If you’re considering creating a website for your business or personal project, one of the first decisions you will need to make is whether to build it (or have it built) from scratch, using HTML markup language, or whether to use a content management system like WordPress. While it is possible to build a website using only basic text files and markup code (CSS, HTML, etc.) most businesses will find WordPress the best option. Here are 11 reasons why.
1. WordPress is free
This is likely to cost you a minimum of $2,000 with high-end developers charging $20,000 or more. Many themes and plugins (see below) are also free so we hard-earned cash on marketing your website rather than building it!
2. It is an open source
You may have heard this before, but what does ‘open source’ actually mean? Without getting into the technical details, the WordPress codebase is licensed for unrestricted use and modification by anyone. Since no one owns the underlying code to your WordPress website, you (or a developer you hire) can take the files and change them without needing to get permission or falling foul of licensing agreements.
You can also move your website to another hosting provider should you ever need to, avoiding the danger of ‘vendor lock-in.’ WordPress’s open source status also lies behind its vast community of developers, a useful source of support.
3. Fast to set up
There are a few different ways to install WordPress but they are all very fast and you should have the files on your host’s server within five minutes. Many web hosts will offer their customers a control panel (e.g. cPanel) which includes a one-click WordPress installation function. This speeds things up even further and you could have your site up and ready to edit within two minutes. Your initial WordPress installation will come complete with example posts and pages and even a generic ‘Coming Soon’ page so that you don’t accidentally ‘go live’ until you are ready.
4. Easy to use
Unlike building an HTML site, it is possible to create a WordPress website without ever typing a line of code. In fact, unless you want to make some deep customizations, you shouldn’t need to touch the code at all.
Everything you do in WordPress happens via the dashboard. This includes installing themes and plugins, customizing the site’s structure and appearance and adding and editing content.
Not content with this, in 2019, Automattic (the company behind WordPress) updated their classic content editor with the Gutenberg editor. This has now combined the power and flexibility of WordPress with the ‘drag and drop’ block-based editing functionality of site builders such as Wix and Squarespace.
5. WordPress is a mobile responsive platform
Since mobile devices have become the most popular way to access the internet, having a mobile-friendly website has moved from ‘desirable’ to ‘essential.’ If you want to build your website the hard way – using HTML – you will need to extend the code to ensure your website responds to a variety of different screen sizes, including different mobile device screens.
This feature is built into WordPress and you can even view how your site would appear on a smartphone or tablet by clicking the icons under the ‘Customize’ menu.
6. You don’t need a third party to manage your site
Not only does WordPress mean you can wave goodbye to a web developer, but it also means you can do away with third-party services responsible for site maintenance and content management. Of course, if you want to outsource these areas to a third- party, you still can but WordPress gives you and your team all the tools you need to run the site yourself.
7. There’s a wide variety of multi-purpose WordPress themes to choose from
Here is where some of the real value of WordPress lies. The appearance of a WordPress site is governed by the ‘theme’ it uses. Although WordPress installs with a selection of generic themes, there is also a library of free alternatives you can access from the dashboard. And that’s just for starters. Outside of WordPress, various theme libraries offer thousands upon thousands of premium and free WordPress themes to cover a wide range of industry types and design preferences.
8. You can add almost any type of function with plugins
As with themes, WordPress links to a repository of functional modules termed ‘plugins.’ These extend the functionality of your website by integrating specific features with your theme. For example, you can use plugins to:
- Add enterprise-level security
- Convert your site into a membership website
- Convert your site into an eCommerce site (e.g. using WooCommerce)
- Create a social network using BuddyPress
- Schedule and manage backups
- Translate your website into different languages and create multiple versions of your site for different countries
- Much, much more
There are plenty of free plugins available through the WordPress dashboard and many of them enable you to unlock extra features by upgrading. If you buy a premium theme, these are likely to include specific plugins tied in with that theme.
Furthermore, you can check out Envato, Themeforest market and discover some incredible WordPress themes, organized by niches. Whether you’re looking for a blog, news, magazine, WooComerce or another theme, this market got you covered.
9. Provides regular updates
If you are building a website using HTML, you will have to organize security updates yourself. How will you even know there is a vulnerability in your code until an attack happens? The WordPress community regularly monitors the code for bugs and vulnerabilities and Automattic releases minor updates throughout the year to deal with any issues. These will be automatically applied without any action on your part. In addition, Automattic releases two to three major updates each year to bring even more features to the platform.
10. You can easily master your search engine optimization (SEO)
We mentioned plugins earlier in the article and there are plenty of free and premium plugins dedicated to improving Search Engine Optimization (SEO). One of the most widely installed freemium plugins is built by Yoast. This uses a simple traffic light system to help you fine-tune your SEO. For example, you can add custom meta titles and descriptions, ensure each post and page is optimized for a chosen focus keyword and monitor each piece of content for readability.
11. You can integrate social media sites for maximum reach
Building your website is only the starting point of the journey. To make full use of your online presence, you will need to attract visitors who will hopefully become customers. Social media is one of the best ways of engaging with your audience and WordPress comes with an inbuilt feature, JetPack, for connecting your website content with your social media platforms (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, etc.) This is something that is harder to achieve via a standard HTML website.
WordPress is a content management system for around a third of website owners and the 11 reasons above will hopefully encourage you to try it out for yourself. Be warned though, once you have experienced WordPress for yourself, you are never likely to choose anything else.
Are you a WordPress user already? Let us know what your favorite features are in the comments section.