If you are looking to build a website for your business, one thing you’ll quickly notice is the abundance of platforms and CMSs (content management systems) to choose from. Drupal, Joomla, WordPress, Magento, ExpressionEngine, SilverStripe and TextPattern are some of the industry leaders. However, CMS are not created equal and the numbers partly explain why.
Since it was launched in 2003, WordPress has grown exponentially to become the world’s most popular CMS. The number of websites using WordPress is fast approaching 100 million. Whereas no CMS is perfect, WordPress has a unique combination of strengths that have made it the choice of many of the largest websites in the world.
The following is a look at some of the advantages you get by choosing WordPress for web design.
- It’s Free
From bootstrap startups to Fortune 500 corporations, nobody likes to pay for stuff when there is a free and equally good alternative. The fact that WordPress is free opens up a vast array of possibilities. Before committing to use it, businesses can experiment and explore the different features.
As open source software, you are free to alter the source code to be more compatible with your business requirements. If and when you do go live, WordPress will not penalize you if your website begins to draw in more traffic than initially anticipated.
- Quickly Deployed
Some CMS platforms make it difficult to get things rolling immediately after installation. Not so with WordPress. You do not have to search for, install, configure and troubleshoot an extensive list of add-ons just to enable essential features such as RSS feeds and comments. WordPress ensures you are ready to go live from the get go.
- Easily Maintained
Once your website is up and running, you’ll need to maintain it. That means posting new, updating old and deleting outdated content. The absence of a good content management system can make this maintenance process arduous and costly. In the worst case, you may be forced to call on the original developer whenever you want to make changes.
One of WordPress’ greatest strengths is its ease of use. Persons with no technical background and unfamiliar with CMS’s can quickly learn the ropes and update content on their own using the intuitive visual editor. In addition, WordPress has a revision system that allows you to roll back unintended or erroneous changes.
For startups and small enterprises, all this means they do not need to hire technical expertise on a permanent basis since any employee can be trained and tasked to do the maintenance.
- Easily Customized
The visitors who land on your website are unlikely to be first-time users of the internet. They’ve probably already visited thousands of websites in the course of their lifetime. That in turn means many of them will recognize a cookie-cutter site immediately when they see it. Such a website is unoriginal, predictable, uninspiring and will often not be able to accurately project your brand.
The good thing about WordPress is that you have numerous options to ensure your website looks and feels different. With its extensive theme system, you can choose from tens of thousands of themes each of which can be further customized in great detail to suit your needs. Many themes are available for free but even those that are not are priced affordably. The best and most elaborate themes come with pre-designed layouts and detailed documentation.
- Versatile and Easily Hosted
Whether you are creating a basic blog or building a complex website for a multinational, WordPress is up to the task. Such versatility for organizations that expect to grow rapidly in coming months and years. You won’t have to change your CMS if, for example, visitor traffic quadruples every month or you launch numerous new products. Simply extend the site through new pages and additional plugins.
Also, since WordPress is used by so many websites, virtually all major web hosts have a WordPress-specific hosting plan. These plans come with a one-click CMS installation or come with the CMS already installed. One of the key advantages of this is that the web host has already thoroughly tested their various server operating systems and utility tools for compatibility with a WordPress website.
- Generous Features
One of the reasons people have traditionally steered clear of open source applications is the lack of advanced features. Fortunately, open source software has come a long way and there’s perhaps no better example than WordPress. It’s freely available code has actually been a huge advantage in speeding up the development of new functionality.
If there’s a feature you’re looking for that isn’t supported by default, there’s a strong likelihood that a plugin is available to do just that. Plugins are a tremendous boost for your site and ensure you can not only roll out new website components rapidly but also make it easy to disable the ones you no longer require.
Examples of features that may be powered or enhanced by plugins include live chat, a testimonials page and advanced calendar scheduling.
- Wealth of Information Online
Troubleshooting a live website can be a frustrating exercise. You already have a steady stream of visitors your site. The more the quality of their experience is weighed down by the problem, the more it affects your online reputation and reduces their likelihood of return.
Fortunately, if you run into difficulties while using WordPress, there’s a strong possibility that the problem has been discussed and resolved on any one of the numerous WordPress forums, articles and videos freely available on the web. Whether it’s about configuring a plugin or installing a theme, someone has most probably raised the issue before and obtained a working solution.
It’s one of the benefits of having such a large user base. All you need to do is input the right keywords on Google search and you’ll have an abundance of results that tell you what you need to do. This means less time and money spent on fixing stuff or hiring a web expert.
Google Search has been the world’s most visited website for quite a while now. Web admins have long known that search engine results are the primary contributor to their website’s traffic. Google search results have taken on even greater significance with the rise of and ubiquity of the smartphone.
With the Android OS as the undisputed market leader and Google as the default search app, the amount of traffic that originates from Google search results will only continue to grow. All these point to how vital Search engine optimization (SEO) is. WordPress is shipped with built-in SEO features that will suffice for most businesses but that can be expanded further through relevant plugins. Search engine visibility will boost your site’s traffic and thus conversion rates.
- Constant Improvement
Success is never guaranteed in perpetuity. As countless examples in the tech world have shown over the last three decades, applications that aren’t improved or that do not evolve are bound to slide into obsolescence. WordPress’ longevity demonstrated by its continuous success since it was first launched has largely been down to the huge community of developers.
While it’s impossible to accurately predict the future, the fact that there are thousands of people continuously working on it to make it better ensures it’s more likely to remain successful for years to come.
- Enthusiastic Community
The large number of developers are just an example of the passion the wider WordPress community has. Even those who do not have a technical background are keen to learn new things as well as share any knowledge about the platform they have acquired.
And the interaction is not just limited to virtual spaces. Numerous WordPress conferences, seminars and meet-ups are organized across the world each year. It’s one of the best places for developers and website owners to learn whether they are really maximizing their usage of the platform.
- Mobile Friendly
With nearly 3 billion smartphones in use across the world, mobile has surpassed desktops and laptops as the primary way people access the internet. Most CMS platforms and web programming languages have taken cognizance of this shift but they aren’t all equally effective.
WordPress was one of the first major CMS platforms to make substantial effort in ensuring websites are ready for mobile. Ordinary webpages can get warped and distorted when viewed on mobile which is detrimental to end user first impressions. WordPress simplifies the re-formatting and conversion of a standard web page for purposes of mobile compatibility.
Hackers have become an ever present threat to on the web but more so to the most popular and successful websites. Whether it’s to steal confidential customer information or to deface the website, a compromised website sees its reputation take a beating that can be difficult to recover from.
Due to its large open source developer community and the constant testing, WordPress has proven particularly adept at remaining a step ahead of online threats. Of course, no platform can ever be 100% secure but with WordPress, you are always pretty close to that ideal.
WordPress won’t help you develop a winning business strategy or determine what direction to steer your organization. What it can do is give you a solid foundation for an effective and sustainable web presence. If your product and objectives are well-thought-out, your WordPress website will grow with your business and firmly establish you within your niche.