- The SEO-friendliest CMS
- Expandable open source
- Flexibility / customization potential
- Peace of mind
- Lower cost upfront and ongoing
As indicated in our companion piece “Calling All WordPress Haters”, 18.3 million people now use WordPress. That number of users accounts for 59% of the market, more than 8 times the second-place content management system, Joomla (6.9%).
The sheer volume of people using this technology probably does not alone convince you that it’s the way to go. What are a few of the most compelling arguments to use WordPress? Here are nine of those mentioned by coders, web design companies, and others who are highly familiar with the environment:
The SEO-friendliest CMS
One of the surest ways to get more visitors to your site is to improve your search rankings. Here are a few ways WordPress is standardly geared toward strong SEO that are mentioned by Nick Schäferhoff in Torque Magazine:
- Although the primary language of WordPress is PHP, the software creates HTML pages that search engines can scan effortlessly.
- You can set permalinks that include the keywords of the article or other page. The permalink will auto-generate with the title, but it can often be shortened and refined for better keyword focus.
- The title is a key component of how your page will be understood by Google. The combination of the title and the heading tags also provide the search spider with a sense of structure.
- Content marketing is critical to getting noticed online. Since WordPress was originally conceived as a blogging platform, it is considered a powerful tool for text or multimedia posts.
- The CMS makes it simple to bring in images and to optimize them with descriptions, ALT tags, and other elements to further increase your search prominence.
All those aspects of WordPress are included in the basic installation, before you add any plugins or tweak your code.
Expandable open source
WordPress is free, open source software, and you can host it yourself – which means that you won’t have to pay anything to download or maintain it (i.e., you have access to updated releases). The ecosystem of plugins for the CMS is vast, including more than 20,000 options (caching plugins, contact forms, social buttons, automated “related post” integration, etc.).
Flexibility / customization potential
A strength of WordPress is that it provides a cookie-cutter structure, but that model is by no means rigid. Anyone using it can easily change the basic design and functionality by switching out the themes or plugins. Elisha Terada of web design company Fresh Consulting notes that these fundamental aspects of how your site operates and is presented are not just developed by enterprises but are user-created (which doesn’t hurt when it comes to seeing things from your perspective).
Mikke of Mikke Goes Coding also lists customization as a key WordPress strength. He notes that the appearance of the site and the way that it is organized for the user are just as central to your success as what the site provides from a utilitarian view. Customization within the CMS is nearly open-ended if you want to work with a developer on rebuilding elements. If you want to spare that expense, there are a vast number of plugins and themes you can use to improve the visuals of your site, what’s available to users, and how it works for you.
You can change how the features and areas of your pages are laid out, ways it can be navigated, and (of course) the content. You will be able to make adjustments to the background, visuals, fonts, and colors.
For broad-sweeping changes, you can switch out the theme that you are using almost instantly. There are many thousands available, and a good portion of those are free. Businesses often decide it makes sense to use paid themes, though, since the developers are then better incentivized to provide bug fixes and security updates; support for the theme can then sometimes be included.
For adding a functionality to the site, you can use plugins. Example functionalities include pointing readers to related blog posts, creating a contact form pop-up, building in analytics, creating newsletter lists, adding different languages (such as Spanish), spam comment blocking, and SEO friendliness.
Time is one of the reasons Mikke gives for why he uses WordPress, saying that the framework allows you to accelerate earlier. “[I]nstead of starting with small steps and the very basics of programming a website,” he says, “you can take jumping leaps with WordPress and be able to launch your web page surprisingly quickly.”
Peace of mind
You often hear about WordPress hacks. Like in any environment, though, a lot of the challenge is to be conscientious: use a complex password, keep up with the latest updates, and consider using a security plugin. WPBeginner suggests Sucuri, for example.
Lower cost upfront and ongoing
All of these open source options are “free,” in a sense – but you still may want to pay an outside party to get your installation in place, optimize it, and regularly update it. When DeviousMedia compared the top three CMS options by assessing the costs of setting up, customizing, and maintaining a typical site, WordPress was better than both Joomla and Drupal. Because WordPress is so widely used and there is such a large professional community surrounding it, it’s easy to get someone to provide you with development or design services as needed.
When you use WordPress, your site will be responsive so that they will be user-friendly on any device – desktop or mobile. This is highly important since mobile is becoming more central to the web all the time. Worldwide, mobile traffic increased 63 percent in 2016. Put another way, the data flowing through mobile is 18 times greater than it was just five years ago!
There is sometimes a misconception that WordPress is a starter kit for the Internet. That’s not the case whatsoever. In fact, the system is used by news websites and other organizations that depend on driving huge amounts of traffic to their information. Mikke notes that CNN, MTV News, Fortune, TechCrunch, and Sony Music are all WP devotees.
We have mentioned that it is fast to get WordPress up and running. Not only is it quick, but there is not a huge barrier to entry – as indicated by WPBeginner. The CMS’s community continues to expand in part because ease-of-use is a fundamental principle.
The open source community is thriving. If you want additional help, you can get paid WordPress support. In terms of the actual hardware that powers your site, a managed service provider can help you with all the technical aspects so that you can focus exclusively on the front end.
Terada concurs with WPBeginner on this point, referencing the democratization of technology allowed by this system. A primary reason that WordPress is so approachable is that it has the usability of a word-processing program, which is because it was initially a blogging platform. It was built for people who didn’t necessarily have any tech background and just wanted to put their ideas up online.
“[M]ost… user-interface components are user-friendly,” says Terada, “and there are written and recorded manuals available for you to easily learn how to use WordPress.”
The truth is, not everyone is quite so enthusiastic about WordPress as you might think from the above discussion. Want to hear the other side on WordPress? See “Calling All WordPress Haters.”
On the other hand, are you now convinced that WordPress is the way you want to go? While this CMS is an extraordinary tool, it’s key that you have a high-performance infrastructure for better user experience and SEO. As with a premium theme, you may value consistent support and expert management for your server. See our testimonials.