WordPress is one of several platforms used to develop websites. You may have heard of some others, ie Joomla, Drupal, Wix, Squarespace, etc.
WordPress is the most popular platform, with roughly one-third of all sites being currently built using it. It was first created in 2003, used primarily for blogging. It has since grown and is being used for many major sites, including Mercedes-Benz, The New Yorker, and The Walt Disney Company.
Note: There are two versions of WordPress available. There is self-hosted WordPress.org and WordPress.com. Future reference to WordPress will refer to WordPress.org. Unlike other website builders, WordPress.org requires a hosting account, but it gives you complete control on every aspect of your website.
I love WordPress and here are some reasons why.
WordPress is Easy to Use
While WordPress may look intimidating at first, it is pretty intuitive. It’s easy to add content, including images, with just a bit of training. The big advantage is that by doing simple updates yourself, you can save quite a bit of money over paying a web developer to make those changes.
Each person with access to the site can be assigned a username and password with varying levels of permission for making changes. There should never be more than two users with administrative privileges (you and your web developer). Others can have editor, author, contributor or subscriber privileges.
There are many tutorials available to help learn WordPress quickly. One that I love and offer to my clients is Video User Manuals.
Flexible and Customizable
You can change the appearance of your website using plugins, themes, add-ons and widgets. Most are free, but some of the best have a price tag.
- Themes control the overall look and feel of the site. They determine the colors, fonts, layout, etc. While there are thousands of free themes, I highly recommend using Genesis by Studiopress. They make child themes as well, but you can also find third party child themes that are compatible with Genesis. Their coding is excellent, which minimizes the risk of being hacked.
- Widgets perform specific functions, typically used in the sidebar or footer, but many themes use widgets in various sections of the page.
- Plugins add functionality. The WordPress repository includes over 55,000 plugins. You only need a handful for your website, but isn’t it nice to have options? The repository shows valuable information that help you decide which ones to use, including when the plugin was last updated, ranking by users, etc. Some of the ones I love are Yoast SEO, Smush, NextGen Gallery, BackupBuddy (Premium and therefore not found in the repository), and Google Analytics Dashboard for WP.
SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. Think of organic as natural; it is anything you do to your website that helps direct traffic to your site.
Google and other search engines love WordPress because it is written using standard compliance high-quality code. This is why WordPress sites tend to rank higher than others in search engines. Simply put, WordPress code is easy for the search engines to read.
WordPress is very SEO-friendly out of the box. It supports the use of metadata, tags, categories, and SEO-friendly URLs. SEO plugins, such as Yoast SEO extend optimization beyond the basics. That language may be foreign to you, but keep posted and I will explain it all to you over time.
Searchability is important in order for your site to be found among thousands, or millions, of other businesses offering the same or similar products or services. Improving your WordPress SEO is crucial for getting more traffic to your website.
WordPress is Scalable
It can power both small and large websites. It’s the perfect choice for businesses that are just starting out; it allows your website to grow as your business grows.
It can be used as a simple blogging website using a built-in theme, or it can be scaled to deliver a sophisticated design with complex architecture for use by a global brand. Here are some of the different ways it can be used.
- Business websites
- Online stores
- Membership sites
- Selling online courses
WordPress is Secure (For the Most Part)
It is developed with security in mind, and it is considered to be a very safe and secure platform to run a website. But because WordPress is so popular, it is a target for hackers. It’s nothing personal, they look for easy targets, specifically plugins that are out of date.
It gets audited regularly by hundreds of developers. Plugins and themes get updated on a regular basis to stay in sync with WordPress. It’s just a matter of being diligent about installing the updates.
As a website owner, there’s a lot that you can do to improve your WordPress security, even if you’re not tech savvy. Most plugins updates address vulnerabilities, so by installing those updates as soon as they are available, you can minimize your risk of getting hacked. Always make sure to create a backup before doing so, in case there are any conflicts and you need to roll back to an earlier version.
Making regular backups and storing them off-site will get you back up and running quickly, should you get hacked despite your efforts.
If this all sounds scary, we offer a Peace of Mind Care Plan that updates plugins, themes, WordPress core, and makes regular backups that are stored off-site. Let us take care of your site so you can do what you do best, which is work your business.
Large and Supportive Community
There are plenty of great sources for WordPress advice, such as forums, blogs, tutorials, and Facebook groups. I have found the Genesis community to be of tremendous help as well.
The WordPress community also holds events, such as WordCamps, which allow you to meet and learn from fellow WordPress enthusiasts and experts.
Some areas offer Meetup groups that are specific to WordPress. Check to see if your area offers such a group.