While WordPress is generally known for its blogs and its ready-made theme templates, the software platform also offers developers a feature rich way to build websites that are meant to grow with the needs of the organizations that they represent. Some people believe that having a custom website developed is the only way that they can get exactly what they want, but they miss out on the numerous features that come standard with WordPress. Here are four reasons to consider a WordPress website over a custom one.
1. Easy to Develop, Modify and Use
Both the user and web development communities consider WordPress one the easiest and quickest ways to gain an Internet presence. There are thousands of theme templates in WordPress, and these are great time and money savers for developers who are tasked with simply providing their clients with professional looking websites that perform to specifications. For example, many businesses and non-profit agencies need an official website to communicate static information about their organizations, but they also want a blog that will allow them to engage their patrons with periodic news about their activities. Website designs created in WordPress can easily accommodate a professional website and associated blog without the extensive coding in HTML or Dreamweaver that a 100 percent custom website would require.
The user experience is greatly enhanced by the uncomplicated WordPress user interface that is designed for easy navigation by even the most technology challenged customers. The user community and assigned web administrators can also quickly update and modify WordPress websites because of the platform’s robust back office content management system. Special benefits within this system include access and privacy controls. For example, permissions can be set to give certain users the ability to update portions of websites, and pages can be labeled as private to limit viewing to select audiences. Other features allow informational websites as well as e-commerce enabled sites to add important organizational or product information in near real time; updates include text as well as multimedia additions. Websites that are created in WordPress are not completely custom, but they are nearly so because of the extensive features and support available to WordPress users and developers. When custom websites need modifications, business owners usually must hire web developers to accomplish the work, but modifications to websites that are generated using WordPress may not require the professional expertise of a web developer. The WordPress development community is large, knowledgeable, accessible and free to users and developers who run into difficulties when customizing WordPress websites. The WordPress platform was founded in 2003 as an easy to use web based communication tool, and WordPress sites now represent over 15 percent of the world’s websites.
Users can get exactly what they want with a custom website, but these websites cost them a great deal more and take longer to build. Additionally, users may not know enough about their future Internet marketing and promotional requirements to make requests for design features that accommodate growth for custom sites. However, the WordPress platform offers a variety of free and paid plug-ins that allow websites to be modified as the needs of organizations change. Users save money since many of these plug-ins can be installed by even those without technical expertise. Some popular WordPress plug-ins add e-commerce, feedback forms and security functionality to websites. Many web hosts are optimized for WordPress websites and blogs to ensure reliable service because of the popularity of the WordPress platform.
3. Open Source
Popularity is not the only reason that web hosting and other website support organizations strive to integrate with WordPress. WordPress has made it easy for these entities to provide special integration support because of its open source status. Open source means that the software is free to use and the code is available for modification and enhancements. The WordPress platform’s open source status is another reason that enables it to effectively compete with custom website creations since developers can use the code to make custom enhancements when appropriate plug-ins are not available. However, the lack of appropriate plug-ins is usually a rare event because WordPress developers across the globe build numerous plug-ins for fun and for pay. The open source nature of the WordPress platform encourages widespread development of these plug-ins.
4. Search Engine Optimization
Many small business owners get stunning, interactive custom websites built that are ready to engage their sites’ visitors, but the problem is that they have no site visitors. Very few people besides their staff and website developers know that they even exist on the world wide web. While an experienced website designer and developer nearly always uses techniques to alert the popular search engines to a new website’s birth, the practice of search engine optimization (SEO) is known to be designed into every WordPress website and blog. Most search engines like Google love WordPress for a number of reasons. People first used the WordPress platform for creating blogs years ago, and search engines tend to favor blogs because of their unique and frequently updated content. Also, the WordPress platform has undergone frequent SEO oriented updates that facilitate recognition by the search engines of every web page, blog post and article created using WordPress. Some of the specific features of the WordPress platform that makes it particularly attractive to search engines is the ability to add permalinks, tags or key words and size adjusted graphics with the help of a WordPress SEO plug-in called WP Smushit.
Although there are other great content management platforms available, WordPress is a leader in website and blog development when time, cost and ease of maintenance are major considerations. The WordPress platform is so flexible that users can create their own sites within minutes for free using WordPress.com. This benefit is useful for a business professional because it gives them a chance to evaluate the software and its special features for free before hiring a WordPress developer to build them a professional website using the platform.