Why WordPress? WordPress is free, open-source, easy to use, and one of the most feature rich content management systems a person with absolutely no skills can use to create their website.
By Jonathan Griffin | Published: Aug 9, 2017 09:32 | Updated: Aug 9, 2017 09:32
WordPress powers over 28 percent of all websites. Its incredible popularity is not just an accident. It is popular for many great reasons, and is a favorite with both developers and novice-users.
In fact, it is so easy to use WordPress that you can easily create your own WordPress website following our “How to make a website” step-by-step guide without any prior technical or coding knowledge.
If you are still not sure whether you should use WordPress, check out the following forty reasons:
WordPress currently runs 27.3 percent of all websites and just under 60 percent of websites using a content management system (CMS).
Furthermore, WordPress is increasing its share every month, and I fully expect it to hit 29 percent by January 2018 based on my projections formed using data from W3Techs.
The data showing the website share of the three most popular CMS over the last six years is below:
No other CMS or website platform is even close to their market share or rate of growth.
An open source CMS is one where the platform is built with code that is available for anyone to use, edit or redistribute. Such systems are usually developed collaboratively, by a large number of developers.
Because WordPress is so popular, the WordPress community behind it is massive. This means you have many thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of developers all helping to improve the core functionality via updates, new features, and bug fixes.
Also, many web designers and web developers can create additional functionality via free (and premium) themes and plugins.
None of this crowdsourced development would happen with a propriety system.
To this end, WordPress have created a bill of rights:
WordPress is licensed under the GPL which was created to protect your freedoms.
The WordPress Foundation was officially created as a charitable organization by Matt Mullenweg in 2010, with the aim of ensuring WordPress has a long-term future as a completely independent open source project:
The point of the foundation is to ensure free access, in perpetuity, to the software projects we support. People and businesses may come and go, so it is important to ensure that the source code for these projects will survive beyond the current contributor base, that we may create a stable platform for web publishing for generations to come.
As part of this process, the rights to the WordPress logo and trademark were transferred to the Foundation.
WordPress was first released on 27 May 2013. Next year (2018), it will be fifteen years old, with years of updates, bug fixes, security fixes and improvements under its belt.
You can be sure that WordPress is not buggy, won’t crash, and won’t suddenly become obsolete leaving you in the lurch. (As long as you keep it updated and use reputable third-party plugins \ themes.)
If multi-million dollar (or even billion dollars) companies can trust WordPress, so can you.
WordPress is trusted by Fortune 100 companies from Time.com, eBay, Reuters, NASA, Google Ventures, Forbes.com, and CNN, who all run their businesses and services on the platform.
Anyone can contribute towards WordPress, even if not a developer.
You can help answer questions on the support forums, suggest and vote on new features, write documentation, translate WordPress into your own language or even write WordPress tutorials on your own blog.
There are no fees or charges to use the WordPress content management platform, so you can start using wordpress without paying a thing.
I have already commented on the fact that WordPress is open source. The philosophy behind the open source movement is that the software is not treated like other tangible products. It can be modified or copied as many times as you want.
That is not to say people don’t make money from WordPress:
So while you may need to pay for hosting, or a premium theme and plugins, the core WordPress program is absolutely free.
Because WordPress is so widespread, there is an almost unlimited amount of professionals and services available. You’ll never be held hostage.
This means you will never be locked down to a particular service provider, such as development or hosting companies. Nor will you be held hostage because your website is developed on a unique, bespoke system.
We’ve covered this in a little more detail in points #DONE and #DONE. Suffice to say, there are over 51,000 WordPress plugins in the plugin repository, and thousands of free themes.
All can be installed on your website in seconds, allowing you to build your WordPress site easily and quickly with sophisticated functionality and features.
Even premium themes and plugins don’t cost the earth. You can purchase themes from around $30 - $55, which often include a suite of powerful premium plugins.
You can see an example premium theme from Themeforest below:
WordPress is incredibly easy to use. After the default WordPress installation, you can create new posts and pages using a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get).
This is an easy to use interface that is similar to Google Docs, or Microsoft Word allowing you to format text, create tables and headings (among other things) very easily. I’ve discussed this later in the article.
WordPress is easy to install and upgrade. The popularity of WordPress has created a whole ecosystem of installers and managed WordPress Hosting.
As you will see from our “Make a Website Tutorial” (coming soon) WordPress can be installed in less than 30 seconds via a one-click install option within the hosting providers’ administrative dashboard.
In fact, you will struggle to find a hosting provider that does not offer one-click install, and if you do, I highly recommend changing hosts.
With tutorials categorized by “for beginners,” “for intermediates,” “Troubleshooting,” “Design & Layout,” “Posting” and “File & Plugin Management” with each covering a range of subtopics, you can be sure to find solutions to any queries or issues you may have.
If the documentation doesn’t help you, or you have a unique query you can ask your question in the community-based forums.
Not only do you have access to the official documentation, and support forum but due to the popularity of WordPress there are many thousands of websites all dedicated to producing WordPress related news, guides, tutorials and other resources. Just like this website.
If you have a problem, it is likely that a simple Google Search will throw up solutions.
There are many hosting providers, like SiteGround, who are making a name for themselves by offering WordPress management (security, auto-upgrades, performance related features) and helpful support.
If the documentation, forums, and other searches don’t help you, try opening a ticket with your hosting provider. While they may not help with website creation or theme specific queries, they will most likely help with basic WordPress issues.
Quite often a major new release will bring issues for backward compatibility. This means that quite often you cannot upgrade without updating or rewriting your existing code.
WordPress, on the other hand, strives to never break backward compatibility. It is one of their most important philosophies, making updates easier.
All of the core WordPress generated code is in full compliance with the standards set by the W3C. As a result, your website will maintain forward compatibility with future browser version and technology.
Publishing your content is easy with WordPress. You can create posts, pages, or even use custom page types to organize your content.
You can use the WYSIWYG to format text, insert media, and then click the “Publish” button to instantly make that post live. Alternatively, “Save as a Draft” to work on the content over multiple sessions.
You can see an image of the WordPress dashboard interface in action below:
You can even make content private or secure posts and pages with a password. If you want to share your post for feedback before it goes live, you can use plugins such as “Public Post Preview”.
In a company, you may want certain employees to have access to certain things, but restrict access to more sensitive areas such as “accounts,” “the server room” or you may have a junior member of staff that needs ultra restricted access to “files.”
The same principals apply to WordPress. When you add a user you can set specific roles:
With the WordPress media manager, you can easily upload images, videos, pdf files, and other media.
The process is simple with their easy drag and drop utility. This, coupled, with the ability to add alt text, captions and titles make it a powerful way to manage your media.
Adding an image to your content is easy too, and can be done within a few clicks from within the WYSIWYG.
WordPress comes prebuilt with a robust commenting system that contains everything you need to display and moderate comments.
Furthermore, you can easily integrate WordPress with services such as Akismet to automatically filter our spam comments. You can read my in-depth tutorial on how to do this here.
WordPress is available in more than 70 languages making it easy to use no matter what language you speak.
If you wish to create a multilingual website, with all of your content in multiple languages, then you can do so with the WordPress Multilingual plugin.
If you are migrating from a different platform, there are many tools and plugins to help with this. WordPress itself comes with importers for blogger, LiveJournal, Movable Type, TypePad, Tumblr, and WordPress.com.
Easily add social share buttons, integrate commenting systems with social media, or simply automatically share your content to Social Media. Whatever you need to do, chances are there is a plugin for that.
WordPress has grown from having less than one hundred plugins back in May 2005 to over 51,000 today. I have searched back over the web archive and extracted some statistics showing the rate of growth:Of course, these only include the ones listed in the WordPress plugin repository, and not premium plugins (although many premium plugins have a limited free functional version so they can get listed).
Plugins allow you to extend the functionality of WordPress, with plugins for almost every conceivable feature. You can add complex galleries, drag and drop page builders, social networking functionality, forums, social media widgets, spam protection, calendars, fine-tune controls for search engine optimization, and create beautiful contact forms.
Easy Theme System WordPress comes bundled with two default themes, but if they aren’t for you, there’s a theme directory with thousands of themes for you to create a beautiful website. None of those to your taste? Upload your own theme with the click of a button. It only takes a few seconds for you to give your website a complete makeover.
WordPress websites are easily scalable. Start off with a simple blog, website, or e-commerce store and over time expand the website to contain multiple sections, more functionality, and even multi-site capabilities.
A scalable approach allows you to get up and running cheaply, and quickly, with the ability to continuously improve and expand at your leisure.
Here is a brief summary of how scalability can be achieved:
When choosing your WordPress theme, you should pick one that is SEO-friendly in order to increase your traffic from the search engines. Fortunately, with the inbuilt SEO features (permalinks, sitemaps, good content structure) most of the technical side is already taken care of before the theme settings and templates come in to play.
Most themes these days include all the relevant SEO markup, such as Title, Description and other meta tags. Many of them are optimized for speed, which is likely to become a Google Ranking factor with the new Mobile-first index update coming in late 2017.
With mobile-friendliness being a Google ranking factor, it is important that your website is optimized for mobile. Fortunately, the significant majority of WordPress themes are responsive. By this, I mean that they adapt to the screen size of your device.
While not a direct Google ranking Factor, WordPress websites utilizing the new Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) can gain more visibility in the search results.
AMP pages work, by creating a version of the page that is highly optimized, and adhering to stringent coding standards. These are then cached by Google and shown in the mobile search results, significantly improving the load time on slow mobile devices.
One of the most significant Google Ranking Factors is having great content. This coupled with a good organization (i.e.,. Website Structure) can significantly improve your website’s visibility.
WordPress structures your content by organizing it into pages, blog posts, categories, and tags. By taking a careful and considered approach to this (i.e. not spamming tags and categories with just one entry), you can ensure the structure of your website enables proper internal linking to your most important pages \ groups of pages.
The permalink structure can help with your SEO. For example, you can add dates to your blog posts, and parent pages to your pages.
Furthermore, your permalinks are optimized for SEO by allowing them to be both human readable and keyword rich. You can read more about how having keywords in your URL are a ranking factor here.
As I have already mentioned, WordPress allows you to install third-party plugins to improve its functionality significantly. There is one SEO plugin that I highly recommend; Yoast.
The Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin has the following features:
Because WordPress is so popular, a whole generation of SEO specialists knows WordPress inside out. They know how to configure Plugins like Yoast, setup your website structure, as well as ensure all the other technical considerations are properly thought out and set.
Himmelen is an Elegant, Clean and Creative WordPress blog themes. It is particularly suited to personal blogs about travel, inspirations, food, fashions news, photos, weddings and everyday moments from all over the world.
Whatever you wish to cover in your WordPress blog, there is a stunning design waiting.
Plumber WordPress Theme is designed especially for plumbers, electricians, handyman, roof repairing, other repairing and construction companies. It is fully responsive, and comes with a sophisticated drag and drop page builder.
If you have a business website, chances are that a web designer has made a theme specifically for your business type.
Shopkeeper is a fully responsive mobile-friendly Premium WooCommerce Theme with a great customizable design and extensive functionality.
Many ecommerce sites use WordPress, and the WooCommerce Plugin is one of the most advanced, yet simple, ways to start and online store.
Proton is high quality responsive mobile-friendly portfolio theme with great style and clean code. Proton can be used for many purposes starting from minimal portfolios, agencies, freelancers and much more.
SmartMag is a modern, clean, responsive and retina-ready (HD) WordPress theme suitable for magazines, newspapers, review websites, or blogs.