and Drupal, WordPress comes out on top. Drupal is regarded as one of the most powerful CMS options out there, but it’s not beginner friendly. Joomla is easier to use than Drupal, but some technical skill will be required if you need more comprehensive customization. Furthermore, neither of them have the same kind of community developing themes and plugins and testing for security issues.
To read more about WordPress in comparison to its competitors, why not read our article on the subject?
So, if you’re looking for a CMS that is easy to use, flexible, and affordable, WordPress is good – very good, in fact.
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