Why WordPress

This website is made using WordPress, it is perhaps obvious that I think WordPress rocks! Well, yes it does. However, as I am frequently asked why I favor the WordPress website platform over all other systems and platforms, I’ve decided to finally sit down and put my thoughts about the topic into a single, comprehensive post.

Although there are literally dozens of reasons why WordPress is a brilliant choice for developing your business website, the ten (10) main reasons for my way of thinking are:

  1. WordPress is free
  2. WordPress has default website functionality ‘out of the box’
  3. WordPress is very supportive of SEO as standard
  4. WordPress is the closest thing to a de facto web development platform
  5. WordPress allows you to update it quickly and easily
  6. WordPress is supported by a massive community of plugin and theme developers
  7. WordPress is easy to learn and simple to manage
  8. WordPress has widely available official and unofficial support
  9. WordPress is supported by all reputable web hosts
  10. WordPress is highly flexible and customizable

I’ll describe each one of these reasons below in detail, each followed by a short summary as to why these reasons are of significant benefit in a business context.

1. WordPress is free

The term ‘free’ as it applies to WordPress has a dual meaning. Firstly it is free in the sense that you can get it and use it without having to pay any form of an up-front or ongoing fee, ever. However, the term ‘free’ as the makers of WordPress intend it aligns itself more closely to that of ‘freedom of speech’ as a philosophy of unrestricted expression and sharing.

In the software world, WordPress is what’s known as an Open Source application or program. This means that WordPress is made freely available to anyone to use under a license that allows it to be used, modified and/or shared under a set of defined terms and conditions. Specifically, WordPress is released under the GNU General Public Licence (GPL), which simply means that anyone who changes and then releases their own version of the program must do so under the same terms and conditions upon which they originally obtained it.

However, from a business perspective, the GPL places no limitations on usage at all, for the enterprises that use it are not modifying its source code for the purposes of creating their own version of the platform for sale. Rather, they are simply using WordPress as the platform upon which to build their own proprietary websites, upon which all data, information, and content published or otherwise made available is copyright-protected intellectual property.

Put in more simplistic terms, however, if you intend to use WordPress solely for the purpose of building and managing a business website, then it is indeed totally free of cost, and further, its licensing conditions have no bearing on its use for this purpose.

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If you intend to use WordPress solely for the purpose of building and managing a business website, then it is indeed totally free of cost, and free of licencing conditions impact its usage for this purpose.

2. WordPress has default website functionality ‘out of the box’

WordPress works in a similar way to a pre-fabricated house. It comes with everything you need to build the foundation of a powerful, standards compliant, SEO friendly and content-driven business website ‘out of the box’. With a pre-fab house, all you have to do is put the various components together with the way that you want them, slap on some render and paint, bring in some nice landscaping, put up the security fencing and you’re done.

With WordPress, all you need to do is create some pages, insert some relevant content, add in a menu system, attach a nice theme for that professional look, create some user accounts with super strong passwords to keep the hackers, throw in a few essentials like a phone number and a contact form, and there you have, a basic business website ready to go live. As for all the details ‘under the hood’ such as the coding languages involved, the web standards required and the management and functionality of common website processes and features, well, WordPress itself takes care of all this; relieving you of the need to worry about these things yourself.

This is light years ahead of the bad old days of website development, a.k.a. the nineties, when not only did you have to worry about the structure and content of your site, but also the ins and outs of HTML, JavaScript, CGI, the web developments standards of the time and a whole bunch of other nightmarish stuff the business website owner wants to avoid like the plague.

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The developers of WordPress, and the huge global community of clever people who contribute to its ongoing improvement, take care of all the technical details involved ‘under the hood’. This frees you to focus on what matters to you as a business operator, i.e. refining and improving your visitors’ experience of the site to ensure maximum conversions.

3. WordPress is very supportive of SEO as standard

WordPress is designed to be fully compliant with Google’s own Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) standards and guidelines. Google itself has stated its favorable attitude to a business website built on the WordPress platform on many occasions in recent times, including through its chief SEO advisor and evangelist Matt Cutts.

Cutts has stated expressly that WordPress takes care of 80 to 90 percent of the mechanics of SEO. This refers to how ‘crawlable’ a website is, or in other words, how easy WordPress makes it for Google to discover, index and rank a website using the various search engine algorithms designed to perform this task.

This built-in SEO support and compliance are invaluable because it means that it frees you from having the ‘know-how’ to implement the mechanics of SEO correctly and from having to remember to implement these mechanics page by page as your business website develops. This of course then allows you to focus your full attention on other key aspects of SEO success such as the keywords you focus on and the quality of the content you publish.

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Correct Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is one of the key elements to your online business success, especially if your marketing plan involves gaining a consistently good position in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). The fact that WordPress takes care of the majority of the mechanics of good SEO practice for you is a real plus in this regard.

4. WordPress is the closest thing to a de facto web development platform

At the time of writing this post, it was estimated that there were up to 90 million active WordPress install on the world wide web. This represents a whopping 23% of all websites active on the Web at this time, which makes WordPress by far the most commonly used Content Management System (CMS) for both private and business purposes, well ahead of its closest rivals Joomla and Drupal.

Furthermore, this market share that WordPress enjoys is increasing all the time, and at a rate far quicker than the other CMS available. The reason for this dominance is quite simple. WordPress offers its users, including its business users, an outstanding combination of features, advantages, and benefits that other CMS simply cannot offer to the same degree, and which plain old HTML websites cannot match at all.

This is the reason I am often heard to state that WordPress can be considered in many ways to be the de facto website development platform for business. Further, it is this very success that ensures more and more investment is allocated to the ongoing development of the WordPress platform, which of course ensures that it continues to, gets better all the time.

It is also this popularity and dominance that WordPress enjoys that ensures that the platform is unlikely to ever just disappear and no longer be supported, which is a very real risk for other less well known CMS with much smaller followings. From a business perspective, this is very important because you want to be sure to have built your business website on a platform then will always get better and better due to its popularity and reputation, and which is very likely to be around and supported well into the future. This is something I cannot say with equal certainty for any other CMS presently on the market.

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From a business perspective, it always make good sense to build key business assets such as a website using systems, technologies and standards that are dominant in the market, are likely to remain available well into the future and have a strong base of ongoing support and development. This is WordPress in a nutshell, so it makes good business sense to use it as the platform for your business website.

5. WordPress allows you to update it quickly and easily

WordPress is the subject of constant and ongoing improvement. Further, this improvement is not conducted by a closed team of proprietary developers who are insulated from the users, as is often the case with vendors such as Microsoft, but rather, a worldwide community of developers who contribute their time and intellect freely to make WordPress the best it can possibly be.

Therefore, with each subsequent version of WordPress that is released, new features have been added, errors corrected and security vulnerabilities resolved by a global team of open-source developers. Not only are these updates useful and effective, but they are also distributed to users with great regularity. This is another great benefit of WordPress; each time a new update for your WordPress installation is available, you are informed so that you can pop into the back-end as soon as convenient and install it. Even better, you can set your WordPress installation to install updates automatically when they come to hand, so you don’t have to worry about doing it yourself at all.

The upshot of this, of course, is that at any particular point in time, your WordPress installation will always be up-to-date with the latest features, security and error corrections. This is something I’ve found is considerably more difficult to achieve with other CMS on the market, and virtually impossible to achieve with antiquated plain old HTML websites.

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Keeping your business website up-to-date with the latest coding standards, security patches, features, tools and improvements ensures it will be current and secure at all times. So the fact that you can ensure this is the case with just one click, or have it happen automatically if you so desire, means that you don’t have to figure out what to update and when to update it. WordPress does this all for you.

6. WordPress is supported by a massive community of plugin and theme developers

This is perhaps one of the most compelling arguments as to why you should build your business website on the WordPress platform. Even though WordPress is very powerful out of the box and has everything required to get an up-to-date, standards-compliant and visitor-friendly website up and running in just a couple of hours, it is not designed to cater to every possible business need. This is why WordPress is so good; because its developers focus on making the core platform as awesome as it can possibly be, leaving it to others to extend its functionality in any way they see fit. This is where plugins and themes come into play.

A plugin is a small program or application that can be uploaded into WordPress to provide it with capabilities and functionality it doesn’t come with natively. At the time of writing, there were just fewer than 40,000 such plugins available for WordPress as made available through the official WordPress website (https://wordpress.org/plugins/). The plugins available allow you to enhance and customize the functionality of your WordPress website in a staggering number of ways and include those that relate to:

  • Content management
  • Email management
  • Image Management
  • eCommerce
  • Database management
  • Security management
  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Advanced User Access Control
  • Social media integration
  • YouTube integration
  • Memberships management
  • Information backup, importing and exporting
  • And the list goes on and on

Another very attractive aspect about this huge pool of plugins available for WordPress is that the vast majority of them either totally free or provide a free version that is still very useful even though a pro version may have a few more features.

Themes control the look, feel layout and style of your WordPress website. Themes are very powerful because once attached, they control all aspects of your website’s formatting and presentation in an utterly consistent manner. Even better, you don’t have to worry about formatting and display issues, because the theme you choose takes care of these things for you automatically. This is an awesome time saver and also ensures that the presentation of your business website is professional and consistent at all times.

Just like plugins, there is  huge community of theme developers that produce tens of thousands of themes between them that you can choose from. The cost of these themes range from free all the way up to reasonably expensive. However, there are many excellent themes that can be acquired for your business website for a very small fee or no fee at all.

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Plugins allow you to extend the functionality of your website in just about any way you think of. As such, the considered selection and installation of useful plugins to your WordPress website can make it much more useful and engaging for your visitors, which in turn, can only help increase conversion rates. Themes too are essential, because not only do they save you massive amounts of time by not having to worry about formatting tasks and issues, they also ensure that the look, feel and style of your business website is consistently professional at all times.

7. WordPress is easy to learn and simple to manage

Although getting a WordPress website set up initially involves some technical know-how that may warrant the services of a professional developer, once this up-front work is complete, managing day-to-day tasks is quite a simple process.

In my experience, business website owners most commonly wish to perform the following tasks themselves rather than a web developer to do them instead:

  • Add, edit and delete web page content
  • Add new pages as required
  • Upload and insert images into pages
  • Publish blog posts
  • Unpublish pages that are out of date
  • Add and remove products in a shopping cart
  • Change product prices and descriptions
  • Add new pages to the main menu or sub-menus
  • Put up special offers or promotions on the home page

The good news is that with about an hour’s training and a little bit of supporting documentation, I’ve found that most of my business website clients can perform these tasks and many others quite easily.

This is because WordPress offers a very straight-forward user interface in which everything is clearly labelled and made easily accessible from a dashboard menu located to the left of the screen.

In fact, ease of use is one of the key principles upon which WordPress is designed, and it something the developers deliver extremely well. Having used many other CMS in the past, I can assure you from direct experience that none of them come even close to the intuitive simplicity that WordPress provides.

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Calling upon the ongoing services of a web develop can be very expensive, especially if you require them to perform basic day-to-day task charged at a high hourly rate. However, WordPress makes most common business website management tasks very simple to carry out, which not only gives you a sense of control over this key business asset, but also, can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a year in web developer fees.

8. WordPress has widely available official and unofficial support

Another advantage of being so popular is that WordPress comes with a great deal of both official and unofficial support. In fact, there are very few questions about using WordPress that you can’t find the answers to in just a few minutes by consulting official WordPress website or by doing a quick Google search.

The official WordPress support resources can be found at wordpress.org/support/. Here, you find the official WordPress support forums and the full documentation that relates to using WordPress.

Alternatively, you can turn to Google to find the answers that you need. All you need to do is enter the term WordPress followed by one or two keywords that describe the need you have or the problem you are experiencing, and in just moments, you have a plethora of website resources that will explain to you exactly what you need to do. Sometimes these will be just textual resources that provide straight-forward step-by-step instructions, and sometime you’ll be taken to full on YouTube videos that describe a particular feature, process or task in great detail.

Even as a highly experienced WordPress developer myself, I still consult online WordPress resources on an almost daily basis to find a solution to tricky tasks and issue that I have not encountered before; and I yet to ever find myself not getting the solution I was looking for.

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One of the golden rules in business is to always use product, services, tools, applications and resources that come with plenty of support. This is particularly the case with any form of software application in which technical support and expertise will be required on a regular basis. One of the many great things about WordPress is that it comes with a massive domain of support resources, both official and unofficial, and all of it absolutely free.

9. WordPress is supported by all reputable web hosts

WordPress is without a doubt the most widely supported CMS in the web hosting industry. In fact, you would have to look very hard to find any web hosting company that claims to be reputable that doesn’t provide one click installation of WordPress. This is very important because of you want to move from one web host to another for any reason, the last problem you want to encounter is to find it hard to locate a web host that supports the little known, antiquated or woefully out-of-date CMS platform that you have been using.

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There are all sorts of reasons why you might want to migrate your business website from one web host to another. In fact, there are very few businesses that have not made the decision to change web hosting providers for business reasons. By building your website using the WordPress platform, you know that no matter what alternative web hosting provider you choose, your WordPress website will be easy to transfer and fully supported. This ensures minimal disruption to business continuity when a migration becomes necessary.

10. WordPress is highly flexible and customisable

This too is one of the premier strengths of WordPress; the degree to which it can be adapted and customised to the exact requirements of the business using it. In fact, I am often heard to refer to WordPress as a blank canvas upon which you can paint any picture you desire. In particular, WordPress allows you to: Apply and modify any theme of your choosing so that your site has the exact look, feel, layout and style you desire
Upload and activate plugins that serve just about any purpose under the sun so that your website can provide all kinds of functionality, both to general users and administrators in the back-end
Access to the HTML, CSS and PHP code ‘under the hood’ that drive WordPress, its themes and all of it plugins so you can get everything to fit and function in exactly the way you need.

I would even go so far as to say, at least at the SME level, there is very little reason for a business to ever look for a website solution built from scratch, when a WordPress installation can be moulded into anything you can conceive.

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Flexibility and customisability are very valuable assets to have at one’s disposal from a business point of view, and WordPress has these attributes to a much greater extent than any other CMS platform I’ve worked with.

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