What is WordPress?
First of all, I think I will start this blog by explaining what WordPress really is. Every person who has been involved a bit in the world of websites has probably heard of WordPress. However, to most people, it is still unclear what it is and what its purpose is. WordPress is an open-source content management system. An open-source platform means that the programmers of the software published the code of the platform so that other people can review and test it. It also allows other people, who are not related to the company, to modify and/or extend the functionalities of the software. These types of software are usually highly stable because they have been tested by many professional programmers. They are also known for having an incredible amount of functionalities because many people are contributing to it over time.
Popularity of WordPress
As I mentioned earlier, the advantage of WordPress is that there are many contributors to the software, which is also due to the fact that many people are using the platform. Freelancer programmers can create extra functionalities inside WordPress, which they can sell to other users of the program. More than one-third of the current live websites on the internet are running on WordPress. It means that over 455,000,000 websites are using WordPress at this moment. That is a lot of websites!
Furthermore, from the websites that work with CMS (Content Management System) 61.8% use WordPress. WordPress was primarily developed for blog websites; however, the demand for more functionalities forced programmers to enhance it to a much greater platform than just blogs. Even though WordPress has been in the game for more than 17 years, surprisingly it is not going anywhere. Due to the fact that it is open-source, developers are always adding the newest and most relevant technology.
As an example, the reason why WordPress is still growing at a rapid rate is that plugins, such as Elementor and Divi are making it especially easy to create simple and modern pages. Using these ‘add-ons’, the average people, without a coding or design background, can create awesome websites.
However, the reason why WordPress is still more advanced than other platforms, such as Wix and Squarespace, is that it also allows programmers to modify the websites. Making the front-end amazing is just one part of a professional website. The back-end functionalities, such as an easy-to-use CMS, and other plugins that make websites truly unique can make the difference between a basic and a professional website.
Advantages of WordPress
As I already started explaining it in the previous section, WordPress does have an advantage compared to the website builder platforms that were created by single companies. WordPress was created in 2003, and since then, it has been developing to meet the contemporary needs of website creators. In order to demonstrate the benefits of using WordPress, I am going to make a list of the major advantages, and explain why each of them is important for anyone who is thinking of starting a website.
WordPress is extremely stable when it comes to security, functionality, and relevancy. The functions of WordPress, such as the CMS and other features are always updated and work on the newest devices. It is always compatible with the newest software updates, and securely functions on all devices.
As I mentioned before, for the average user, WordPress is practical because it is extremely easy to use. It has a simple back-end dashboard, where all the pages, posts, comments, and functions can be managed. No coding experience is required to get started with it. The WordPress software can be up and running on someone’s server in less than 5 minutes, and one can start customizing it immediately. All the plugins are user-friendly, with a long description and tutorial videos on how to install and set them up. The beauty of WordPress is that inexperienced users can get started with it, and learn the basics of web development; while, it is also a practical tool for professionals, as it allows for more in-depth modifications as well.
WordPress has one of the most advanced content management systems in the industry. If you are looking for a blog website or a website where you are planning to constantly upload images, videos, or other content, you should definitely consider going with WordPress. From the admin dashboard, you are able to upload images easily. It is extremely convenient and user-friendly.
WordPress is very SEO-friendly. It is easy to make sure that people searching for the website, actually find the website. There are a lot of SEO features and settings that WordPress deals with its own, which makes it especially simple. WordPress automatically names user content very well, which is why it is easy to find the posts, photos and videos of a WordPress website on the web. It also has a very clean and usable permalink structure, which means that the links to the photos, posts, and pages (such as domain.com/postName) are well named.
A basic WordPress website can also be extremely mobile responsive; however, through the use of modern website builder plugins, such as Elementor or Divi, the pages are automatically created responsively, which means that it is not imperative to change too many settings for the mobile and tablet version. In Elementor, the pre-defined elements that come with the plugin are instantly adjusting to the dimensions of the screen of the device that it is viewed on, making it extremely effortless to work with.
I have already talked a little bit about plugins under the simplicity benefits section. However, plugins are not only simple to use in WordPress, but they can also be extremely sophisticated. Plugins, developed by third party individuals, can help website owners add complex functionalities to their websites, without having to set it up for a long time. Woocommerce, which is the most popular webshop plugin for WordPress, can allow the website to create, display, and sell products. It provides the visual elements of a webshop, such as how a product is displayed, but it also has a strong back-end, which makes sure that the payment gateways function perfectly.
Lastly, the reason why I recommend using WordPress as a website engine, is that its security is one of the best in the industry. It has been developed over the years to protect websites from the newest viruses and hacking attacks. Using outdated software for your website is the number one way to be vulnerable to hackers. Therefore, it is very important to use software that gets updated regularly and making sure that we actually update the software. The reason why WordPress is considered to be a secure platform is that it gets updated on a regular basis. If we take the time, and actually update it every time the newest version comes out, we can make sure that we do not get hacked easily.
WordPress updates its software because there are always new ways hackers try to get into other systems, and WordPress takes the time to close these new ‘holes’ in the system. To make sure that our WordPress website is secure, we have to not only update the WordPress software itself but also update the theme and plugins that we use. The components of a WordPress website that are not created by WordPress (such as themes and plugins) can also be vulnerable to attacks if out of date because they do not automatically sync with the updated parent software.
How does WordPress compare to other platforms?
After explaining the benefits of WordPress, it is important to also analyze how it compares to other software on the market. WordPress had many competitors in recent years, but are they as good as WordPress? When considering the alternatives to WordPress, there are several factors that are worth comparing and contrasting. These factors are usability, functionality, security, and price.
The webshop market
One obvious competitor to WordPress in the webshop platform market is Shopify. There is no question in that. They basically make a duopoly. If you are considering creating a webshop for your products or services, there is no question that you will either go with WooCommerce or Shopify. Shopify definitely beats WordPress in usability. It is much more simple, partly because it has been developed to run webshops only, while WordPress was also designed for other types of websites.
For functionality, I would say that they are pretty much the same. It is easier to set-up Shopify; however, they both do the same thing. They both function really well, and it is possible to create a modern and good-looking website on both platforms. Shopify is a self-hosted platform, which also means that the security is included in the package. However, that also means that it is challenging to improve its security, while for WordPress, it is possible to set-up the whole website’s security as we desire to. Next on the list is pricing. Yes, WordPress is free.
To run a WordPress website, we have to pay for hosting and a domain name, which combined is around $60 / year for a more basic plan, which comes down to around $5 / month. However, Shopify’s most basic plan is $29 / month, so it is much more expensive than WordPress. Even though WordPress takes more time to set-up and configure all the settings, in my opinion, it is more personalizable and it is definitely cheaper.
For most other types of websites, I would definitely recommend running a WordPress website. Obviously, there are scenarios where another software is required when the website that we need desires special functionalities that are not available on WordPress. However, for most other basic sites (such as landing pages, restaurants, cafes, business websites, lawyer sites, etc..) a WordPress website is perfectly suitable. Not to mention that a well-known software can always be edited by many professional web developers, because there is a greater chance that they are familiar with it.