Here’s Why I Use WordPress
Even though WordPress currently powers 25% of all websites in existence, many people are still unaware of it entirely, unsure of what exactly it is, or unaware of how it has grown since it’s early days as a blogging platform. If you’re not one of those people, congrats! You might find this post a rehash of things you already know, feel free to move along safe in the knowledge that you are well-informed and not missing anything.
The rest of you, stick around and I’ll explain exactly what WordPress is, why it’s so popular, and why I use it as the base for every web development project I undertake.
What Is WordPress Exactly?
WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS). Got it? It’s a system for managing web content. Back in the mid-1990s, in the early days of the modern internet, you wrote the code of your website by hand, and so the average client was incapable of making edits to their own websites. But writing all your code from scratch is a pain, so developers started writing their own in-house CMSs to help them do things like upload photos or easily write posts.
Towards the end of the 1990s, some folks started to commercialize the in-house CMSs that they built and we began to see the first publicly available ones. Let me tell you, they weren’t cheap. Coders then did what they usually do when expensive software is the only option, and in the early 2000s began to develop open-source versions, which would be free to use.
WordPress was but one of these early open-source CMSs, along side Drupal, Mambo (which became Joomla) and others. Back then, I’m not sure it would have qualified as a CMS. It was more of a publishing system, tightly focused on blogging. But over time, as its feature set and user base grew, it certainly developed into one.
Why Should I Use WordPress?
Even though the number of CMSs available today has exploded from those early days of development, when competition was slim, WordPress remains my choice of CMS for some pretty compelling reasons:
It’s Huge — The first is one I already mentioned — how widely used it is. In addition to it’s 25% share of all websites, it currently has a whopping 59% share of all websites using a CMS. This figures into my choice not because I want to play with the cool kids, but because a large user base is critical to so many things.
A good CMS needs longevity, and the more people who use it, the more likely it will still be around to support you years from now. A good CMS needs a wide feature-set, and the more people who use it, the more plugins and other add-ons are developed to extend it. A good CMS needs to have excellent support, and the more people who use it, the more likely it is that someone has already solved your problem for you. A good CMS needs to be secure, and the more people who use it, the more eyeballs there are on the code, checking it for vulnerabilities. Perhaps you sense a pattern here…So when the next largest CMS behind WordPress (Joomla) only has a 7% marketshare in comparison, you’re looking at a vastly reduced user base if you choose any other CMS than WordPress.
It’s Highly Customizable — All those users we discussed have been busy creating a vast plugin ecosystem for WordPress, and I outlined a few of my favorites in an earlier post. There are currently 52,842 plugins in the official WordPress plugin directory, over 2000 more than since I wrote that earlier post in June, so the number of plugins is rising rapidly as well. That also doesn’t account for the plugins not in the official directory many of which are premium paid plugins that do really cool stuff. Since plugins are the way you extend the functionality of a WordPress site, such a large number of them means that if there’s something you want to do, there is probably a plugin that does it.
It’s Free — Yup. The self-hosted version of WordPress is 100% free and always will be. A huge chunk of the plugins are also free. Free is good. Knowing that my clients will never have to pay for WordPress is better.
It’s Easy — Since it started off as a platform for bloggers who couldn’t code a bit, WordPress has always had ease-of-use as one of it’s core features. This means when I hand a website I develop off to a client they will be able to intuitively use it with minimal training. My goal when I hand a site over after development is for the client to never need my help again, if that’s their wish. They should be able to use their CMS to make edits to their site without any need for my intervention, and with WordPress, that’s possible.
So if you’d like your new site to be made with WordPress, my CMS of choice and one of the best CMSs in the world, drop me a line, and we’ll get right to it.