Why WordPress? What Makes This Platform Popular?
It’s no secret – WordPress is the most popular Content Management System in the world. Roughly 42.3% of all websites on the internet use WordPress. This means out of every four websites you encounter, more than one is built with WordPress. Amazing, isn’t it?
The numbers are astounding, but is it enough reason to jump right in? Maybe not. So in this post, we’ll reveal 10 reasons why WordPress has grown to become the world’s most preferred content management platform.
Popularity of WordPress vs other Content Management Systems
A Content Management System (CMS for short) is an application that lets you create, modify, and manage a website without coding.
The game is different with a CMS. This is because no coding is required. Simply enter your text, images, videos, and any other acceptable content in the editor. Then the CMS weaves them all together behind the scenes and produces something beautiful.
WordPress, Drupal, Squarespace, Joomla, and Shopify are typical examples of CMSs.
W3Tech made extensive research into how popular each CMS is. See the result:
42.3% of all websites on the internet use WordPress, 5.8% use Shopify, 3.1% use Joomla, 2.6% use Wix, and 2.6% use Squarespace. Drupal, Bitrix, Blogger, Magento, and all other CMS’s are used by 8.5% of all websites.
The remaining 35.1% use none of the monitored CMS’s.
Note that popular websites such as news outlets, Fortune 500 company websites, and celebrity sites also use WordPress. You may be wondering – Why the hype? Why is it so popular?
Well, we’ve worked with this CMS for a long time and we are convinced that no other CMS offers as many benefits as WordPress. Check out our resources on WP vs Joomla, WP vs Squarespace, and WP vs Weebly.
The following section explains why WordPress is a safe bet for you.
Why Use WordPress?
The features below apply to wordpress.org, the self-hosted version of WordPress, and not WordPress.com. Please check this article on the difference between wp.com and wp.org to know more.
- WordPress is free
- WordPress is open-source
- You can create any type of website
- It is easy to use
- It supports several media types
- You can extend your site with themes and plugins
- WordPress is SEO-friendly
- It is flexible.
- WordPress is secure
- It has a large community
1. It is Free
Yes! The WP core software is free to download. This is probably the strongest reason why WordPress is this popular. So anyone can check it out without paying for the privilege. However, every website needs a domain name and a host.
A host provides the technologies required for your website to be visible online while a domain name is your site’s unique address. A hosting plan ranges from $3 (for the cheap shared servers) to a few hundreds per month. Although there are a couple of companies offering free hosting plans, we do not recommend such.
Other things you may need to pay for include:
- Premium themes and plugins (although there are tons of free ones).
- SSL certificate.
- Technical support.
- Logo design.
To sum up, you can keep your costs down by paying for only what you need.
How to get started
To get started, go to the WordPress official website. Then, click Get WordPress.
This will bring you to the WordPress download page. Click the Download button. Now you own the latest version of the WP software without paying a dime. Go ahead and install it.
Alternatively, you can get WordPress using the one-click installation method. Most WordPress hosting companies provide this facility. See our guide on WP one-click installations to know more about it.
2. WordPress is open-source
A quick online search for “website builders” will display a long list of results. WordPress will definitely be a part of the list along with other website builders like Weebly, Joomla, Squarespace, Shopify, Blogger, Magento, etc.
They are all great for building websites. However, the closed-source ones like Squarespace, Shopify, and Blogger come with a couple of limitations. For instance:
- Exploring hosting companies is impossible as you are stuck with the one provided.
- You cannot expand your site freely and easily with plugins.
- Your ability to edit the source code is limited.
Here’s the bottom line – If it’s not open-source like wordpress.org, you do not possess full ownership of your site and content. This is similar to renting (instead of owning) an online space. However, with WordPress:
- Your website is yours
- You have full ownership of your content
- Change your hosting provider when you feel the need to.
- You can customize the site and modify the code however you please.
3. WordPress is Easy to Use
Coding sometimes feels like rocket science. Non-techies avoid tasks like website building as a result. Thankfully, WordPress websites are easy to build without having to touch any code. You also do not need prior knowledge of HTML or CSS to get started.
All you need to get your website up and running are a couple of WP tutorials. The platform was built with everyone (regardless of your technical background) in mind. If you can send an email or you have basic knowledge of MS Word, you can use WordPress. Note the following points.
- WP installation only requires clicking a few buttons.
- The WP dashboard is easy to navigate.
- You can change your site’s look and feel by simply installing a theme.
- To add new functionality, don’t bother coding. Install a plugin instead.
- It is very easy to add, edit, and manage posts and pages from the WP editor.+
4. You Can Create Any Type of Website With WordPress
Yes, you read that right. With WordPress, there are no limits. Several users think WordPress is primarily for building blogs, but that’s an outdated thought. WordPress has evolved from being a blogging platform into a powerful website builder.
You may even have a standard website with a blog as an integral part of it.
Here are some of the websites you can create with WordPress:
- Corporate websites
- Online schools
- Online stores
- Membership websites
- Social media networks
- Job boards
- NGO websites
The list is endless.
How to get started
You are probably wondering – how do I build a variety of websites from one software? With the help of themes and plugins.
So online schools, social media networks, forums, stores, etc can be achieved by simply installing the appropriate plugin and theme.
Themes serve as your site’s design foundation. After installation, adjust the design, logo, content, and you are good to go.
Plugins enable you to add features to make your site provide specific functions.
For instance, you can install the WooCommerce plugin or any of its alternatives to create an online store. The plugins can turn a basic WordPress site into a fully functional store with a shopping cart, product galleries, and payment gateways. You would also need to install the right theme to go with it.
Apart from WooCommerce, there are several other helpful eCommerce plugins like WP eCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads (used basically for selling digital products).
Similarly, to create an e-learning site like Coursera, you’ll need an LMS plugin to help manage courses, accept payment, handle subscriptions, and rate quizzes.
5. WordPress supports several media types
WordPress allows you to upload images, documents, audio, and video files on your website. It supports a long list of file types – .jpg, .png, .gif .pdf, .doc, .pptx, .mp3, .m4a, .mp4, .mov, .wmv, .avi, and several others.
Although file types like SVG aren’t supported, if you must upload such files, install an SVG support plugin.
Sonymusic.com is a WordPress-powered media site. The website promotes videos and music tracks. As a result, the site is filled with musical clips, pictures, and videos of various types.
6. Lots of themes and plugins on the market
Here is another reason why WordPress tops the charts. We already discussed how WP themes and plugins can help you build any type of website. Another great thing is the number of themes and plugins at your disposal.
At the moment, there are over 7,400 free themes in the WordPress repository.
Once in a while, you’ll realize the need to change your theme. Maybe you need a new look, a more powerful premium theme, better features, etc. Or maybe your present theme isn’t mobile-friendly. Whatever it is, there is always a theme to suit your needs. Fortunately, finding a theme is as easy as conducting a google search.
Go to the WordPress theme repository and try searching “directory WordPress themes”, “church WordPress themes,” or any other kind of theme and you’ll find several choices. Better still, you can buy from a trustworthy theme developer. As a result, you’ll get better support, well-optimized code, and regular updates.
Here’s a list of trustworthy sites to get premium themes:
- Elegant Themes
- Theme Fuse
There are also online marketplaces like ThemeForest, Mojo Marketplace, and Template Monster, where you can buy themes.
Unlike WordPress, Joomla has no official theme repository.
Yes, themes change your site’s look and feel, but plugins add extra functionality to your site. As your site grows, you’ll need to install a couple of plugins.
For instance, surveys help get feedback from your customers. Consequently, there are plenty of survey plugins to help you get this done – free and premium ones. If you also need a forum section to help interact better with your visitors, there are several plugins created for this purpose.
Just as we did while searching for themes, go to the WordPress plugin library (or dashboard) and try searching for “forum plugin” or “security plugin”. You’ll find an onslaught of free plugins.
The library has approximately 58,000 plugins which range from caching and speed plugins, to spam and security plugins. Most of the plugins are free to use. Before selecting a plugin, do well to check its reviews, rating, and feature lists. This will help you select the very best.
Several paid ones are also available on the internet. The primary difference between a free and premium plugin is that you get more features and dedicated support. Here are a few sites to check for premium plugins:
- Elegant Themes
Other open-source CMSs have fewer plugins. Joomla has approximately 8,000 plugins.
7. It is SEO-friendly
If search engine rankings are important to you, then this platform can be of immense help. WordPress comes with default SEO functionalities which gives it an edge over its alternatives. It generates title tags and meta descriptions for your posts and pages.
This will help the site’s ranking on search engines, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. WordPress’s default SEO is nothing compared to what you get with an SEO plugin. They roll the red carpet for search engines, making it easy to crawl your site and find your content.
Therefore, Yoast SEO plugin is one of the best for this job. With over 5 million downloads and great reviews, it is a must-have for any WordPress site.
See our guide on WP SEO, to know more.
8. WordPress is Flexible
By the left side of your WordPress dashboard, you have the Appearance tab. This is where you make changes to your theme, colors, fonts, code, menus, widgets, etc. In other words, it is your site’s control center.
For advanced code edits like inserting code snippets for google analytics, you can access your site files via FTP, hosting account, or even directly on your dashboard.
9. WordPress’ Security
Globally, 30,000 websites are hacked every day. Thousands of malware are set loose daily, ranging from viruses, trojans, adware, etc. This is a depressing statistic and has become a major issue for companies.
WordPress sites are also major targets for black hat hackers. However, if you play by the rules, you’ll be mostly safe from security issues. Therefore, some rules to keep your website safe from attacks include:
- Update WordPress core software, plugins, and themes
- Install a WordPress security plugin
- Avoid the use of null plugins, etc
To learn more about how to stay safe online, please read this in-depth guide on WP security.
10. It Has a Large Community
This is one of the most exciting reasons why people choose WordPress. The platform has a very large community of users, and this translates into a pleasant experience.
Firstly, you are likely to find people with whom you can collaborate. Thus, you would find it easy to ask questions and get responses from other users.
Secondly, the large community means you are almost always going to find solutions to even complex issues.
The reason is, someone else within the community would have experienced your issue, solved it, and proffered the solution.
In summary, you get the full community support needed to run your site, even as a beginner.
In conclusion, selecting a website builder is one of the most vital decisions you’ll make for your new site. Your choice determines how well your site performs, along with the number of tools and options accessible to you. However, making a decision can be quite exhausting most especially because of the number of platforms on the market.
Thankfully, there’s one great platform that is a safe bet in almost any situation – WordPress. This free, open-source CMS is great for building any type of website ranging from a simple personal blog to a fully-featured eCommerce site.
Meanwhile, we have listed other solid reasons to use WordPress. And if you also need a step-by-step breakdown on how to use WordPress, see our blog. You’ll find hundreds of WordPress topics that will help you become an expert in a short time.