There are many reasons why WordPress is the best CMS (content management system) to help you build a successful website. I’ll briefly run though some of them in this article. Firstly, WordPress is “open source” software, which means you can use it for free. Techies will know that it’s built utilising PHP (a server-side scripting language) and MySQL, but unless you really want to get into programming, you’ll never have to find out what they are or what they do.
Although the stats change practically every second, it has been estimated that WordPress accounts for something like 18% of all the websites on the planet. That’s a lot of sites. WordPress has been downloaded over thirty million times, which is a lot of downloads. The big advantage for you is that if anything needs fixing, you can get onto any number of forums and user groups and get literally millions of people to help you.
Another big benefit is that WordPress is 100% compliant to web regulations and if anything changes, you can rely on them to work on a new version and have it ready for easy download within hours or days of it happening.
WordPress is a very easy to install system that is perfect for beginners and experts alike. Your web host usually has a control panel that will installs it with a single click, though if feel the need to add CSS styles or attempt complicated coding, the options are there. Another wonderful aspect of WordPress is that it’s very hard to mess up, provided you keep away from the files that contain the computer code (they’re hidden away under Appearance/ Editor).
The chief use of WordPress is as blogging tool, and that’s really what Matt Mullenweg invented it for. But in recent years it has developed into a catch-all CMS that allows you to fashion a website into looking just about any way you want it to. You are helped in this by the tens of thousands of themes that have been especially built for WordPress. Themes let users change the functionality and look of a WordPress site without making alterations to the content you have been posting. Themes can be installed using the WordPress Dashboard, or by uploading their folders using an FTP app. Thousands are available without cost, others you have to pay for. Paid for themes I use include Socrates, Thesis and Modernize.
Google and Bing appear to love sites made with WordPress and, just by using it, you are giving yourself a clear advantage when it comes to getting high rankings in the search engines. The structure of WordPress means that you can optimize your website quite easily by using its many in-built SEO (search engine optimisation) features, including adding categories and ‘tagging’ to your posts, the easy use of heading tags (H1, H2, H3, etc), and pinging, which is when WordPress automatically sends bookmarking sites and search engines notifications of changes you’ve made within your site. Every one of these operations (and many more) are already included in the WordPress infrastructure.
Which brings me on to the subject of WordPress Plug-ins. These are dinky little apps that let your site do even more. There are more than 18,250 plugins available, offering to automate many diverse tasks, such as adding Facebook “likes”, preventing spam comments, offering language translations, adding sharing buttons, making new widgets available, and checking for broken links. I find new ones I “must have” nearly every single day. I have to control myself because the best advice is to keep plug-ins to a minimum, otherwise they can slow down the speed at which your site operates.