When it comes to designing and maintaining a website, few content management systems have a bigger and more widely known name than WordPress. Since the turn of the 21st century, the WordPress content management system has been actively developed and extended by an enthusiastic community of both professional programmers and amateur website owners. This has allowed the software to become the single most popular option for hosting all kinds of blogs. In fact, WordPress is as popular among amateur website owners as it is among major publications, including blogs run by CNN, the New York Times, Time Magazine, and many others.
Despite WordPress’ overall popularity, many new website owners remain conflicted about the software and its many competitors. In fact, WordPress has perhaps never had as many competitors for website design and maintenance than it does today. So, with all of that competition and the many different ways to maintain a website, why WordPress? What does this software offer that makes it such a compelling choice for the typical website owner? There are five specific ways that WordPress will make website design easier, website deployment faster, and long-term site maintenance more efficient for people of all experience levels.
1. Many Web Hosts Support WordPress By Default
One of the great things about WordPress’ widespread popularity is its compatibility with a large number of popular web hosting companies. In fact, many companies have been founded purely as “WordPress hosts.” These hosts focus only on hosting installations of WordPress, and they typically offer to keep the software updated on behalf of the customer in order to make their website maintenance requirements a bit easier. Web hosting companies that offer WordPress compatibility are typically running the latest versions of advanced programming and database software, like PHP and MySQL, and this bodes well for the security of the new website as well.
Unlike many of its competitors, WordPress uses a standard set of technologies and comes with a rather easy-to-meet series of software requirements. These requirements have been the same for more than a decade, and that means that website owners aren’t likely to run into problems with software compatibility, installation, or glitches that might prevent a timely and effective launch of their website when it’s based on WordPress technologies.
2. Templates Make WordPress Easier to Design and Deploy
For many new website owners, few parts of launching a new website are scarier than designing that site for users. In fact, many new website owners have little to no design experience at all. Many people let this lack of experience, and fear of web programming, drive them away from launching a website and interacting with a new community of users. Luckily, WordPress can easily rise to meet these challenges and assuage these fears. Thanks to its status as the world’s most popular content management system, WordPress offers a large number of free and premium templates that can be downloaded and installed for immediate use.
What’s more, the templates that are used with WordPress typically come with their own control panel that will alter colors, fonts, and other design elements. This means that website owners can not only get started with a great “base” design, but also that they can change their template’s appearance using point-and-click menus or “what you see is what you get” manipulation of website elements. There are few content management systems that can even come close to this level of usability and customizability.
3. Add More Features By Installing Plugins
WordPress is a fully featured content management system all on its own, but some website operators might simply find that they want a bit more from the software. That’s perfectly fine. In fact, WordPress anticipated this would be the case. That’s why the developers created a light and efficient system that takes advantage of plugins and other modules.
If website owners want to integrate Twitter or Instagram, for instance, they can simply search the WordPress.org plugin database to find a plugin that brings this functionality into the mix. Other plugins allow for the use of analytics tools, new forms of user comments, greater search engine optimization, and virtually any other feature or type of integration needed to make the website both engaging for users and highly effective on the backend.
4. Widgets Make Design Customization Go a Bit Further
The first key thing to understand about WordPress templates is that they can be easily customized in the WordPress control panel, as mentioned earlier. There’s one other feature to consider, however: WordPress plugins can enable “widgets,” which allow new functionality to be added directly to an existing WordPress template without programming knowledge. Widgets are drag-and-drop boxes that can be added to the sidebars and content areas, adding things like live Twitter fees, social media sharing buttons, analytics tracking code, and much more.
Because WordPress monitors these widgets and assures their compatibility with the current installed version of the software, website owners can rest assured that these new design features won’t cause website issues. Instead, these widgets will keep users coming back for more content, social media interaction, and other types of engagement over the long-term, all without any knowledge of website design and programming skills.
5. WordPress Keeps Itself Updated and Highly Secure
Though the WordPress software can easily be scaled to the enterprise, the core features of this content management system are still designed to make it accessible to the typical Internet user. To that end, the developers behind the software have made automatic updates a standard part of a modern WordPress installation. With the newest versions of WordPress, the software will automatically update itself when a new version is released. This software will be downloaded directly from WordPress.org servers, making it highly secure. All compatible plugins and widgets will remain, though incompatible plugins and widgets may be disabled if they are not compatible or are considered insecure.
Plugins, widgets, and themes can also be updated directly within the WordPress software. Though these pieces of the system do not automatically update themselves, they will display a small notification on the home screen when an update is available. Administrators can then choose whether they wish to update their plugin, theme, or widget to the latest version, or whether they’d prefer to wait and perform this action at a later time. In either case, the combination of automatic WordPress system updates and opt-in plugin updates helps to create a secure, dynamic system that integrates the latest features and security updates with little to no intervention from the website’s owner.
Why WordPress? It’s a Highly Evolved System That Accommodates Site Owners
It’s all too common to see a content management system that requires its administrator to be an expert in all things related to coding, web design, and database administration. That simply isn’t the case with WordPress content management software, however. For more than a decade, the team of developers behind WordPress has focused on making it easier, with each release, to use WordPress without any of these core administration skills. With software that updates itself, incorporates new features automatically, and allows for effortless deployment of new designs and plugins without programming knowledge, WordPress represents the best choice for making a new website.
The WordPress software will scale easily over time as well, making it a great choice for website owners who have ambitious plans to grow their readership and cater to a dynamic, viral audience whose dedication to their fledgling website will only grow over time. None of the competing options on the market offer this level of thoughtful design, feature integration, or extensibility.