Hey there and welcome back!
So you might be looking to create a new or first website for your business this year. And that’s awesome. But maybe you’re not sure how you can do that quickly and relatively easily. Don’t worry.
Might I suggest using WordPress for that. As you’ll see, it’s the top open source content management system out there today and with good reason. It started the simple 5-minute install for CMSs and is easy for users to create and manage their websites.
So today let’s discuss why you should use WordPress for your new website.
Before we get started, if you want to see more videos on WordPress, ecommerce, digital marketing, web design and other website related topics, be sure to hit the subscribe button and to ring the bell for notifications.
Now let’s get started!
What is WordPress?
So first off, what exactly is WordPress?
Well as I mentioned before, it’s an open source content management system and one of the best out there. A content management system, to put it briefly, allows you to manage key parts of your website, like the content.
And if you want, I covered content management systems in an earlier series which I’ve linked to down in the description below.
While WordPress first started off in 2004 as a blogging platform, it really has transformed into something more with users able to transform their websites into an online store, a newspaper website, an online forum and so much more thanks to the many plugins and themes available for use.
According to w3techs, WordPress now powers about 43 percent of the internet. That includes organizations like Microsoft, the Rolling Stones and even the Walt Disney Corporation. So you’ll be in pretty good company should you use WordPress.
As you’ll see as we talk about it more, WordPress allows you to create an entire website without touching any code. Most web hosts these days even have an installer that means you don’t have to worry about the database or uploading files.
I do want to note that WordPress is also self-hosted, meaning that you will need to find a web host and purchase a domain before you get started, which is different from Wix or Squarespace. But at the same time that can have its advantages since you’re not tied down to one web hosting company.
But to wrap it up in a nice bow, WordPress allows you to create an awesome website without touching any lines of code.
Let’s talk about open source
So in that section I mentioned that WordPress is open source. But what is open source? And why is it something you should think about when it comes to creating a website?
Well to put it simply, open source means that the code is available for anyone to use and to modify. You don’t have to pay to be able to use WordPress on your website. You can download and go with it.
Using open source keeps you from being locked in with proprietary services. For example if a proprietary service goes under, you’re stuck and it’s going to be a headache to get that moved over to something else. Meanwhile with a CMS, that code is still going to be around no matter what. And really, there’s probably a good chance that someone will still find a way to maintain it.
Which brings me to the other benefit of open source, which is the ability to contribute to the project. Your contribution could be to actually write code or simply test versions of the code or write documentation or something in between. I’ve actually contributed to WordPress with four plugins and four themes in their respective directories. You might find a way to help as well.
Just one more thing though. As I mentioned before, even though you don’t have to pay to use WordPress, you will have to pay for a domain name and hosting. So it’s not completely free. But it is a better option than paying for software like Wix, Squarespace or proprietary software.
Easy to create a website in minutes
WordPress also makes it super easy to get started with a website in just minutes. In fact, back in the day (and we’re talking about, like, pre-2010 or so), it was famous for its five-minute install. You could download WordPress, upload it to your web host, follow the prompts on the screen and get going with it in less than five minutes. And you didn’t need to know any SQL or PHP.
Today things are a lot easier since every web host worth its salt now can install WordPress or any other CMS for you with a click of the mouse. But WordPress still makes it super easy to create your new website.
As you’ll see as we go through this video, you can easily add a theme to give your website a great design and add plugins that add cool functionality, like SEO support or even making your website an online store. And adding in your content is pretty easy as well.
With WordPress, you could have a fully complete and functioning website within an hour.
Loads of plugins you can use
One of the best parts about using WordPress is the sheer number of plugins that you can add to your website to add additional functionality.
Currently there are over 59,000 plugins in the directory on WordPress.org. And that number doesn’t include the multitude of plugins that are available elsewhere on the internet.
Want to create an online store? There are an incredible number of plugins, like WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads, that will allow you to do that. Plus those plugins have additional add on plugins that can allow you to do things like software licensing and printing shipping labels.
Want to create a membership website where people pay to see content? There are plugins for that. Want to create a directory website where people pay you to list their website or business? You guessed it, there are plugins for that.
Plus there are also plugins for contact forms, SEO, donations, events and calendars, and more.
And adding these plugins to your website isn’t that hard either. For plugins that are in the WordPress repository, you can simply add them through your dashboard. And for plugins from elsewhere online, you can just drag and drop the ZIP files into the Add Plugin screen. No need to worry about FTP or any of that.
Just make sure that you properly vet the plugins before installing them so you’re only adding top-quality plugins. And make sure you don’t get two plugins that do the same thing. That can cause conflicts and potential page speed issues.
But the possibilities are endless for plugins and what you can do for your website.
A ton of themes you can choose from
In a similar fashion, there are a ton of themes you can choose from for the design of your website. Currently there are over 4,500 themes in the WordPress theme directory that you can select to use for free. And that doesn’t include all of the themes that are available elsewhere online.
There are great places like StudioPress that produce high quality themes that you can use for your website. And if you use WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads for an online store, they also have both free and premium themes you can choose from.
And the best part is that you can swap out themes to find the one you really want. There might be a little bit of adjustments to make. But WordPress makes it really easy to change themes and find the perfect one for your website.
Or you can hire someone to build for you
Or you could just hire someone to build a new theme for you as well. There are a ton of theme developers who would love to create something custom for you. In fact, you’re looking at one right now, if we’re being honest.
Because so many people use WordPress, there are a lot of people out there who are building WordPress websites for others. And WordPress makes it pretty easy to do so.
So if you have a little bit of a bigger budget and truly want a unique looking website for your business, you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding someone to create that custom theme for you.
As you can see by the sheer number of plugins and themes created by others, WordPress is also pretty easy to customize.
And I know that I’m not the only one with a similar story in the WordPress world as well.
Plus, with the release of WordPress 5.9, customizing your entire website just got a whole lot easier as well. Now in WordPress you can customize everything, from the header and footer to the various page templates — using the block editor. You can create your own, unique website now without having to write any lines of code. And unlike places like Wix and Squarespace, the possibilities are truly endless.
Can scale as your business grows
Also, WordPress can scale as your business grows and you need your website to do more.
For example, let’s say that you just want to start out with a simple website with just a couple of pages so that people know your business exists. And then this time next year, you’ve grown a lot and now want to add an online store so people can buy your products online.
That’s not an issue with WordPress. You can just add in the plugins that you need for the store and maybe switch the theme with something that will work better for an online store and you’re all set. No need to completely redo the entire site.
Also, if you start with a prebuilt theme with WordPress but then grow and want to create a custom theme to give your business a unique look, that’s actually pretty simple. Your developer can just create a new theme, install and activate it on the website and you’re good to go. You don’t need to mess around with migrating content or anything big like that.
So if you’re worried that you’re just going to have to create a new site down the line when your business grows, don’t worry. WordPress can scale alongside your business.
Difference between .Com and .Org
One thing I do want to mention is the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com, because despite the similar name, they are two separate things.
WordPress.com is the hosted version of WordPress. Here you can sign up for a website hosted with dot com and use WordPress, but it is a limited version of WordPress. You can’t do everything you can do with the open source version of WordPress, unless you pay. It’s a great way if you want to test the blogging waters.
But if you’re building a website for your business or are serious about this website, you need to use the WordPress.org version (AKA the open source version). While you will have to pay for hosting and a domain, you will have no restrictions on adding plugins or themes or anything else to your website. This is likely the version you will want.
I know that this can be confusing. But if you want to learn more, I’ve linked to a video I did a while back on this exact topic that gets more specific.
The WordPress Community
Finally, one of my favorite parts about WordPress is the community around it. Because of its large market share and open source nature, there are obviously a lot of people who use and contribute to WordPress. And they meet both online and in person.
There are a number of WordPress-centered groups on various social networking sites. I know there are quite a few WordPress groups that I’m a part of on Facebook, and a search on the WordPress Twitter hashtag will allow you to meet more people who make and use WordPress. Plus, if you ask a question on the WordPress forums, you’re bound to get an answer from someone, I promise.
But the real key to the community is the in-person events. I am willing to bet that there is a WordPress meetup located somewhere around you. These groups tend to meet at least once a month and it’s a great place to meet others in your area who use WordPress and who also probably have a varying degree of experience. Not only could you get help for your website from them, but you might make friendships and business relationships along the way.
And finally there are regional WordPress conferences, or WordCamps, that happen once a year. Here there will be speakers, both local and national, that will give you a lot of great ideas for what you can do for your website, as well as another chance to meet WordPress people in your area. I’ve attended five in-person WordCamps and helped organize WordCamp DFW 2017 and 2018, and I loved every bit of it. It’s a great experience, and I always come away inspired.
So if you’re still on the fence about WordPress, I think the community that you’ll be joining is a great tipping point to becoming another WordPress user.
So that’s it for today! What questions do you have about WordPress? If you’ve used it before, what was your experience like? Be sure to leave all of that down in the comments section below.
If you’re looking to create a new website for your business on WordPress and want professional help, I would love to help you out. I offer both a basic starter plan and a custom website plan, whichever fits your budget. You’ll get a high quality website from which you can build your digital marketing foundation. Check out the links in the description below for more information.
Next time we’ll be comparing WordPress with Squarespace and Wix and what types of websites they are good for.
To see that video and more videos on WordPress, ecommerce, digital marketing, web design and other website related topics, be sure to hit the subscribe button and to ring the bell for notifications.
But until next time, I wish the best for both you and your business!