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When launching a new website (or considering a current website for a major overhaul), many of a business’s early decisions will be governed by their choice of Content Management System (CMS). If you aren’t familiar with the term, a CMS allows users to update and manage the content on a website (copy, images, videos, etc.) without needing to know HTML, CSS, or any other coding language.
All modern websites are built to work with a CMS. If yours is not, then you are probably wasting hours of labor manually updating code every time you need to post something, and missing out on valuable business opportunities in the process.
A good analogy to draw here might be to the early days of car ownership. Back in the day, owning and driving a car was something mostly left to hobbyists. This was because there were comparably few mechanics around who knew how to work an automobile. If you were planning to own a car, you might need to know enough about mechanics to keep it going, especially if it broke down on the side of a country road.
However, as the industry progressed, cars became increasingly user-friendly, so to speak. These days, the vast majority of car drivers have no mechanical background to speak of—nor do they need it to drive a vehicle.
CMSs do a similar thing for websites. They allow web developers to hand the keys over to the user. With the website owner in the driver seat, they can run their website however they choose, without having to turn to a developer unless something breaks.
With that said, your choice of CMS will have a significant effect on what you can achieve with your website. Your decision will affect your website’s capabilities, the cost of ownership, the ease with which you can update design and content, and your own control over site data.
With some of those considerations in mind, let’s see how WordPress CMS holds up.
I don’t have experience with all of WordPress’s competitors, but I have uploaded content to sites built on Joomla and Drupal. It may be that they’ve improved their interface since then, but my experience on these sites was bad enough to never want to go back. I also had the misfortune to train a few people in how to upload content to these sites, and it did not go well.
By contrast, WordPress is incredibly intuitive. While it still takes a little getting used to, most of the menu items are self-explanatory, and it’s unlikely you’ll break much if you poke around the backend for a bit. I’ve also had a much easier time training others in how to upload and manage WordPress content, so I know it’s not just my own preferences at play.
Approximately 30% of websites are built on WordPress. That’s all websites, total, around the world. Of those that are built using a CMS, about 60% of users choose WordPress. Their closest competitors, Joomla, Drupal, and Magento, have respectively 6.6%, 4.6%, and 2.4% of the CMS market share.
Now, there are talented developers working on all those platforms. But, how hard do you think it will be for you to find them? Working with WordPress means you will have access to a much broader talent pool. That’s not just in the people you work with directly, but also in those who develop plugins and features for WordPress users.
This comes down to the hosted vs. self-hosted issue we discussed earlier. A hosted website will allow for some customization, but those options will always be limited. It’s like renting a house: you can paint the walls, but you can’t knock them down to create a completely different space.
Self-hosted websites puts the ownership in your hands. And when it comes to custom development, that’s a huge deal. Did you want a special ecommerce feature for your website? WordPress can get you there. A hosted website can’t.
WordPress is a team player. Of course, that’s largely because, as the biggest player on the field, everyone wants to work with them. Some of the biggest names in web development offer plugins specifically designed for WordPress web sites.
This works in reverse as well. Because WordPress is open source, the community has strong incentives to build plugins and features that will integrate with other big websites. So if Slack and Google aren’t making it a priority to integrate with WordPress, the WordPress community is certainly making it a priority to integrate with them.
All these features and functions working hand-in-hand has an obvious benefit: they help your business grow and adapt. Need to add ecommerce functionality to your store? WooCommerce can do that for you. Or you can add a forum to grow an online community, or a custom forms plugin to integrate with your new automated marketing software.
And when traffic picks up, your business grows, and it’s time for another design overhaul? That pool of talented WordPress specialists we talked about will make it easy for you to level up your business.
Some people think open source means something is less secure, but nothing could be farther from the truth. WordPress isn’t just a safe platform to run on, it goes out of its way to enable and encourage smart security practices in its users. So, if you want to have multi-factor verification upon sign-in, require all users to create strong passwords, and include a reCAPTCHA to cut down on brute force attacks, you can do all that quite easily.
WordPress also does a good job reminding users to keep their plugins up to date to avoid security breaches. Finally, there are several excellent security plugins you can use to further enhance your site security.
Like the security benefits we just discussed, WordPress also gives SEO a helping hand both by making good SEO practices a default, and by providing access to user-friendly SEO tools. Need something to help check your on-page SEO? Yoast is here for that. Or you can use a plugin to help you format your content for rich feature markup.
WordPress’s focus on security puts pressure on websites to use SSL encryption, which is a ranking factor for Google. And WordPress also puts pressure on designers to create responsive websites, and websites that are optimized for mobile.
It’s not that other CMSs won’t have many of the things we mentioned. But they’ll all be operating on a much smaller scale, and without the resources provided by the WordPress community.
In short, it’s hard to see how choosing another CMS positions your business for long-term success. Any other choice either limits your capabilities by default (because they’re a hosted option), or limits the talent pool that can deliver those capabilities.
WordPress, on the other hand, delivers the full package. A user-friendly CMS with world-class capabilities, an unsurpassed talent pool, and every conceivable support to help your business respond to whatever challenges the future may throw your way. Building your website on WordPress CMS is a choice you’ll never second-guess.