Plugins, widgets, and themes…oh my! While there are probably hundreds of reasons to launch your next website on WordPress, I’ve narrowed it down to a few of my favorites.
1) Simple content management
You want to keep your website current and you want it to be easy to update. No software to download, no FTP, no complex systems to learn. WordPress makes it very easy to simply open up your favorite browser, log in to your site’s Admin area, and update your content. Easily.
2) Quick indexing in search engines
For some reason, Google and other search engines love WordPress. If I post something to any of my WordPress sites in the morning, I typically get an alert from Google by the end of the day that my post has been indexed and is already appearing in results.
3) Content is separate from design
As a web developer I love this one, but this is a great thing for anyone running a WordPress site. It essentially means you can change the design or theme of your site at anytime without having to completely re-format content (which is stored in the database). You really don’t need to do anything special at all. As your site grows, you won’t have to worry about the complexity of a re-design down the road…the content exists on its own.
4) Easy functionality
Need to add an advanced commenting system? There’s a plugin for that. Want to build a premium, pay-for-membership site? There’s a plugin for that. Whatever idea you might have for some sort of functionality, there’s probably a plugin for it already.
5) Don’t have to build from scratch
Because so much is already built in to WordPress, a complete website is very rarely built entirely from scratch. Well, obviously the CMS portion is already taken care of as we discussed, but much of the front-end design can be constructed from existing complete or starter themes. There’s even a complete arsenal of theme “frameworks” such as Genesis that bring all sorts of design and functionality options to the table right from the start.
6) Huge community of users and developers
There are literally MILLIONS of websites that run on WordPress. That means there are a lot of folks out there who use and build on WordPress. There are all sorts of forums, tutorials, and other resources that can educate you on running your WordPress website and help you in the even of any errors. Personally, whenever I get any sort of error, I copy and paste it directly in Google and am usually able to find the fix within minutes. It’s an active community…and growing.
7) Open source
The fact that WordPress is open source means two things: 1) lots of different folks are working to make it a better platform, and 2) IT’S FREE. I like free.
8) Cheap to host
Since WordPress primarily runs on Apache for Linux, hosting can be extremely cheap. No Windows Server or SQL Server licenses that hosting companies need to pay…the fees for them to run Linux are minimal and the savings are passed along to you, the user.
One of my downfalls has always been I forget to save my work on a regular basis. WordPress has a nice little feature built in that auto-saves your posts or pages as you are composing them. It’s nothing major, but it makes life go on when you accidentally close your browser. It also saves the past few revisions so you can go back and restore older content.
10) Quick to launch
If you need to launch a site FAST, WordPress is a great solution. In fact, I launched a sub-business of Lift Development called TweakMyTheme in a single weekend by doing just that: Tweaking an existing WordPress theme (and a free one), filling it with content, and releasing it to the world. Within days I was already getting requests to do the same thing for others.
11) Easy to target mobile devices
There are specific themes and plugins available for WordPress that allow you to serve a mobile version of the website to mobile devices. The smartphone market is growing like crazy, and this is a feature that can really allow you to make sure your best content is accessible on these devices.
12) Hooks up to social media
With WordPress and various plugins, you can send your blog posts to Facebook, Twitter, or just about any social media website. You can make it easy for your visitors to add your content to Digg or other bookmarking networks. You can create custom RSS feeds for specific categories and add them to unique Feedburner feeds. WordPress makes it simple.
Being able to publish a post or a page and allow your visitors to comment with their own thoughts gives you an easy way to interact and develop relationships. You can extend the built-in WordPress comment functionality with plugins such as Disqus and IntenseDebate which allow for threaded discussion and more.
14) Simple to get others involved as you grow
If you need to add employees and other content authors to your website, it’s simple with the various user-roles available in WordPress. And (once again) you can even create additional roles and user-rules through plugins.
15) Can be what you want it to be
Some people use WordPress for simple blogging. Some organization use it for news and articles. Some realtors use it for listing their properties. Some businesses use it for e-commerce. I even know someone who developed a custom theme that allows you to use WordPress as a project proposal/bid tool. WordPress is flexible.
16) Always getting better
WordPress continues to evolve, and the recent release of WordPress 3 included some incredibly useful features like custom menus and post-types (and more!). It seems like with every release, WordPress becomes even more flexible than it already is.
Lift Development Builds WordPress Websites
I used to build static, plain-HTML-and-CSS websites for clients, and if they needed functionality I used ASP.NET. But not anymore. Building on WordPress allows me to offer them a ton of useful features without re-inventing the wheel, and with all of the above advantages, our clients are always happy with the final product.