WordPress is a content management system that we use as a foundation for all of the websites we build for clients. The benefits of using WordPress are obvious to us, but not always to our clients. So we’ve put this little guide together to explain why WordPress is our chosen platform.
We’re not alone in using WordPress. At the time of writing, there are 800+ million WordPress websites online. Statistics show that 43% of all websites online use WordPress. Of the website online that use a CMS, 65% of them use WordPress. To put this into context, the next highest on the list of popular CMS websites is Shopify with less than 7% of the market share.
But what are the benefits of using WordPress over another platform? Let’s take a look.
1. It’s easy to use
During the course of my career as a designer, I’ve seen a few different platforms that websites have been built on. Some of them were ridiculously complicated to use and often relied on the client having to contact the design team to make the simplest of changes, which the designer could then bill them for.
One of the main benefits of using WordPress is that it is incredibly simple and easy to learn. With intuitive design, tasks are straight forward and logical. The layout of the dashboard allows you to easily see your posts, pages, plugins and everything else you need. All the actions – such as edit, delete or add new – are clearly visible, making it quicker to work with.
When it comes to editing pages, the text editor is reminiscent of Microsoft Word, with functions like bold, italics, bullets, links and alignment all available in icons that would look familiar to your average computer user.
There are also a plethora of tutorials out there, meaning if you are struggling, help is only a YouTube video away. I have also helped teach WordPress as part of a web design course before, and I have personally seen people of all ages and technical abilities master the basics of WordPress in a few hour-long sessions.
2. It’s open Source
WordPress has an interesting setup. There is no CEO of WordPress, with the name instead being protected by the non-profit WordPress Foundation organisation. Right from the start in 2003, WordPress has always been free and open source.
What this means is that there is a large community of thousands of users, developers and small businesses behind WordPress. They constantly update it to add new features, fix bugs, integrate new technologies and generally improve.
With so many people behind it, it is highly unlikely that WordPress will fail or just disappear, meaning its websites are safe on a reliable platform that is constantly evolving.
3. It’s flexible
While WordPress started off as a blogging website, it has now become much more popular as a website building platform. Even out of the box, WordPress is very impressive and has everything you need for a basic website.
But for people who want something more – like our clients – there is a wide range of plugins and themes to enhance the design and functionality of the website.
There are currently over 59,000 plugins that offer a vast array of tools that you can bolt onto your website. From website features such as contact forms, maps and ecommerce, to backend functionality such as extra security, SEO and statistics. Many apps like Google Analytics and Mailchimp can also be integrated into the website with relative ease.
We don’t use themes for our websites – read my previous blog on Themes vs Pagebuilders to find out why – but we do use page builders. Page builders allow the user to build pages using a drag-and-drop system, placing pre-set modules for things like text, images, videos, etc. There are several popular page builders out there. The one we use, Beaver Builder, is incredibly customisable, meaning we can do pretty much anything we can imagine.
4. It’s SEO friendly
Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is the process of optimising a website to ensure it ranks highly in Google or other search engines, thus attracting more visitors to the website.
A key benefit of using WordPress to build a website is that it is written using high-quality code with semantic markup – which is a technical way of saying that it’s optimised for search engines. The pages are built using HTML that is clear and concise for search engines to understand.
For this reason, WordPress websites generally rank higher by default than other websites in search engines. So without any other optimisation, your website is already one step ahead.
There are many plugins that offer SEO for WordPress websites. These plugins automatically generate things like sitemaps, robots.txt file and Schema structured date to ensure that Google can read, find and index the website’s content. The plugins also offer keyword and readability analysis, highlighting errors in your copy and advising you how to improve it to perform better.
5. It’s mobile friendly
Statistics show that more than 50% of the world’s internet traffic comes from mobile devices, so it’s important that your website
It’s also important in terms of SEO. When evaluating websites, one of the main things Google looks for now is that it is responsive. This means that it will look and perform just as well on desktop, tablet and mobile devices. It even employs mobile-first rendering, meaning your website is first and foremost judged by its mobile version by search engines.
WordPress is responsive as standard. It will optimise your pages and alter the content so that it works for whatever device it’s seen on. For example, big headings will be made smaller, columns will be stacked and spacing will be defined according to the percentage of the screen rather than a set number of pixels.
Of course, we’re also adding page builders and plugins, and not all of them are guaranteed to be responsive. But most plugins from respected providers will be, or can at least be tweaked to make them responsive. The page builder we use is also responsive and allows you to make tweaks to the design for desktop, tablet and mobile, so we have full control over how it looks on different screen sizes.
6. It’s secure
As the internet grows and websites evolve, so does cybercrime. Websites are constantly vulnerable to all kinds of attacks and security issues. Whilst we may think of hackers as people manually trying to break into your website, these days it’s software that scans the internet and tries routine methods to penetrate websites.
This sounds scary, but another benefit of using WordPress is that it is very secure. As previously mentioned, WordPress has thousands of people constantly working on it, so as cybercrime and the methods use evolve, so do the ways of combatting them.
There are also plugins (told you there were lots of them!) that offer extra layers of security for your website. We have a set that we install as standard to ensure our clients’ websites are secure, and do weekly checks and scans of the website for any malware or suspicious activity.