What is WordPress and Why Use It?
Chances are extremely high that you’ve landed on a website powered by WordPress before. After all, over 40% of all websites globally now use this popular platform.
But what exactly is WordPress and why are so many site owners adopting it? Let’s unravel the mystery step-by-step.
WordPress at its Core
WordPress represents an open source content management system (CMS) built upon PHP and MySQL. In non-techie speak, it’s essentially web software allowing almost anyone to create and manage a website without needing to code.
You can use WordPress to quickly publish content like blog posts while also having fine-grained controls for customising site design and functions.
Originally launched in 2003 as just a blogging platform, flexible WordPress themes and plugins fueled the platform’s rapid growth. Now WordPress powers everything from personal sites to CNN and Forbes online magazines.
The core WordPress software remains 100% free to use. Most everyday site owners then typically spend a small sum on web hosting, a domain name, and perhaps premium themes.
Two Ways to Get Started
When getting started with WordPress, you have two basic options:
- WordPress.com: This free hosted option handles all the technical details for you. In exchange, WordPress controls domains and limits fuller customizations requiring self-hosted installs. Easy for simple sites.
- Self-Hosted WordPress: You purchase hosting and domains yourself through a provider like Bluehost, then install WordPress manually with full software control. Adds complexity but enables complete freedom.
If unsure, it never hurts testing WordPress.com first. Then graduate to self-hosting if desiring more customization capability and ownership.
Why Use WordPress Though? What Are the Benefits?
Good question! With so many website building options out there nowadays, what makes WordPress stand out?
Here are the top perks of using WordPress:
User-Friendly Admin Dashboard
WordPress revolutionises website control using an intuitive graphical interface accessible through any web browser. Forget technical coding and file managers! Quickly manage content, design, settings, and more through the handy admin dashboard.
Thousands of Customizable Design Options
Express your brand’s visual identity exactly how you imagine with WordPress themes. Drag-and-drop page builders integrated into most themes make creating beautiful layouts easy and coding-free these days. No design skills required!
Search Engine Optimised
Optimising websites for search engines like Google has historically required specialist help. But WordPress themes and plugins handle much of the technical optimization needed behind the scenes so your content gets discovered.
Scalability From Blogs to Enterprise Sites
WordPress flexibility enables scaling a basic blog over time into a powerful eCommerce store or multi-national corporate website as needs grow. The same core platform powers simple to complex sites.
Accessibility for Site Visitors
From a user perspective, WordPress sites provide familiar interfaces for ease-of-use. Consistent layouts, navigation menus, discussion comments, and cross-device responsiveness make exploring sites intuitive.
Cost Savings Over the Long Run
While launching a custom-coded site might initially be cheaper than using WordPress, over time WordPress requires far less expensive upkeep and maintenance. It also lets non-tech users handle many updates themselves without ongoing developer fees.
An Ever-Growing Ecosystem
New WordPress plugins, themes, and eCommerce options appears all the time, keeping pace with changing industries and web technologies. An enormous community constantly improves WordPress capabilities, noted by 100+ releases!
In summary, WordPress enables almost anyone to affordably build feature-rich websites themselves without needing web developer help long-term. The platform handles the complicated stuff behind the scenes.
What’s the Catch? Any Downsides?
Well, as the old saying goes, there’s no such thing as a free lunch!
While WordPress is extremely powerful and more accessible than ever, using the platform does come with a few cautions:
Steeper Learning Curve at First
Understanding hosting setup, dashboard navigation, theme/plugin usage, and SEO principles takes investing time upfront. But once familiar, website administration becomes second nature.
Increased Responsibility With Self-Hosting
Opting to self-host WordPress rather than use WordPress.com means you assume all server, software update, and security duties. But this responsibility tradeoff enables full customization potential.
More Upfront Cost Commitment
From domain registrations, web hosting fees, premium plugins/themes to possible developer assistance, launching a self-hosted WordPress site generally costs a few hundred dollars initially, at minimum. Costs then become negligible over time.
Ongoing Plugins Management
As plugins update frequently, expect needing to login and manually update them occasionally. Outdated plugins also represent security threats if not kept current. But managed hosting services can automatically handle updates for you.
While these cautions shouldn’t deter usage, be aware of slightly more involvement owning a self-hosted WordPress site versus simpler website builders.
Is WordPress Right for Me?
If phrases like access revolutionary ecommerce features, limitless customization potential and built-in SEO make your heart flutter, then yes! Diving into WordPress likely aligns well to achieve your web goals and save big bucks long-term.
Specifically, WordPress delivers the most value when:
- You plan launching more than a temporary site.
- Flexibility for growth or monetization is desired.
- A blog/magazine format site is needed.
- No coding knowledge or big web design budget exists.
- Owning your site for full control appeals to you.
Hopefully you now grasp the basics of what WordPress is, how it works, major benefits, as well as realistic cautions to be aware of.
Ready to join 40% of the internet running this dynamic platform? Let’s get your site dream started!