Why use WordPress (WP) for building your nonprofit, commercial or personal content-rich websites? Because it fuels simple 1-page blogs AND it handles enormous fully-featured commercial and publishing endeavors; it grows with your needs and you’re in charge.Why use WordPress for building your nonprofit, commercial or personal website? Because it fuels simple 1-page blogs AND it handles enormous fully-featured web endeavors; it grows with your needs. But there's more to it. Click To Tweet
WordPress was first introduced in 2003. What started as a simple intuitive blogging platform on a pre-defined design theme has since grown into a massive web development tool. Back then, it helped millions around the world—from internet novices to techies—gain their first web presence to get their message out or to start their business. All you needed was (and still is) an internet connection, any kind of browser on any kind of operating system.
Today, WordPress still describes its mission as “Democratize Publishing. The freedom to build, to change and to share”.
“We believe in democratizing publishing and the freedoms that come with open source (OpenSource.org). Supporting this idea is a large community of people collaborating on and contributing to this project. The WordPress community is welcoming and inclusive. Our contributors’ passion drives the success of WordPress which, in turn, helps you reach your goals. WordPress contributors work around the globe, and have dedicated countless hours to build a tool that democratizes publishing. WordPress is open source software that is both free and priceless.”
Why use WordPress for Content-Rich Websites?
Many websites are built on WP: On one end of the spectrum are those using a few pre-developed chosen WP themes and plugins, designed and fully hosted by WordPress for a small annual fee (wordpress.com). You can customize the look of your site but with limitations.
On the other end are fully customizable, intricate and scalable websites that run the WP software for free (download at wordpress.org). These are self-hosted sites: You buy your domain name, choose a web host to host your site, download the core WordPress software to their server and start customizing. Websites can be built using thousands of highly flexible themes (or themes that you install without customizing them at all; just paste in your content). You can choose from more than 50K available plugins that add additional functionalities.
Or you can design and develop your site from scratch, based on the core WP software and then add your own code.
Flexible and Everywhere
Either way, with this range of flexibility, WP has morphed into a leading full-fledged website content management system (CMS) with open source property, meaning that it grants users the right to review, change or improve the code and distribute it as they see fit.
This ensures that security flaws are found quickly and fixed efficiently. No one owns WP; it is a global community of coders.
WordPress powers many of the largest websites (among them IBM, BBC, ESPN, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times). A total of a quarter of all commercial, personal and organizational websites use WordPress and 50,000 new sites are added daily.
In 2019, the number of total active websites that ran on WP was estimated at over 172 million and nearly 60% of all CMS-based websites were built on the WordPress platform. It is the only CMS that experiences consistent growth.
WordPress websites have many advantages over the competition, i.e. site builders like Weebly, Wix, Squarespace and Flywheel, or sites created on other drag and drop site editors.
The biggest difference is that WP is a fully-fledged content management system that you control, while the others are website builders hosted on their servers that offer much less flexibility and customization options.
You could end up creating a cookie-cutter site that underwhelms and is more restrictive on creativity. That might initially suffice—but the site cannot grow with your needs.
What else is unique to WordPress?
It is Free
WP is free, lightweight and uses clear code. In addition, you own your own data and can easily access and move it. You can choose to host your WP-based website on any internet host you like or on your own server and under your own domain name. You have unlimited development and design control over it. Or you can host in on WordPress.com for a small annual fee and build your site by choosing from a limited set of themes.
It is Secure
WP’s open source core software is constantly updated and robust. It is time-tested and approved upon for more than 15 years; and that will not change anytime soon. There is a growing number of security plugins for WP that you can install to add additional layers of protection, like SSL encryption (https), 2-factor authentication and other password and firewall strengthening options to block security breaches. WP-based websites experience very little downtime because of the robust infrastructure and underlying clean code.
It is Simple & Intuitive
WP can handle the simplest and also the most elaborate designs. It is highly customizable with a trove of free and fee-based open-source themes and plugins that you choose as the need arises to customize your site. It is designed not only for designers or developers but with every user in mind.
You can scratch its surface, dip in your toes and build a robust yet very simple, small site in just a few days. You can dig deeper and add every function needed to develop a highly complex website, coded at the back end from scratch. Or you can design your own child theme that is built upon an existing theme and expand it gradually.
Since WP is so widely used, there are many tutorials and manuals available to answer every question possible. There are chat groups and online forums, WordPress Meetups and global WordPress WordCamp conventions for WP beginners and experts.
It is Easy to Maintain
WP makes it easy to maintain, update and refresh your content with its visual drag and drop editor and its intuitive user-interface components. This makes it especially suitable for volunteer-driven organizations or businesses with a small staff and even smaller budgets.
Communicators, marketers and content creators can be fully in control of publishing, editing and updating content without having to rely on their IT department or offsite tech admins. WP makes it easy to schedule regular backups of your site or revert to earlier backups if need be. You control the front-end with ease.
It is Functional & Dynamic
WP is SEO- and mobile-optimized; it offers many plugins to take this even further and add even more high-powered SEO optimization. It is also dynamic and integrates well with other online platforms, like Stripe, PayPal, YouTube or email marketing programs such as MailChimp or ConvertKit. And it handles e-commerce, chat functions, calendars, scheduling and online forms to name just a few seamlessly. Because it is open source, it is multilingual; you can create websites that are targeted to a global audience.
It is Business- and Nonprofit Friendly
WP grows with your organizational, commercial, nonprofit or personal website needs. It is easier and less costly to develop, maintain, redesign and upscale WP websites compared with other open-sourced CMS platforms like Joomla or Drupal.
Once you install WP, you have full control over it. And it frees organizations from static or proprietary CMS that cannot be adjusted after the primary development is done or the initial developer is gone.
Want to check whether a website runs on WP? One giveaway is that WordPress usually adds a back slash at the end of an URL (i.e. https://www.tekla-szymanski.com/about/)—but developers can remove them. A more fool-proof check is to add /wp-admin/ to an URL. If that takes you to a WP login screen, the website was built on WP and if not, you get a 404 error page.
To check a site’s theme, WP version and plugins used, there are online tools available, like isitwp.com, WordPress Theme Detector, WWPTIT or Scan WP. Or you can install Google Chrome extensions like WP Theme and Plugin Detector or Sniffer to take a peek.
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