WordPress blows the competition in the CMS world. According to W3Techs, 34 percent of all websites use WordPress as their content management system. So it’s no surprise that you might look at it first if you’re building a new website for your business. But what is it exactly? And how might it help you create and run a website for your small business?
When you search for content management systems today, the top result you’ll most likely get is WordPress.
And that’s not really a surprising fact. According to w3techs, WordPress powers about 34 percent of the websites out there.
It wasn’t the first content management system, but it’s been the one that’s taken off and become the most popular. When you’re looking to use a CMS to build your website, you’re most likely going to end up at WordPress.
So today, let’s dive in on WordPress to see what it is, what it offers and how it can help you and your business and your website.
What is WordPress?
So, what exactly is WordPress? So, as I sort of mentioned before, it’s a content management system that at first was really focused on blogging, but today has morphed into something more where people use it for ecommerce and other things.
It’s open source software, which to be relatively brief, means that anyone can contribute to it — from the code in core, to accessibility, to design to community events. In fact I have four plugins and four themes in their respective directories on WordPress.org.
As I mentioned before, about 34 percent of all websites use WordPress. That includes organizations like Microsoft, the Rolling Stones and the even the Walt Disney Corporation. So you’ll be in pretty good company should you use WordPress.
But, before me move on, I want to clear something up: there’s a difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. You probably know dot com from commercials you’ve seen on TV or online. Technically, it is WordPress, but when you sign up for a dot com website, you’re going to be limited with what you can do unless you pay up.
Dot org WordPress, on the other hand, is the open source project. You’ll need your own domain and web hosting, but when you download WordPress code, you technically kind of own that code and you can add as many themes and plugins as you want with no restrictions or at least WordPress won’t restrict you on that.
So, now that we know a little bit more about what WordPress is, let’s talk about some of the features that might help you and your business.
Tons of plugins
One of the best parts about WordPress is the sheer number of plugins out there that can help you extend functionality for your website.
WordPress still kind of operates as a blogging platform, sort of despite this paradigm shift that’s trying to happen. You can see this by the fact that “posts” is still one of the highest menu items in the dashboard.
But there are many, many ways that you can extend the functionality of WordPress. You do this through plugins. WordPress has a plugin directory on its website that features over 54,000 different plugins, and those are just the free ones.
Want to start an online store? There are a plethora of ecommerce plugins that can help set up an online store for your business in just minutes. Need help with your site’s seo? There are plugins that can do that. Want a forum? Yep, there are plugins for that too.
The list is endless. If you think of something that you want to do on your website, there’s probably a plugin for that.
Easy writing experience
One of the biggest selling points for WordPress, and really CMSs in general, is the easier writing experience, especially for non-developers.
You don’t need to create code or create templates for every single post or page that you create. WordPress’ underlying code does that for you when you hit “publish”.
Instead, you just have to worry about creating that content and making sure that’s perfect.
Plus, the writing experience in WordPress is pretty good, especially with the new editor, Gutenberg, editor introduced in 2018. I know it’s still kind of controversial amongst WordPress developers and what not, but really, I’ve found it to be a really cool experience. And if you’ve never used WordPress before, it’s probably going to seem natural to you.
Everything is in blocks, from text blocks, to image blocks, to photo gallery blocks, to even custom blocks that you or others can create. And you can rearrange said blocks in any order. The result, I’ve found, is that it’s a stress-free writing environment and a page builder if you want to.
And really I think you’ll like it. Because all you have to do is write your content, hit publish and see it right on you website.
Finally, WordPress features easy ways for you to customize the look and feel of your website. Every WordPress website utilizes a theme to show off the content on the front end.
There’s a WordPress theme directory where you can select from over 7,500 free themes. And if you don’t find something you like there, you can also find themes from third-party sellers, including Studiopress and Themeforest.
Also, many themes come ready to be customized with theme options pages and customizable options, such as colors, styling and a lot more. And installing these themes is as simple as a couple of clicks of the mouse in the admin area of your WordPress website.
If you’re more technically inclined, you can even create your own theme for your website. And this truly makes it your own website.
But there are also many, many ways for you to make your website your own without even touching a single line of code. And that’s what helps make WordPress an appetizing option for so many businesses.
How it can help your business
So, how can WordPress help your business? Well, it makes it easy to create a website. As I mentioned last time, WordPress used to be famous for its five-minute install. And really today with the web hosting that’s out there, it’s even quicker to set up a WordPress website.
It also makes it incredibly easy to manage your content. You don’t have to create code for every single page or post. It does that all for you. You just have to worry about your text, your image images, your video and other things you want on the page.
Plus, the number of third party plugins and themes helps you to customize your website to whatever you want it to be. You can quickly create an online store and start selling products. You can completely change the look of your website with just a couple of clicks of the mouse. You can almost do anything you want if you can find the plugin for it. Not all competitors can do that.
Plus, an often overlooked aspect of WordPress is the community around it. Because it’s open source software, anybody can contribute to the WordPress project. And with that, there are many, many people who help build it, and many, many more who help others with it, whether through blog posts, videos or podcasts. It’s a great community. Trust me.
Plus, there are local WordPress meetups and conferences, called WordCamps, all over the world. And here you can meet other business owners, web developers, writers and many many more people who use WordPress. There are loads of opportunities to network and find people that might be able to help you if and when you need it.
So, with the disclaimer that I primarily use WordPress in everything I do on the web, WordPress can really help you do it all. It’s just a matter of doing it.
So that wraps up our look into WordPress. I know this was kind of a quick overview of the content management system, but I’ve gone ahead and put links in the description below that can help you do more research to figure out if it’s the right thing for you.
Also, if you have any questions about WordPress and how it might be able to help your business, leave them in comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them.
Next time we’ll be taking a look at Drupal. And as always, I wish you and your business the best of luck.