You have probably heard about WordPress, but what exactly is it, and should you use it? Starting a new website can be a daunting task. There are a multitude of decisions that have to be made as well as tons of different options available to you. Should you use a web builder or a managed service from your hosting provider? Do you need to hire a web developer, or can you do it yourself? These are just a few examples of the choices you need to consider before you begin the process.
Fortunately, we’re here to help aid your decision making process. In the following article we’ll go over one of the most popular options for creating and managing your website, WordPress – and why it might just be everything you’re looking for.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a multi-faceted, highly customizable, and highly capable CMS, or content management system. This means that it acts as a control hub for all aspects of the website from page content, to order history, to registered user lists. WordPress is also the backbone to nearly 29% of all websites on the internet. The list of users includes Fortune 500 companies like Disney, Sony, Best Buy, and more.
There are tons of ways to use this platform, including for blogs, stores, or just to spread the word. The benefits of WordPress are many, and you’d be in good company should you decide to take advantage of them. If it can be created, it can be created on WordPress.
WordPress is Free
That’s right. WordPress is completely FREE! All you have to do is create an account and install the software onto the domain and you’re ready to go! Many major hosting providers even offer one click installation for WordPress, so it couldn’t be simpler.
If you are happy with your site using just the free options for themes and plugins, you can operate a site for just the cost of your hosting plan! However, should you decide to get more creative or seek additional capabilities, you may have to pay up a bit.
WordPress Offers a Wide Range of Customization
Although WordPress comes ready-to-go out of the box, where it really shines is in the customization. As mentioned previously, many of the options you’ll find are free and they can allow you to do almost anything.
The primary skin of your site is called a theme, which effects the page layouts, colors, styling, and more. This is where most of the visual customization happens. Themes usually come with options to set page backgrounds, change the menu font and color, allow you to customize the footers, and more. While there are free themes that offer great customization, a premium theme will unlock a plethora of additional settings to tweak and play with. This way your site will look exactly how you want it and with thousands of themes available, there’s sure to be something you’ll love.
Plugins are extensions of the platform that customize its functionality. While it already comes with a blog system setup, commenting, account creation, and more, your site may need more than that. This is where the over 50,000 plugins on the WordPress marketplace come in, many of which are entirely free!
When visiting the plugin market you’ll come across options for every functionality you require. Making a store? WooCommerce is a highly supported and widely used eCommerce solution that sets your store up within minutes. Need a Live chat? There are tons of free live chat plugins for you to try out and choose. Site running slow? Get a page cache plugin and watch your speeds get cut in half! Have a plugin that needs some extra features? You can invest in the premium version and expand its functionality even further.
There truly is no limit to what plugins and themes in conjunction are capable of, making WordPress a great option for all users.
Easy To Use
While it is possible to clutter and complicate WordPress with unnecessary plugins, themes, and pages, it remains simple to use. The format of the navigation bar titles each plugin and organizes tools so that they are easy to find. With the combination of instructions on the basic operations and layout as well as the tons of FAQs and support available, you can become proficient with little time investment required.
WordPress Makes It Easy to be Found Online
SEO, or search engine optimization, is one of the most important parts of making your website stand out and be found online. Without SEO practices being implemented, your site will not rank well on Google. This means that you’ll receive less visitors and have less success. Fear not though, because WordPress is great for SEO.
WordPress formats all pages, products, and posts in a way that is easy for search engines to decipher. This is because it allows you to customize how your links display so that they are more organized and better explain the content they represent.
The capabilities are further expanded by the various SEO plugins available, allowing you to edit meta tags and check keyword visibility on posts and pages. Yoast SEO is a highly popular plugin option that many users swear by, making on site SEO easy to setup.
WordPress is Popular and Heavily Supported
If you’re worried about not knowing how to do something, WordPress has you covered as well. In addition to the tons of guides and FAQs that come with WordPress and the various themes and plugins, there is also a huge community of highly experienced WordPress users and developers that are usually more than willing to help.
The WordPress forums will likely be your best friend when experimenting with WordPress on your own. With a quick Google search you will likely find multiple people who have had a similar issue to yours posting on the forums, as well as multiple solutions for you to try. Can’t find a thread that applies to you? With just a WordPress account you can create your own topic and get help from the huge community specific to your situation.
It wouldn’t be fair to present only the benefits when you’re trying to make a decision. Even with its numerous benefits, there are some minor concerns with WordPress as a CMS.
First, WordPress has some minor security concerns when proper precautions aren’t taken. Due to how popular WordPress is, learning how to break the system is a popular study for those seeking to take malicious action. Although WordPress is usually hosted through a hosting company with backups and full control of the domain, accessing your backend can still cause you trouble.
Fortunately, there are plugins to help with this. There are many security and backup plugins that will allow you to lock hackers out of your site and even restore a site should anything happen. These security plugins will alert you if any malware, brute force attacks, or changes are made to your site without your knowledge. This would allow you to re-secure your site as soon as possible to limit potential damage. You can also backup your entire site – pages, databases, and all – and save the file locally so that in case something happens, you have everything from a past version ready to upload once the breach is fixed.
Another concern with WordPress is that because there are so many pieces working together, compatibility issues may arise due to updates or configurations. WordPress itself has updates which usually have a sizable effect on your site, and because the previous themes and plugins are made for a different version of it, issues sometimes happen. These are usually fixed by the plugin author, but in the short term it can be frustrating. It is recommended that you set updates to manual for plugins, themes, and WordPress so that you can back up your site before making any significant changes.
Hopefully you learned something about WordPress and have an idea of whether or not it’s the option for you. Based on the benefits mentioned and the relative ease of remedying its shortcomings, we believe that WordPress is a great option for any website, which is why we use it for most of the new sites we create.