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Without a doubt, WordPress is the world’s most popular choice of platform for building websites. Does that mean you also have to choose WordPress as your website builder? What does it do anyway? Aren’t there other options? Why is WordPress different or better than the others? These questions are very common when someone comes to us for building a website for him/her. We are very fond of WordPress because they are by far the easiest, most convenient and most versatile (Did I forget to mention they are among the most affordable too?) among the competition. Why do we say so? Let me try to answer that in this post.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is an open-source software that you can use to create beautiful websites, blogs or apps. This particular type of software is commonly known as a Content Management System (CMS). A CMS basically helps to create, store and present digital content such as text, images, videos, audios and other media formats. A good CMS will let you have total control over all three aspects.
August 6, 1991 saw the first ever appearance of a webpage. In those days, the webpages were static, meaning they were not needed to be updated on a regular basis, and HTML with a touch of CSS and AJAX continued to do their jobs perfectly well.
With the advent of Web 2.0 around the late ’80s and early ’90s, most of the existing websites were going more dynamic. There was a rising need for efficient, reliable and most importantly easy-to-use platforms that can be used to create and maintain a dynamic website. Between 1982 and 1999, a company named FileNet created several software bundles to help enterprises manage their content. That can be considered as one of the first CMSs ever. FileNet continued to create values until IBM acquired them in 2006. FileNet CMS is still being used as one of IBM’s most valuable offerings to the corporate ecosphere.
Now defunct Vignette Corporation was instrumental in providing web publishing solutions from 1995 and they are often credited with coining the term, “Content Management System”. Their StoryBuilder CMS paved the way for other interesting developments in this sector. WordPress entered the scene by 2003 and soon became the industry leader for delivering blog content and personalizing a website. The rising demand for the ability to create beautiful websites with little or no coding knowledge was met consistently which resulted in the immense popularity of this particular CMS platform. Today well over a third of all websites in the world (40%) are run by WordPress.
What are the Alternatives?
Of course WordPress is not the only solution to CMS. There are many free and premium options you can choose from, namely:
- Weebly (Now Square E-commerce)
- Google Sites
- Microsoft Expression Web
- HubSpot CMS Hub
While WordPress is suitable for literally all types of websites, some of the above options may be a better fit for you, depending on purpose and usage. We’ll try to give pros and cons of each of the options provided here in a separate article later and update this section with the link to it. Please don’t hesitate to contact us in case of any urgency regarding this.
Choose WordPress or Other Alternatives: Why do you need a CMS anyway?
According to one stunning data byte, almost 2 billion websites are there in the discoverable web, among which at least 400 million are active. Moreover, around 5,50,000 websites are getting created from all over the world each day. Creation of content is easier than ever. All sorts of people, businesses and institutes are increasingly becoming aware of the importance of having a comprehensive and impressive online presence. CMS platforms take the job of building this online presence and make it as easy as possible for even those with no coding knowledge at all.
Why is this important? Because you can focus on creating value for your audience rather than learning how to use every nook and cranny of your website features. Don’t get me wrong. Having a sound knowledge of technical things most useful in running a website can surely be a great skill in your artillery but is absolutely not necessary nowadays.
Most of the CMS platforms provide a WYSIWYG (What-you-see-is-what-you-get) interface from where you can design your whole website; add, remove or edit webpages; create and store your content and manage your existing content database. All of these tasks previously required both extensive technical know-how and a huge time commitment. Now you can simply leave them to the CMS platform of your choice and concentrate your efforts and time to doing the most meaningful things: from creating valuable content to increasing your customer base, from improving site performance to gaining more search engine appearances, from building your brand to having a more productive relation with your visitors.
Why choose WordPress?
Now we’re coming to the crux of the topic, so let’s not waste any more of your time to give you what you came here for. Why should you chose WordPress among hundreds of other good (or great) choices anyway? We’re going to look at this question from the perspective of your website’s purpose; i.e. whether it is a blog, business or an institutional website.
Choose WordPress for Blogs
WordPress was initially created with the vision of creating the easiest blog delivery network in mind. If you’re a beginner or veteran blogger, read on to know why choosing or switching to WordPress can pay handsomely:
- First and foremost, WordPress is both open-source and free. Being open-source means you’ll be backing on the work by thousands of developers around the world, constantly trying to make the platform better for you. Also you don’t have to worry about incurring an ongoing cost as the platform is and always will remain free.
- Being free doesn’t mean WordPress is not suited to support your website. Quite contrarily, it is perhaps the best option when you look at the vast database of supported themes, templates and plugins. That means you can chose exactly how your blog is going to look, which useful features to incorporate into your blog and also how to interact with your audience through your blog.
[There are currently more than 5000 free themes and over 55,000 verified plugins in the WordPress directory.]
- Such a CMS platform with so many features can be thought to be having a complicated installation process or a very steep learning curve. That is not at all the case with WordPress. Due to the popularity of WordPress, many web hosting providers (including Bluehost of course) offer their customers an one-click installation feature. Even if you have to install it yourself, the whole affair shouldn’t take more than ten minutes at most. No prior experience or knowledge is necessary to use WordPress after the installation also. It is hands down the easiest CMS solution there is.
- As a blogger, your greatest glory is to see your blog post getting ranked on the search engine results pages. WordPress will assist you on this mission by giving you the most comprehensive SEO factors such as an enviable site-load speed, exceptional image optimization and a robust site structure that is also most friendly to the search engine crawlers. Not only that, WordPress also offers excellent adaptation of your site to the mobile devices. With more and more people browsing the net with their mobile handhelds, you can be sure that your blog will look just as fine (if not better in some cases) if you’re using WordPress.
[We at ScribbleSquare strongly recommend using Yoast SEO when writing your content.]
Choose WordPress for Business Websites
Are you looking to use your website for selling products or services? Do you want to create easily navigable sections where your customers can browse around and choose which products to buy? Does the addition of a shopping cart feature seem like a daunting task to you? What about payment gateways then?
If you choose WordPress as your CMS solution, all these questions seem pretty easy to answer. Along with all the benefits already listed above, let me further give more reasons to choose WordPress for creating a better business website for you:
- Having own business means you’ve a lot of existing problems of your own already. You don’t want to complicate things further when you’re taking the business online. By using WordPress, you can be sure that you are the only one who is the owner of all the site data. Your site will never be turned off just because someone is claiming for a violation of terms of service against you. If you’re not doing anything illegal, your site stays up. As simple as that.
- Using analytical tools like Google Analytics is a piece-of-cake with WordPress. These tools can provide you with important user data of your site that will help you make better business decisions with certainty and ease.
- Customer databases and other sensitive information are extremely vital for your business. WordPress offers state-of-the-art security measures to protect all data and your website against viable threats, that too in the form of regular, easy-to-install updates. That means you can simply update your version of WordPress regularly and stop worrying about attacks against your website or loss of important data.
[Along with using WordPress, we at ScribbleSquare recommend you to use different strong passwords for every account and a secure web hosting service such as Bluehost.]
- Building an attractive online store for your products (whichever may the category be) is super-easy with WooCommerce plugin (there are plenty of others also but that is what you expect from more than 55,000 verified plugins database) for WordPress. You can design your own product shelf, sell digital products and even offer premium subscription and membership options for your customers. The decision to choose WordPress will prove to be your greatest business investment so far if you’re motivated to take all business operations online.
Choose WordPress for Institutional Websites
While all the benefits discussed so far can certainly seem enough to build any type of website with WordPress, there are some more obvious advantages of building an institutional website with this CMS platform:
- Any good institutional website, be it a government organization or an educational institute or your company website, needs at least some basic pages with run-of-the-mill content in them. Examples of such pages are Home, About, Contact and Services. If you choose WordPress for building your institutional websites, creating and editing these pages is a breeze.
- WordPress makes it extremely easy to quickly integrate useful features for your institutional website such as adding a photo gallery, cute-looking site navigation controls and a professional look and feel to the overall aesthetics of the site. Everything is customizable in WordPress and that sense of control will effectively distinguish your website from the rest of your competition.
- If you’re running an institutional website, time is of utmost importance. WordPress not only makes it easy to integrate all the necessary features but also offers an automatic monitoring for all of them, working silently in the background. That means you don’t have to spend sleepless nights pondering over some technical glitches that are causing your website to behave badly. Moreover, there are countless well-educated and well-experienced WordPress developers to choose from if you ever face something serious. (But first, you should try giving us a call. ;))
- There is also the added bonus of low cost of maintenance. If you’re using the free WordPress.org version in your website, it doesn’t cost you a dime to use its services. (Hosting costs have to be taken into account separately of course.) Even if you choose WordPress.com’s paid version, the cost of maintenance will be much much lower than other CMS solutions out there.
This article was written to state both the obvious and not-so-obvious advantages of using WordPress as the CMS solution for your website. Before I sign off, it’s better to know that there are two versions of WordPress that you can actually choose from. One is the WordPress.org free version, the version being used by this very site itself. The other is the WordPress.com version which lets you select from different pricing plans and their respective features.
For maybe 99% of of you, free WordPress.org will be more than enough. For the rest 1%, choosing the right plan may seem a little confusing. Feel free to contact us for more suggestions regarding which WordPress plan to choose. We’ll also try to write a detailed article in future listing the differences between these two. Keep visiting this site every Sunday at 23:16 or get the notification via mail by subscribing to our newsletter.
Thank you, wish you all a happy week ahead.