Millions of websites use WordPress, but just what is it about this content-management script that makes it so appealing to everyone from the mom-and-pop store to multimillion dollar companies?
It’s Easy to Install and Use
You don’t need to be an IT whiz to install WordPress (although, familiarity with control panels, hosting and domains does help). If you’re comfortable with following directions, there’s a famous 5-minute install to set up your first WordPress site in just a few moments.
Similarly, adding your first post or page is just a click away. And you can browse the theme and plugin repositories directly from your dashboard to change the look or add new functionality to your WordPress-powered site.
Even if you’re not tech-savvy, you can become comfortable with WordPress and all of its functions. Many of the settings use visual editors, so you don’t have to dive into the code (unless you want to).
The ease of use is just as important when you’re a two-man team with little time to spare, as it is for international companies that publish content to thousands or millions of readers.
You Can Customize WordPress Fully
WordPress runs seamlessly out of the box, but you can also think outside the box when it comes to your WordPress-powered site. Whether you want to integrate a blog with your existing shop or you want to create an entire site with WordPress to match your existing branding, the option is there.
You can do it yourself, and some people do, or you can hire someone to produce a customized theme that helps your site stand apart from every other WordPress site out there.
While it’s easy to tell that some websites are powered by WordPress, you might be surprised to learn that The Wall Street Journal, The Walt Disney Company, and the country of Sweden all use this tool to power their websites. Through individual customizations, each of those sites represents the brands you know and trust despite using the same foundation.
Many people think of WordPress as merely a blogging script. Of course, WordPress does that and does it well, but that’s not all that it does. You can use WordPress for your:
• Portfolio or gallery
• Online shop
• Magazine or newspaper
• Software catalog
• Online community
WordPress doesn’t have to power only your blog. It can be the force behind your entire website.
Thanks to plugins, you can add all sorts of functions to your website. For example, you might use a plugin to add review templates to blog posts or to share your posts on Twitter and Facebook as soon as they go live.
Some of the most useful plugins include:
1. Jetpack for social media sharing, contact forms, site monitoring, mobile-friendly themes, and backups, among other utilized.
2. Akismet to fight spam.
3. Yoast SEO for search engine optimization; you plug in the keywords, and the plugin tells you how you’re doing.
4. All In One WP Security & Firewall to protect your site from malicious software and would-be hackers.
5. W3 Total Cache to make your site load faster.
6. WooCommerce to turn your site into a shop.
7. TinyMCE Advanced if you want to rearrange the visual editor buttons,
8. NextGEN Gallery to power your gallery or portfolio.
9. MailChimp for WordPress helps to integrate your MailChimp newsletter with your WordPress site.
10. BuddyPress sets up a forum-like community with users, groups and other features that enable you to communicate amongst yourselves.
Of course, there are thousands of other plugins, so even if you need a function that this list missed, you’re bound to be covered.
It’s Search Engine Friendly
No matter what you do, you’re competing with others: other retailers, artists, service providers, and companies in your industry. The way to not only compete but to stay ahead of those people is by having a site that search engines can easily find and by making your content relevant so that those same search engines will list it higher than content from the competition. WordPress does this in multiple ways.
First, as we touched on, you can install one of any number of search engine optimization plugins. These plugins let you know if you’re using enough headings, images, or instances of your desired keyword. They also remind you to use search-engine friendly URLs, disable following links, or create a sitemap for search engines to index.
Secondly, you can customize your URLs to include appropriate keywords. Each WordPress post has the option of using a numbered URL (not recommended for SEO), including a category, or displaying a date. These choices can be helpful for SEO, as you want keywords in your URL. Date-based URLs can also help your readers easily find content from a specific month.
For many businesses, WordPress just makes sense. You can try it out yourself — it’s free — to see if it works for your needs. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself swayed by the CMS just like everyone else.