When deciding to create a website for yourself or for your business, choosing a good platform is crucial. So, what do web developers use to build websites? The answer is simple. By far the most popular platform is WordPress which currently powers over 30% of all websites on the internet.
WordPress is endlessly customizable and offers options from the simplest blog to the most elaborate online shop. In this article, we explore some of the reasons that make WordPress so popular as a platform, and why web developers recommend using it.
For the purists out there, a common question is whether WordPress is considered “web development”. The answer is absolutely yes, because WordPress is a platform, as opposed to a website. It’s the foundation upon which to build and develop websites.
Let’s go ahead and explore the main reasons why web developers use WordPress as their preferred platform for web development.
Quick to set up
The first thing to note about WordPress and the reason why it attracts so many people is that it is remarkably easy to use. Setting up a new WordPress site can take under an hour, and doesn’t require any coding language knowledge. Of course, to get your website looking exactly the way you want can take a bit of time and effort, but you can get a basic site up and running without needing to master advanced I.T. skills.
Global knowledge base
Over the past decade, WordPress has become extremely popular. So much so, that there are many online resources where questions have been asked and answered to help you fix almost any issue.
Everything you need to personalize your website has been likely demonstrated in a blog post or YouTube video. This is a real advantage of using such a popular platform. There is an endless source of information, countless how-tos and articles about every last feature.
Intuitive and pleasant to use
The WordPress “admin” or “backend” is where you login to customize your website, create new pages and manage all of your media files. It may not be as sleek and beautiful as some newer website platforms, but it remains very reliable and intuitive to use.
It lets you easily write headings and sub-headings, add pictures, videos, links to social media sites, and even create polls or quizzes with the help of suitable plugins and themes. Overall, creating new pages is a simple and easy experience, which is great news if you are looking to create a website that will be updated frequently.
Complete design freedom
Some popular website platforms like Squarespace and Wix are home to thousands of sites that frequently look similar. This is because people are locked-in to a limited set of specific template designs. Sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between one business and the next.
This is why WordPress is more attractive because it offers customization opportunities that are essentially endless.
There is no ‘WordPress theme’. Rather, when you create a website using WordPress, you are able to choose from thousands of free and premium design themes. Those go from the minimalist to the colorful, from fun to sleek, and encompass almost any web design vision that you may have in mind for your website.
Plugins and options for every need
WordPress is not only customizable with themes but also with plugins. Plugins allow you to add interesting features to your website, such as creating a mailing list, polls, enhancing its speed, creating an online shop or even making it rank higher in search engine results.
While themes allow you to control everything about the way that your website looks, plugins can help you determine the core functionality of your site to suit your needs. Combine the two and you have a platform that allows you to create an entirely customized website for your brand.
Easy to hire expert web developers
If the vision which you have in mind for your website is very elaborate, you may want to get professional help. Fortunately, many web designers and developers are proficient with WordPress which means finding a freelancer is relatively easy. Difficulties can arise if the web developer is not equipped with the skill set to create the website of your dreams.
Reach out to me if you’re looking for a WordPress expert for your next project, whether it’s a new website or performing updates to your existing site.
Heavy focus on security
As a business, ensuring the security of your website should be a high-priority. WordPress contains some in-built guards that make it a naturally secure platform to build a website. As an added bonus, there are a number of WordPress plugins which you can use to protect your website from hackers. The most basic ones are free, but you are also able to choose premium security options that do a great job of keeping your website safe.
Hosting options for every budget
Most people don’t realize that WordPress is actually a free platform.
Granted, to get a website running, you will need to purchase a domain name and hosting. But this also means that, depending on your budget, you can choose an option that is affordable for you.
A smaller start-up may opt for cheaper hosting while a medium-to-large business may want to choose a more premium option. When starting out, you can begin with a completely free theme and set of plugins which can make your website look professional from day 1.
As your business or website grows, you can progressively make the switch to more premium hosting options, including some beautiful themes and very advanced and feature-rich plugins.
Which WordPress hosting provider should you choose? Hands down, I recommend WPEngine because of their plan pricing and superior technology. WordPress is all they do, so they’re experts.
Frequent patches & updates
Compared to other platforms, WordPress is open source and has the added benefit of being frequently updated. Because it is such a large and popular platform, there is a global team of WordPress experts constantly working to solve any issues and improve the experience of using WordPress for all.
When you have a website, this can give you some sense of security, as it means the core product is constantly maintained, and that any problems with the platform are solved relatively quickly.
Great SEO potential
Although every WordPress developer promises to deliver a website with out-of-this-world SEO, the truth is that WordPress sites consistently do well in that category if they are correctly setup.
WordPress themes generally conform to basic levels of SEO which means they adhere to the standards and requirements of search engines. As a result, WordPress websites are frequently the ones that are indexed at the very top of search engine results pages (SERP) on popular services like Google or Bing.
Best of all, WordPress lets you play and experiment with advanced options that can further enhance your SEO. Those include plugins that help you optimize pages for certain keywords, plugins that make your images load faster or write relevant alt-text that will help search engines discover and index your content.
People who are serious about their SEO should still seek the assistance of a professional to come up with the best tailored SEO strategy for them.
A website… plus a mobile site!
As well as being generally search engine-friendly, WordPress is also a great platform to create a website that can be visited from any device and web browser, be it a laptop, a mobile phone or a tablet.
The vast majority of the themes which you’ll find on WordPress have mobile friendliness built-in, meaning that they will work and look great on mobile devices without you having to do twice the work in creating your website. An added advantage is that being mobile-friendly can also help you rank higher in search engine results, as web traffic is increasingly being driven by mobile users.
Owning your website
When getting a website created by an independent full stack developer, or when creating your own WordPress site, you typically own the content of your site. With other platforms like Wix or Squarespace, things are a little different. In effect, you are paying that platform to create a website for you, which you are then ‘renting’ for a monthly sum of money.
The website is in their hands, and should you decide to leave their platform or stop paying, you will be losing all of your content. This is also part of the reason why web developers choose to use WordPress: you are free to do what you want with your website once you have created it, be it to take it to another platform or to switch to cheaper hosting.
Owning your website may not be an important short-term priority, but in the long-term, it does make sense to invest time and money into something which is yours for life, rather than into a web page that will be gone when your contract runs out.
So why are big brands like Disney, The New York Times or Sony using WordPress to power their website? And why do web developers use WordPress as their preferred platform? Well, precisely because of the platform’s incredible customization options.
Those companies can afford to spend a lot on their website. But the reason why they choose WordPress is because it allows them the freedom to do exactly what they want, and realize the vision which they have for their audience.
To sum up the benefits of using WordPress to create a website, it’s a platform that is:
- easy to use
- well-known by web developers
- safe and secure
- flexible when it comes to your budget
- frequently updated
- accessible to a wide audience
- yours to use for free… forever!
WordPress’s popularity is also what makes it such a great platform. We are talking about a virtuous circle in which the better WordPress gets, the more people use it. And the more people use it, the more global resources the platform can draw upon to keep improving.
As long as WordPress remains the most popular website builder out there, it will remain your best bet to create a website that is exactly what you want, and serves your purposes.