You’re likely here because you’re considering using WordPress for your business website, but you’re not sure. With all of the platforms, site-builders, and other options out there, it’s better to do your research than hop in and end up with a site you can’t manage or keep secure.
According to Alignable’s SMB Index, WordPress is the most trusted software for small business. And while it does have a learning curve, it’s flexibility and versatility make this website platform a great choice for long-term projects.
Here are 9 reasons WordPress would be best for your business:
1. Low ongoing costs
In terms of ongoing costs, WordPress is hard to beat. With no licensing fees, affordable hosting options, and free themes and plugins that take care of a myriad of needs, you’ll find that you’ll save a significant amount over time with WordPress.
However, the trade off here is the upfront cost. Since WordPress is self-hosted (unless you use WordPress.com), you’ll need to find a hosting company and buy a domain name (both can be relatively inexpensive). You’ll also need to set up the site, which can cost you time.
WordPress is known for its learning curve — it takes time to learn and master the platform. Since it’s one of the most popular website softwares, there are plenty of people who can help you set up your WordPress website — but you’ll still need to spend time to vet them, which can be difficult if you don’t know how to vet someone for WordPress (which also takes time to learn).
It’s up to you to decide how much time you’re willing to invest and if it makes sense for your project. For long-term projects, like a larger website you want to grow and scale for years to come, the investment is probably worth the time spent due to WordPress’ flexibility, scalability, and versatility. For a quick eight page website, the investment might not be worth it (see an example here).
2. Widespread Adoption + Support
WordPress owns 50-60% of the global CMS market share, making it the most popular CMS platform for the 7th year in a row. It powers 14.7% of top 100 websites in the world.
Why does this matter beyond pure popularity?
WordPress is where the developers, designers, support, and professionals are at. A large market = deep support for your firm and your website.
There are thousands and thousands of designers and developers who know WordPress and are ready to help your firm.There’s no risk of being stuck with an awful developer just because he’s the only guy to know [insert random software] inside and out.
Again, the trade off here is time. Lots of people “know” WordPress — it’s your job to know enough to vet these support roles to make sure you’re getting the results you need at a reasonable price.
3. Versatility (plugins & themes)
Have you ever seen a cool contact form, picture slider, or some other neat functionality and wished you could implement on your own site?
WordPress makes it easy to do so. It uses a system called Plugins — where you can download and “plug-in” third-party pieces of software to make your site look, act, and feel exactly the way you want.
This is part of what makes WordPress so popular. The CMS can be turned into literally anything — a simple blog, a massive news site with advanced search and categorizing functionality, a social network, and auction site, an e-commerce store, etc.
If you want the ability to plug and play with different site elements and scale, WordPress is the go-to choice. Again, it helps to have a bit of context on how plugins work. They are individual pieces of software that add specific functionality to your website.
This means that anyone can develop any functionality imaginable and “plug it in” to WordPress.
4. CMS functionality
If you’re looking for a website that you can login and edit without a developer, WordPress is an obvious choice. It’s straightforward CMS makes it easy for even total beginners to hop on and make a change without having to touch a single line of code (or pay someone to edit for hours).
The CMS also allows you to upload, manage, and use every type of file — from PDFs to MPGs to JPGs. Everything from storing content assets to building page types and templates (like blog pages, portfolios of work, etc.) can be done by you.
It’s a fully functional content management system in ways other website builders (or hard-coded websites) aren’t. You just have to take the time to learn it.
5. Data ownership & control
WordPress is open source, which means it’s not proprietary. It’s not owned by any company, and its copyright is licensed under the GPL. As an open-source, self-hosted website, you have complete control over your site. You own everything — your files, content, data, customizations, and even where you decide to host your website. This means if you wanted to switch hosting providers, no one can stop you (and your content would still exist as-is).
Other non-open source website platforms typically come with more restrictions. As a website owner on a non-open-source platform, you’re confined to whatever their premium package offers. This means if you want to change hosts (or don’t pay your monthly/yearly package fee), you could lose all of your content.
WordPress websites range from small blogs with a few followers to some of the biggest websites online (like New York Observer, New York Post, TED, Thought Catalog,USA Today, CNN, Fortune.com, TIME.com, etc.). How can one platform power such different website types?
WordPress’ design flexibility and customization makes it a great choice for long-term, scalable work. You can easily start with a simple, template-based site and add on new features through plugins (or new themes) as you grow — all without having to pay for plan upgrades that other website platforms might charge.
And since WordPress is so hugely popular – and so flexible – many of your favorite web services sync right up to it. Do you do email marketing with MailChimp? It syncs right up. Want to install tracking, social media, e-commerce abilities, etc, etc… it can probably be integrated.
It’s that flexible. If you’re looking to start small, get data, and then grow, WordPress is worth the time investment.
WordPress has a millions-strong active community with regular scheduled, open-source updates. As an open source platform, the code is open to the public, which means any weaknesses and vulnerabilities can be seen and fixed very quickly. As such, WordPress improves constantly because of real input by its users and developers.
WordPress is constantly putting out updates because it isn’t limited by a company’s resources — it’s powered by its community.
The key here is to make sure you keep your site up-to-date. The WordPress community may be dedicated to providing upgrades to keep the platform cutting edge, but they’re not responsible for making sure you keep your software updated. That falls on you as a website owner.
8. Hosting & server options + freedom
When you use WordPress, you have the freedom to choose whatever hosting provider you want. This flexibility allows you to balance budget, features, support, etc. to fit your unique business needs.
For example, if you’re building a massive site that needs tons of storage space, a super-fast server, and a built in email platform, you can choose the hosting options that fits that specific need. But if you don’t need that level of hosting, you’re not tied to it. You get to choose.
Here’s the thing — every system is vulnerable to hacking, especially if you are going to have the freedom and ownership that comes with a self-hosted website. So WordPress, like its competitors (Drupal, Joomla, etc.) gets hacked.
The difference with WordPress is that there are entire companies and thousands of people dedicated to closing vulnerabilities. That’s the security benefit to using a popular software.
But aside from website security, what you as a business owner should be concerned with is business security. The more dependent your business is on a vendor — whether it’s a company providing a non-self hosted website or a complex, hard-coded website that only a single developer and/or platform can manage — the less secure it is.
The biggest takeaway here is that WordPress can be an extremely powerful tool for your business — if it fits into your overall needs. Before you dive into selecting a website platform, do your homework. What exactly are you looking for in a website? What tradeoffs are you willing to make (time, money, resources, etc.)?