WordPress is used to create 1 in 3 websites on the Internet today and that percentage is growing every day. If you are not already aware of WordPress and how it can act as a great platform for your small business website, then read on. This article will discuss what WordPress is and what its benefits are. WordPress is the world’s leading Content Management System, or CMS. A CMS is just a fancy term for a program that let’s you edit your own website. Rather than having to learn HTML or a program like DreamWeaver to edit your own website, a CMS like WordPress enables you to login to an administration section in the back-end of your website to make changes. This means you don’t need any special software loaded on your computer. WordPress will work on any computer including Macs, Windows and Linux machines using any modern web browser, such as Safari, Chrome, FireFox or Internet Explorer. CMS’s have been around for a long time. Other popular CMS’s include Joomla and Drupal. What makes WordPress so special?
- It’s Free. How could software that is this useful be free? It’s part of the open source software movement where high quality software is built by a dedicated team and then enhanced over time by legions of contributing programmers around the world. Because so many developers have contributed over several years, some open source software, like WordPress or Linux, is arguably better, more feature rich and more stable than its commercial counterparts.
- Popularity. Because so many people use it, there is a lot of support for it and many web developers will be able to help you with it.
- Extensibility. WordPress is able to be enhanced via “plug-ins” that can be added to it. If there is a feature that you want, such as an events calendar or photo gallery, someone has probably written a plug-in for it. Most plug-ins are free or nominally priced ($20-$80). This enables you to start with a basic platform for your website and then add to it over time as needed. Do you want a shopping cart? There’s a plug-in. Do you need a membership site that allows only your customers to see certain web pages? There’s a plug-in for that too. There are thousands of available plug-ins but if one doesn’t exist for your particular need, a programmer familiar with WordPress can make you one.
- Reliability. Because WordPress has been thoroughly tested, most of the bugs and security issues have been worked out. It is extremely stable and secure software. Having said that, not all of the plug-ins or enhancements for WordPress are equally stable or secure. If WordPress gets slow or gets hacked, it’s probably because of some obscure plug-in that has been installed.
- It’s Customizable. It’s not always possible to tell that a site is built in WordPress because there are thousands of available “themes” which can make a WordPress website look like any other website. Or, if you prefer to have a unique, company-branded look to your site, you can have a professional web designer create a custom theme.
- Highly Searchable. WordPress was made with search engines in mind. Therefore, every page or blog post you create in WordPress will automatically be search engine optimized (SEO). All you have to do is add good content.
WordPress powers one-third of the new websites created today but that number is likely to be one-half in the next year or so. If your site is not already on WordPress, it might make sense for you to consider a switch with the next upgrade of your site.