WordPress is one of the most popular platforms for websites in the world. Sure, it absolutely dominates the blogosphere, but around a quarter of the web is powered by WordPress. That’s of the entire web, not just blogs. What makes it so popular? Here’s a few ideas.
Free and Open Source
For such a powerhouse, the price tag is amazingly low. The basic WordPress platform with no plugins or premium themes is free. It’s supported by an active open source community and continues to evolve. Open source means lots of brains are knocking up against the code and making improvements. Problems get identified and people who are interested in solving those issues get to work on it, thereby improving the platform for all users.
WordPress is surprisingly easy to learn and to use. Most web hosting companies have a one click installation process to get you started. And there’s more than just one set of instructions on how to make a WordPress website out there. There are hundreds if not thousands. You don’t need an in-depth knowledge of software development. Since you don’t have to touch the code.
Themes and Plugins
So does that make it a one size fits all solution? Not really. The basic look and feel of a site can be controlled using themes. Change the theme and you change how the site behaves, how it appears to visitors. That’s before you start customizing the theme to meet your particular requirements.
Plugins do the same thing but for functionality. Add a few of the thousands of plugins available and they teach your old site to do new tricks. Plugins to add or enhance functionality exist for a huge range of features, from SEO to forms to spam monitoring. If there is something your site needs to do, there’s a good chance a plugin exists to help. And a big portion of those are free.
Right out of the non-existent box, WordPress has good core security. But not everyone thinks it is enough. You remember plugins? There are plugins to beef up your security, adding another layer of protection to your site. A few more of these cost you money, but security is less of a single function add on and more of a long term updating service. Those tend to need paying.
Another built in feature is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) support. There are many features and switches built right in, but again, you can add plugins. SEO plugins for WordPress give you a powerhouse presence on the web, making the Googles of the net love you even more.
There are so many users, and so many developers, and so many experts, finding help out of the web is pretty easy. There are many communities built up around supporting each other. You can find fast, friendly answers to practically any question in these groups.
Flexible Enough to Create Any Website
While WordPress was originally designed for blogs, now it can support the construction of any type of website you like. E-commerce sites, membership sites, social networks, or company intranets all can be powered by WordPress.
Easy to Customize
With the ability to change themes and the vast array of controls both in WordPress itself and included with any plugins you might add, customization options are huge. And you can change the settings without touching the code at all. What could be easier?
As the web becomes even more visual, support for video and audio content is important. WordPress supports multimedia additions to your site with no trouble.
Easy Integration with other Services
With the huge customer base WordPress users represent, other services and applications make it easy to use WordPress in conjunction with them, and in turn WordPress adds easier support for those services. No one wants to be left out.
Continues to Improve
And WordPress continues to evolve, grow and change. As new technologies arrive, it’s important for them to be integrated, either into the core code base or by new plugins. The developers who work on it are enthusiastic and want to keep WordPress at the top of the heap. This benefits everyone and generates even more support and usage, a virtuous cycle.
With so much usage of WordPress around the web, it represents a huge customer base. And that means there is a wide field for other companies to service those customers. Having all of the options available due to a thriving market attracts even more customers to use WordPress. And with so many clamoring for it to get better, even such a winning product can improve. It’s really no wonder WordPress stands so tall.
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