Put simply, WordPress is a platform for publishing self-hosted websites. Its interface is accessed through your web browser and other than using a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client for the initial install, WordPress offers you everything you need to publish your content. In fact, if you choose the right host, you wouldn’t even need an FTP client.
WordPress was first launched in 2003 by two developers who wanted a better solution for publishing their blog content (Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little). 13 years later, WordPress has now grown to power over 25% of the internet – with high-profile users such as TechCrunch, the Washington Post, and BBC America, to name a few.
Its humble beginnings solely as a blogging platform are still present, but constant development has meant WordPress has evolved into a full-featured Content Management System (CMS). With developments such as the incoming REST API on the horizon, WordPress looks to become even more dominant in the future.
Now we’ve briefly looked at its history, let’s take a deeper look at some of the reasons you should choose WordPress as your publishing platform.
1. WordPress Is Open-Source and Free Forever
You may have heard the term ‘open-source software’ bandied around, but might not know what it means. Quite simply, open-source means anybody can contribute to the software in question, with all of the source code freely available to download and modify. In a lot of cases, open-source software is free to use. You may already be using open-source software without realizing it, such as the VLC media player, or the Firefox browser:
An important aspect of WordPress’ freedom is its protection under what’s known as the GNU General Public Licence (GPL). This licence lets anybody use, share and modify the software. Also, in contrast to a standard copyright, any derived works must also be released under the GPL. What this means is WordPress is free, and will be freely available forever.
While WordPress is highly unlikely to be unsupported in the future (WordPress’ parent company Automattic was recently valued at $1–2 Billion, and the CMS is the cornerstone of their business), its open-source nature means other developers are free to take over the project if development is halted. Plus, because of the GPL, they too would have to make their work freely available.
2. You Don’t Have to Be a Web Developer
There are a multitude of ways in which WordPress’ design makes it easy to create pages and content, all without requiring any coding experience. In WordPress, each page or post is created using the open-source TinyMCE editor. This gives WordPress the functionality of software like Microsoft Word or Google Docs, meaning styling your text with bold or italics, for example, can be done directly within the editor:
There are many more examples of WordPress’ ease of use, such as the infamous five-minute install procedure, automatic updates and its myriad of social sharing and user interaction settings, among others, the content editing options are just the tip of the iceberg.
3. Designing Your Site Requires No Coding Skills
Your website’s overall design and layout doesn’t require the knowledge of your garden variety web developer either. For a start, WordPress includes several default themes designed to show off its core functionality. While these themes perform admirably, there are thousands of other themes to choose from, all completely free, within the WordPress Theme Directory.
Because they’re free, you’ll find that the quality of themes varies. However, the Theme Directory includes a five-star rating system, awarded by users, to help you make an informed choice.
There are also some developers who offer premium themes (i.e. ones with a cost attached) with a generally more committed development program and dedicated support. ThemeForest is by far the largest site for purchasing premium themes and markets our very own Avada – which is currently the number one selling theme:
4. If You Need Extra Functionality, There’s a Plugin For That
The basic functionality of WordPress is very good and may be just what you’re looking for, but it doesn’t cover every need and want out of the box. You may need additional functionality and in WordPress this is provided by small add-ons called plugins:
There are thousands of plugins available for free within the WordPress Plugin Repository, each providing different additional functionality. In some cases, such as Super Cache and Yoast SEO, free plugins found here can be practically essential.
Similarly to themes, the premium plugin market is rich, with sites such as CodeCanyon offering thousands of plugins for purchase. Again, like premium themes, you’ll often find more committed development and dedicated support when compared to free options.
5. WordPress Has a Large, Strong Community
A major benefit of using WordPress is its strong, passionate, and inclusive community. The WordPress.org website has its own forums, where users share advice and ask for help on a regular basis. If you have a question to ask, this is the place to do it! Many plugin and theme developers have support forums here for their free offerings too, so support is always at hand and you’ll more often than not, be talking directly to the developers themselves:
Finally, as WordPress has grown, so has its developer base. The platform attracts contributors from all manner of other fields and industries, who pool their talents to make WordPress better. Updates to WordPress itself are frequent, with a team of hundreds releasing three core updates per year.
6. E-Commerce Is Easy With WordPress
Unlike a hand-coded website, setting up an e-commerce solution on your WordPress website is easy when using one of a number of available plugins.
One such example is WooCommerce – currently the most popular e-commerce solution available and integrated with Avada. Its strengths lie in how fast it is to set up a store and its support from all major payment providers.
You’re not restricted to just WooCommerce though. There are other solutions available, such as Easy Digital Downloads (specializing in digital only products), and Shopify as an alternative to both.
Finally, while it’s not a WordPress-specific solution, by adding an open-source SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt, you could potentially build an online store with WordPress, Avada, WooCommerce, and Let’s Encrypt for very little outlay.
At this point, you’re probably on-board with the idea of using WordPress as the platform for publishing your website. If you’re itching to get started, here’s what to do next:
Find a suitable web host
for your website that ideally offers one-click WordPress install.
Look for a theme that can help you create an amazing websites with advanced options that require no coding, is constantly updated and provides 5 star customer support, such as Avada
Browse the WordPress.org Plugin Directory
to see the scope of what plugins are available for download.
Choosing a publishing platform for your website can be tough and choosing the wrong one means wasting time and money later, when migrating to a more suitable solution. WordPress should be your first choice for publishing your website. In this post we looked at some of the reasons why. Let’s recap:
WordPress will be free forever.
Using WordPress is as easy as using your favorite word processor.
There are many free themes and very feature rich premium themes such as Avada
You don’t have to know code in order to design and manage your site.
WordPress can be extended with plugins to provide extra functionality.
A large, strong community means you’ll never be without answers if you’re struggling.
Selling products is easy, with several e-commerce solutions available to get started instantly.
What are you looking for in a WordPress website and what might be holding you back? Let us know in the comments section below!
Image credit: 9355, magicaltar0, WordPress.org.