WordPress (WP) is a universal platform not just for blogs but applications such as eCommerce websites, specialist forums, galleries and personal portfolio sites. It’s the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world, used by around 75 million websites. Best of all, it’s free.
The world can’t get enough of WordPress
Notable blog users include The New York Times, CNN, Forbes, eBay, Mashable, TechCrunch and Sony.Corporate websites built using WP include Angry Birds, The Walt Disney Company, Chicago Sun Times, The Village Voice, The Obama Foundation, Invisible Children and the Tribune Media Group.
WPis supported by thousands of enthusiastic volunteers. Such is the popularity of WP that every year users globally organise WordCamps, informal, community-organized events put together and attended by ordinary users and feature developers. In 2017 alone, WordCamps were planned to take place in multiple locations in the US and UK, in Russia, Canada, Colombia, Japan, Kenya, India, South Africa, Germany and Croatia, amongst others.
WordCamps include sessions on how to use WP more effectively, plugin and theme development, and advanced security techniques. Looking at some of the topics presented at WordCamps, you can see that WP’s popularity is not just due to its usefulness as a blogging tool:
- How I Used The Internet (and WordPress) To Build a Seven-Figure a Year Business With No Money In The Bank
- Typography – The Backbone of Your Website Design
- Crafting a Killer Editorial Calendar with WordPress
- Using Git with WordPress
- Sites as Story – Creating Compelling Content
- Amp it UP! Using Google Accelerated Mobile Pages with WordPress
What’s so special about WordPress?
Originally a content management system for blogs, today WP is better described as a web application framework, not least of all because it offers a wide array of add-ons, plugins and themes that cover pretty much any feature or functionality you want to include on your website - from widgets that accept online card payments to doodads that automatically scale and resize images. Think of a framework as a metaphor for the tools architects use to design buildings, from cottages to sky scraping office blocks. Similarly, today WP is used to develop and build a variety of web applications, from a small business web presence to sophisticated online retail stores.
WP levels the playing field for small businesses, entrepreneurs and freelancers, enabling them to market and sell their products and services, easily and cost-effectively. In a world where Google search ranking is king, small businesses can actually compete with the big boys. A massive selection of free themes and plugins and step-by-step quick start guides on the internet make it simple to get up and running without much technical skill.
Why use WP for your website?
- Open source (supported by a broad WP community of volunteers for over 13 years)
- Easy to use (WP guides you through the installation process step-by-step, and no HTML or coding experience is necessary)
- Search engine-friendly (Google’s Matt Cutts endorses WP SEO and uses the platform for his blog)
- Secure (it’s an attractive target for hackers, primarily because its use is so prevalent, so make sure plugins are kept up to date, and the latest security patches are installed)
- Flexible (by dint of freebie themes and add-ons)
- Free, responsive, mobile-friendly designs available
- Uploading and editing multimedia files is a cinch
- Integrates with popular platforms like MailChimp and WooCommerce
- Customisable (easily change your theme for a fresh look)
- Multi-user capability (supports different user privileges and roles)
- Calendar-friendly (schedule posts for specific times to suit your visitors’ schedules)
- Start small, think big (specialist WP designers can take your site to a new level at a fraction of the cost of commissioning a website to be built from the ground up)
- Retain control (because WP is so easy to use, you can make changes and monitor website traffic yourself)
Keep reading about WordPress
Next, read about why exactly WP is so popular or head over to WP founder Matt Mullenweg’s blog to keep up with the latest WP trends and events.
Note: wordpress.org is not to be confused with wordpress.com. The former provides the free WP software you need to self-host and publish your website; the latter is a free, hosted version of WP but you need to pay for Pro features. For instance, with wordpress.com, when you sign up, you choose a name for your site which will then automatically include “.wordpress.com” at the end of the address. You need to upgrade and purchase a domain if you want a unique site name, e.g. thisismywebsite.com.