WordPress is the most popular website software!
It currently powers 1/3rd of all websites (33.6% market share in 2019 and STILL GROWING) and is used by all kinds of sites for all kinds of industries. Small obscure blogs use it. Big name brands use it.
If you need to make a website, there’s a good chance WordPress is probably the best option for you. Here’s why…
1. WordPress is free
Free to use, free to try, and free to get started. Free is a great foundation to build something because it lets you experiment with little investment. You can try it yourself, then try it for a friend, and use it for a temporary project. Or start off a small project with it and then grow into paid solutions if needed. The cost of free is especially convenient for beginners who don’t know what they’re doing and don’t know what they want.
The other benefit of free is that because it’s free (and open-source), many people use it and contribute to it. Many users and support forums and free guides and tips are everywhere. Free themes and plugins. It’s a thriving community full of endless add-ons. Paid software on the other hand can feel less fun and free, with fewer options, and every little feature seems locked behind a paywall.
2. WordPress is popular
Again…using popular software has the advantage that it’s well-maintained, regularly updated, and improved, lots of community contributions to it to make it better. Tons of extensions (free and paid) and support (free and paid) are available. Things are easier when you’re using what many other people use. Easier to find compatible solutions for it. Easier to get help for it. An absolutely overwhelming abundance of solutions and options to do just about anything you can think of.
Basically, all benefits below are ultimately a side-effect of the 1st two points.
3. WordPress is flexible
Now onto the first real reason why WordPress even got popular in the first place. WordPress can be as simple or as complicated as you needed it to be. If you’ve been around the internet since over 10 years ago when the battle was between WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal…you would know exactly why WordPress got so popular. It’s because it was clean and simple.
But now, WordPress is more than just simple…it’s flexible! It can be a simple little blog if that’s all you want. But it can also be a megastore with thousands of products, a super-sexy agency portfolio page, a community membership portal, or an events calendar/ticketing system. It can quickly take on any role you can think of. Simplicity WITH OPTIONS for more features is simplicity at its finest!
Hundreds of thousands of plugins are available for you to create any kind of site you want. Many themes are available as well! There’s so much you can do with it. It never ends!
4. WordPress is easy-to-use
While I do think the UI could still be improved, I would say WordPress was definitely the first content management system that could be easy enough to use for non-technical users. If you’ve ever messed with Dreamweaver, Joomla or those free webhosting website-builders, then you know exactly what I mean!
Before WordPress, content management systems (CMS) suffered from overwhelming UI and someone ambiguously labeled things to non-technical users. Thankfully, everyday UI in front-end web development has come a long way since then.
Want to explore new themes? Want to mess with plugins? Want to change where and how your posts show and mess with the menu? Want to edit content? Mess with text and images? WordPress lets you do it all and with full freedom. You never feel like important features are locked behind some paywall or some limitation (like with Wix or Weebly). WordPress can do it all!
5. WordPress is still evolving
I think this is the most beautiful aspect of WordPress. Its unparalleled agility continues to adapt well to the times. New tools are constantly coming out that change how we use and interact with the web. All the latest trends and 3rd-party integrations out there are forced to play nicely with the WordPress ecosystem. And likewise, WordPress has always stayed compatible through the constant evolution of web technology. Web servers, SEO, social media integrations, marketing and ads, eCommerce, and other 3rd-party API.
6. There are few exact alternatives to WordPress
Sure, WordPress isn’t the only incredible website system out there…but it’s hard to find one more powerful and more flexible, and better supported. But we’ll try anyway.
- Large CMS (Joomla, Drupal, Magento) – can feel like overkill. Too technical and overwhelming, especially for smaller/simpler sites. Can also be too resource-heavy for cheap hosting.
- Other smaller CMS (Typo3, Concrete5, etc) – are either too simple or too technical. Not free. Limited in features if you’re trying to do anything too custom. Less 3rd party options (themes/plugins) to choose from. Smaller community base. Fewer developers/contractors are available to help you with it.
- Hosted free model (Wix, Weebly) – very attractive for non-technical users who don’t know anything about making websites or webhosting. Their platforms will host your site and allow you simple free options to start with and then you can pay if you want more options and support. Nice to start but can feel very limiting if you want truly custom designs or functions.
- Hosted premium-model (Squarespace) – excellent platform and popular, but costs money. Limited in options but very polished design and functions…which is both a pro and con. Can feel limiting if you want truly custom solutions. In terms of function, it’s easy to get up and running with a professional-looking website. But in terms of cost, it feels too expensive if you’re trying to put up some simple personal (or non-commercial) sites.
- Hosted e-commerce (Shopify, BigCommerce, BigCartel, etc) – these locked-in platforms are great for specific use cases, like eCommerce! You’ll have solid hosting, great themes to choose from, and many eCommerce-specific extensions. When it comes to eCommerce (and where you actually make money), it can be so much easier to use a platform that’s ready to go and doesn’t have to be “built”, also no concerns about security and upgrades. It’s also perfect if you run an actual store in the real world. The only drawback about these is that they can be overkill if you only need to sell 2-3 products and don’t actually need a full-blown eCommerce website.