There are many ways to build a website, but for most small business purposes WordPress.org is the best choice. This is because it’s free, commonly used (so you can Google any problem you have), and exceptionally versatile.
There is a reason why WordPress powers around a third of all websites, and that’s because it is suitable for pretty much any level of web development skill. If you have no idea how to run a website, you can get started quickly and easily with WordPress. If you have basic-to-moderate technical skills – you can put them to good use. If you are an actual web developer… well there are frankly better options out there for you.
However, for anyone excluding actual professional devs, WordPress is a powerful and hassle-free way to run a website.
[Please note: I am not being paid to endorse this product, I just like it]
Confusingly – there are two versions of WordPress (both run by the same company of course).
WordPress.com is a website you can sign up to and create an absolutely free website, using templates they provide. There are different levels of plan you can sign up for if you want more options and support, and there are a lot of customisations you can choose from and… bla bla bla. I’m not here to talk about WordPress.com. It’s fine, but it’s simple and limited (that’s the point – it’s exceptionally quick and easy to use).
WordPress.org, on the other hand, is an open-source free piece of software that anyone can download and use to run a website on their own server. It’s free to use, but you do have to pay for server space (and a domain name). With WordPress.org there are no limitations. You can build any sort of website, but take advantage of the WordPress.com style interface that keeps everything simple and easy to use.
And it’s free!
There are huge advantages to going with the most popular content management system out there. For example:
- If you don’t know what you’re doing, there are many many guides out there you can read on how to get started, and to run a WordPress.org site effectively. There are also many managed services you could hire to do it for you if you were so inclined.
- If you want your site to do something special with your website – someone has probably built a plugin that can help you. More likely than not, there are probably many plugins that do what you want, and many “Top Ten Best WordPress Plugins for X” lists for those plugins so you can review them and find the best one before you start.
- If you want to build something yourself that has never been done before – there are infinite forums out there you could find help on. Or again – there are many WordPress specific dev agencies that could help you build it.
Basically, there are experts galore out there. Some build things for WordPress, some help others with WordPress, and some sell WordPress based services.
On top of this, most reputable hosting companies will offer “1-click installation” for WordPress, making it pretty much the easiest website setup process you could imagine.
I mentioned above that you can get plugins for WordPress. These are little add-on programmes that make sites’ built-in WordPress capable of doing different things. If you want help with your SEO, there are many plugins for that. If you want your site to be secure… there are many plugins for that. If you want your site to be translated automatically into different languages, or to post your new pages to Facebook automatically, or for unicorns to appear on screen after 5 seconds of inactivity…. there’s a plugin for that.
There are plugins for almost anything, and most of these plugins are free. You can get premium versions of many plugins if you want to do more advanced things, but in most cases, developers for WordPress.org are just making great things to make the internet better. In case you are worried that this doesn’t sound very secure – while you *can* add plugins from anywhere to your site, WordPress also has a built-in plugin store (they don’t call it that as they’re free), where WordPress has taken the time to make sure only legit plugins make the grade.
Similarly, you can make your website look like anything you want via the use of Themes, and the related built-in theme store (again – they don’t call it that as they are mostly free too). The great thing about WordPress themes is that they are so editable and easily changeable. You simply choose the one you want, and then try it on for size! You don’t even have to set it live to actually see if it will work for you – you can preview themes and they will load with your site’s content. Even more than this, you can edit the preview to see if you could whip it into the right shape before making a decision.
As a website owner, WordPress makes your life easier in many ways. If you are a web dev pro, sure you should look at other options. If you only want a website with a single page to act as an online business card, then perhaps WordPress is a bit too much.
However, for the rest of us who want a good quality website that looks and does whatever we feel like (without making us lose our minds trying to get it to work), WordPress.org is the best choice by far.