These days, most business owners agree that an effective website is essential. Ten years ago, that may not have been true, but today it’s hard to imagine selling anything without a website for customers to reference. It’s your digital storefront, phone book listing, resumé and billboard all rolled into one, and because it’s so important, it’s critical to build it properly. You only have one chance to make a great impression with your clients and customers, but with so many “solutions” to choose from, it’s hard to know what’s best for your business.
There are countless options available for website platforms, content management systems, and of course design styles and site functions. The task of choosing among them can be a daunting one if you’re unfamiliar with the pros and cons of each … but it doesn’t have to be.
By now, most people have at least heard of WordPress and recognize the name as a popular “off-the-shelf” website solution. However, they may not know how comprehensive the software really is (to be fair, it’s not obvious if you’ve never really used it). We’re frequently asked if WordPress can be used for more than just a blog, which is a little surprising given how much WordPress has grown since it’s launch in 2003. The original version clearly left a lasting impression as a blog-only platform … many people still don’t realize that there is a self-hosted option available for full website development, or that it’s really impressive!
If you haven’t already, take a minute to check out WordPress.org. As they put it:
“WordPress is web software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog. We like to say that WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time.”
The key takeaway here is the fact that WordPress.org is a self-hosted content management system … quite different from the original WordPress.com; home to the free, template sites built just for blogs back in the day. With the self-hosted version, you can use your own domain name and design any sort of website you wish using as many plugins as necessary to support various nifty site functions. Because you own your whole website, you can edit all the code behind the scenes and can manage the site’s database (or files) yourself.
Here’s a good overview of the differences between the two versions if you’re interested.
Like most web development agencies out there, we build fully customized sites using the self-hosted version (currently version 4.3). From the beginning, it has remained our first choice of open source Content Management Systems.
Why We Use WordPress (and nothing else):
1. We know it inside out, upside down and backwards.
We’ve been doing this for quite a while now … ten years in fact. After the first 50 or 60 websites, it’s hard not to know all the ins and outs of a system. If you have questions about the CMS, or just need help with a little tweak to some code you can’t quite figure out, we can help. Pretty sure we’ve seen whatever you need at least once before!
2. It’s easy for our clients to learn and use.
Over the years, we’ve tested other software solutions like Drupal, Joomla and MODX, but none of them were particularly easy for our clients to use. With WordPress, there are content pages, blog posts, and media files (images) to worry about. Pretty simple, right? Even if you’ve never worked on a website once in your life, you could probably get the gist of it pretty quickly with a system that designed to be so easy to understand. With other CMS programs, like MODX for example, we found ourselves trying to explain to clients the differences between “chunks” and “snippets.” What’s a chunk, you ask? Honestly … we don’t even remember.
3. It just keeps getting better and better.
Since 2003, WordPress has become the most popular content management system on the web. 24.3% of ALL websites are powered by WordPress, and it has captured 58.7% of the market share among CMS solutions. As an open source solution, it’s been worked, reworked, tested, and enhanced by
hundreds thousands of developers around the world time and time again, and in the process has grown into a state-of-the-art web publishing system.
4. WordPress is highly extensible.
At the time of this post, there are 39,000+ plugins available to extend the core functionality of your site. That saves a ton of developer expense over time … did we mention the majority of these plugins are completely free?
5. WordPress has a solid reputation.
It’s trusted by some heavy hitters, including: The New Yorker, UPS, the BBC, Forbes, CNN, and even government organizations; all of whom run their businesses and services on the platform.
Multi-user, multi-site, multi-language … we could go on and on, but you probably get the idea. Put simply, we believe WordPress is the single best choice for our clients. If you’d like to learn more about how a WordPress site can help your business, please give us a call or shoot over an email. We’d be happy to chat about your next project.