People often ask us “why use WordPress?”, “should I switch to WordPress?”, or even “what is WordPress?”. Social media sites like LinkedIn are full of questions about the best way to build a website. This article aims to answer some of those questions, so that you can make an informed choice about which software to use for your website. It’s going to sound like an advert for WordPress, but after years of working with it, we are very happy to share our enthusiasm for it!
Lots of people are happy to tell you why WordPress is not the right answer for you. Funnily enough, it’s usually people whose website is not a WordPress site. Many people mistakenly think that WordPress as “just a blogging platform” or that “it’s not secure”. It did start out as a blogging platform, but WordPress is now a versatile website system that is way beyond blogging. Of course, you can still use WordPress to create a simple blog. But it also allows you to create fully functional, complex websites and applications. And providing you realise the importance of security, WordPress is just as secure as any other website software.
The best part about WordPress is that it’s really easy to use and endlessly flexible. That’s one of the reasons why WordPress has become enormously popular In fact, according to a recent survey, WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world; used by nearly 75 million websites. According to WordPress, about 410 million people view more than 23.5 billion WordPress pages each month.
Many of the top brands use WordPress to power their websites including: The BBC, Metro, Time Magazine, Google, Facebook, Sony, Disney, LinkedIn, The New York Times, CNN, eBay, and many more.
So let’s take a look at why WordPress is so great. Why use WordPress?
1. WordPress is Free
WordPress is free software. This means you are free to download, install, use and modify it. It is also “open source” software. i.e. the code of the software is available for any one to look at and modify. To run a WordPress website, you need to pay for a domain name (website address) and website hosting (which is a bit like renting a space on the internet for your website to sit on).
There are over 2600+ WordPress themes (which provide a “look and feel” for your website) and 31,000+ plugins (which extend WordPress functionality), all available for free. You can download, install and use them on any WordPress website.
2. WordPress is really easy to use
WordPress is used by millions of people. One of the reasons for this is because it’s very easy to use. There are lots of free online tutorials and videos which can help you to learn WordPress. It’s amazing what you can achieve, even if you have no experience in building websites. We love training people to use WordPress, because it’s so great to see just how much they can learn in a couple of hours. Seeing people develop confidence and grow their business using WordPress is one of the best parts of my job.
3. There’s a plugin for that…
WordPress is really flexible and can be extended by using “plugins”. There are literally thousands of free and premium plugins available for you to use. These plugins can add extra functionality to WordPress. For example, you can build an online store, a membership site or an online learning system.
4. WordPress is open source
This is the really clever bit about WordPress. WordPress is community software i.e. it is maintained by a huge group of volunteers. The majority of volunteers are WordPress consultants like us, with an active interest in developing WordPress. They contribute to WordPress by writing code, answering questions and developing new plugins. They may design themes, translate WordPress into different languages or update user documentation. So you can get free support from other users, and because it’s so widely used, it’s very unlikely that you will come up with a question that hasn’t already been answered. If you do, there will be lots of geeks clamouring to answer it for you.
5. WordPress is search engine friendly
The WordPress code is very high quality, and it produces helpful markers which make WordPress websites very attractive to Google and other search engines. You can make it even more attractive by using a plugin such as Yoast SEO – our preferred SEO plugin for WordPress. This will help your website to do well in search engine results, which will drive more visitors to your site.
6. WordPress is secure
Developers create WordPress with security in mind, so it is one of the safest ways to run a website. However, hackers are a potential threat to any website (not just WordPress ones). Again, there are plugins which help you to monitor you site security and it is imperative that you use one (such as Sucuri) on your website.
7. You benefit from regular updates to WordPress
WordPress is updated on a frequent and regular basis, so you benefit from new functionality and security enhancements to protect against the latest scams. You can always download the latest version for free – just make sure you take a backup of your site before applying any updates.
8. It’s easy to find a WordPress developer
Because it’s so widely used, there are a huge number of good WordPress developers out there. It’s not a niche technology, so you won’t be struggling to find someone who can help you when you need a developer. Whilst there are a lot of things you can do on your own, you will probably find that a developer will be helpful in getting your site to work exactly the way you want it. You might also want to consider outsourcing your website maintenance to someone like us.
Why use WordPress? Still not sure?
WordPress is not necessarily suitable for everyone, but we rarely encounter a situation where WordPress is not a great solution. If we don’t think it’s right for you, we’ll tell you. But by far the best way to get to know WordPress is to use it. If you are looking for inspiration, The WordPress Showcase gives you an idea of the many different ways in which people use WordPress to build their websites. If you need some help getting started, talk to us about WordPress training or building a website for you.