Complexity: Entry level
This article is ideal for: anyone looking to create their own website, digital marketers and curious minds.
We love WordPress, which is why we always recommend it to anyone looking to build or rebuild their website and why we exclusively host WordPress websites. We know WordPress is great for websites, but also understand that there are a lot of people who don’t know what WordPress is, why they might want to choose it for their website and what makes it so great. That’s what we’re here to answer.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is, simply put, a kind of website. It is one of the most popular ways to build websites with around 75 million WordPress websites worldwide – it powers about 25% of ALL websites. In more technical terms, WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS).
A CMS is an interface that allows you to control what appears on your website, from words and images, to the background colours, heading sizes and so much more. Different CMS have their own ways of allowing you to change information, with some making it simpler and some more complex.
Why does it matter what CMS you choose?
Every CMS has its own benefits and drawbacks, but some have more than others. WordPress is great for all kinds of websites, since it has no strict specialities. By comparison a CMS like Shopify, as its name suggests, is targeted at businesses with a focus on online sales, aka eCommerce. Other CMS target a particular kind of user, like Artlogic who have designed theirs specifically for art galleries and artists.
Based on the needs of the user, each CMS has been styled to make doing what you need to do as easy as possible. Why you would choose one over another will come down to what you need it to do, how well you understand coding and whether you have experience working with CMS before.
Kinds of WordPress websites
You can build all kinds of websites on WordPress. Here are some examples of the types of WordPress sites that you can have:
- And so much more!
Why choose WordPress (for your CMS)
So, why choose WordPress? WordPress is open source, which means that anyone can use or modify the software for free. You might think this means anyone can change anything and so could impact your website, not quite.
Think of WordPress as a box of Lego with instructions to build a castle. You can build the castle according to the instructions, but give that same box of Lego to someone else and they could build a different kind of castle, with more turrets or a drawbridge. Whether you change your castle to match that other one is up to you. But, you don’t have to do the work of figuring out which blocks would be needed to make a new turret.
Use a theme or custom code a website
This open ended and crowd sourced nature of WordPress is one of the reasons why our team love it so much. WordPress has few limits, which makes it easier for us to give our clients exactly what they want.
WordPress allows for custom coding, allowing web developers to perfectly recreate what designers imagine for your website. You can even add in flashing icons, parallax images and all sorts of custom features to make a website look and feel like yours.
You don’t have to be a developer to build a WordPress website, though an understanding of databases will allow you to fully utilise all it’s features. Generally speaking, WordPress wants to be accessible to as many people as possible and allows you to choose a Theme, instead of custom coding your own website – which is complex and time consuming. Now, WordPress is not the only CMS that uses Themes but since it is an open source platform, there are huge numbers of WordPress and user created themes out there.
A Theme is basically a template for a website, with all the styling built it. It ‘changes the design of your website, often including its layout’. This allows someone to build a website that has a consistent look and feel, even if they don’t know how to code the parts themselves. All you have to do with a theme is choose what pages you want and where and populate the pages with content – be that videos, logos, products or copy.
WordPress is future proof
You can be reassured that any website created using WordPress will be functional for years if not decades to come. WordPress uses the latest coding practices, rolling out updates when needed but which you don’t need to accept in order for your website to keep working. Having a system that is flexible, upgradable and future proof are, alone, three very good reasons why you should consider choose WordPress for your website’s CMS.
If you do need to make any updates, there are lots of website developers out there who can help you to make the necessary changes and updates to your WordPress website. The community is huge so if you want to make the changes yourself they will also be people who can offer you advice on getting started.
Security for your website
Hacking of devices, be it mobile phones or websites has become increasingly common. No website can be 100% safe, since people are always thinking up new ways to hack. However, WordPress is a very secure system, assuming the website owner is taking security precautions, such as:
- Limiting access to the CMS
- Using trusted resources, such as for themes and plugins – plugins are one of the ways in which you can customise your WordPress website.
- Having secure website hosting
- Choose strong passwords that can’t easily be guesses (by people or hacking software).
These are only some of the ways you should be looking to secure any website, not just a WordPress website.
Great for SEO & content
The functionality of WordPress as a CMS means that it is ideally suited for SEO and content marketing. We’d go so far as to say it’s amazing for anyone undertaking an SEO strategy.
Organising website URLs, styling content and organising it in an accessible way for visitors is all part of the appeal of WordPress. The flexibility also means that you can create different styles of service pages and blogs to showcase the information, expertise, products and services on offer.
Whether you are looking to great in depth articles that show in search results or need your product pages that highlight key information while allowing for more copy or want to make imagery the focus of your pages, it is all easily achievable with WordPress.
Getting a WordPress website
You can get a WordPress website directly from WordPress themselves, and those with development skills can use it to custom code their own websites. As mentioned above, if you aren’t that backend savvy then you can use a Theme to get you started.
Businesses who have a bit of budget can make use of website builders, design and development teams who can help you to turn the ideas you have about your website into viable plans. The added value here is that they’ll have expertise in how to make a website look great (even recreating the features on your favourite websites), can offer extras you might not have thought of and will have a deeper understanding on what can be achieved with a WordPress CMS so that your team can easily manage changes and updates once your website is launched.
By Nick Gomez
What to read next
With a new website, you’ll also want to be thinking about digital marketing. SEO, content, social media and PPC can all be included under digital marketing, and they can fit together in lots of ways. Check out our guide: What Is Digital Marketing? to learn more.