WordPress is very popular, now hosting some 20% of all sites world-wide. And it’s free. But, by themselves, those aren’t strong enough reasons to choose WordPress for your site. In this post I review several key considerations that should be important in your choice of a hosting vehicle for your site.
WordPress now hosts more Web sites than any other platform on the Web, some 20% of all sites. Many benefits derive from the huge number of sites using it, which creates an attractive marketplace for people who design and build Web sites, for people who help you use Web sites to promote your business (like me!), for people who develop add-on software for WordPress, called plugins, and even for people who host Web sites. If you choose WordPress, you’ll always be able to find people to help with site design, maintenance or promotion, you’ll be able to buy great extensions for your site at low prices, and you’ll never be stuck when a company goes out of business.
There are six important reasons for you to consider WordPress:
- It’s open source
- There’s a large, valuable community of support
- End users can edit their own content
- It’s secure if managed properly
- It’s scalable up to quite large
- It’s future-proof
For several years, I developed a number of sites with a great tool. It provided a lot of features, was easy to use, and was one of the most bug-free software products I’ve used. However, about a year ago, the company went away. When I moved to a new computer, my installation won’t work any more–I need a new install key. The company is gone, so there’s no way to get the key. I’m out of luck with all those sites and now have to redevelop them.
Because the code is open source, even if the company that leads the writing of WordPress goes away, the code is available to everyone, and there are lots of developers to help keep it going. And because it’s open source, you have none of the licensing issues that we all face and despise.
If you need a customization of WordPress, there’s may already be a plugin to meet your needs. And if not, it’s not hard to write a new one, and not expensive to hire someone to write one.
Another advantage of open source is that there’s a huge community of developers who are contributing free and inexpensive software to extend WordPress. Just think of what you want to do and search for a plugin–you’re likely to face a rich array of choices at little to no cost. Anyone who wants to make money from selling a WordPress plugin realizes that the plugin is competing with a price of zero for the platform itself.
In addition to developers, there is a huge community of people who use WordPress to build sites, and provide other services around WordPress. They compete with many other providers, so the competition drives down the price for site development.
You don’t want to hire a Webmaster every time you want to add content to a site. You’d rather have your employees who write the content simply edit it on the Web site itself. WordPress provides a simple-to-use WYSIWYG editor that editors can use to write their content right on the site, and insert images and videos as well.
No advanced skills are needed to edit a page on WordPress; anyone who can edit a Word document can edit a page on a WordPress site.
Unfortunately, the Internet is a rough neighborhood these days! We all have security concerns, all the time, with our Web sites. The WordPress core code has been remarkably secure since WordPress’s inception–however, the same large installed base that attracts service providers also attracts people with malevolent intent. So you need to protect yourself.
There have been and continue to be security weaknesses in plugins. It’s important to keep plugins updated to the current version, since fixes are often intended to close security holes. In addition, use strong passwords. It’s sound as well to use two-factor authentication for users.
But there’s good news here, too. The robust plugin market has produced a first-rate security package for WordPress, the security plugin WordFence. It’s so good that it’s included in Dave’s Super Hosting Service. I’ve seen a number of WordPress sites hacked, but have never seen a site protected by the premium version of WordPress.
The New York Times, Microsoft and Facebook all run sites based on WordPress. If your site has hosting with appropriate capacity and scalability to the load you’ll experience, and you’re careful to test your complete site for performance, there’s no reason that the biggest companies can’t use WordPress. For small business, good design practices are all that you need to do to obtain the performance you need.
WordPress has a commitment to backwards compatibility, so new releases of WordPress won’t ever break your site. You avoid the infuriating problem of a new release requiring, suddenly, tons of work.
Again, because of the huge number of WordPress sites, When Google announced that it was suddenly important for our sites to be mobile-friendly, WordPress was there–the standard WordPress themes are already mobile-friendly. When Google wanted sites to implement Advanced Mobile Pages, they developed an AMP plugin for WordPress, so you can have AMP on your site, with just the installation of a single, free plugin.
The large group of active developers as well as the backward compatibility commitment protect your investment in your site.
The Bottom Line
Use WordPress to build your site. Or when you rebuild your site. It’s the right choice for essentially everyone.