I love WordPress. No question. No apologies. I’m a huge fan of the CMS use it every single day. But as I write this I find that I must make a distinction. My first inclination is to write all about the many reasons that I love WordPress. However, the topic this week is why we use WordPress. Subtle difference but does significantly impact the content of today’s post for me.
If I were to write about why I love WordPress I’d probably spend a lot of time describing the amazing community behind this platform and the open source philosophy among other things that personally resonate with me. But that will have to be the focus another day.
Today, I’ll focus more on the practical reasons that I, a business owner and web services provider, have chosen to use WordPress exclusively for all website related projects.
Just for the sake of reinforcing my position, I’ll first make it clear that I have not always used WordPress exclusively. I began developing websites from scratch some years ago, shortly after taking an Adobe Dreamweaver elective class in college. For some time after I was churning out straight HTML and CSS websites for clients and employers. Along the way I experimented with systems like Drupal, OS Commerce. Cake, Front Page, Blogger, Google Sites, Sharepoint, Magento, Shopify, Joomla, Zen Cart and plenty others besides. Along the way, WordPress kept coming up more and more with clients, employers and in online discussions. I used it originally as the solution for my employer’s blogs but quickly found that it’s capabilities were far more expansive than I realized.
Now, enough intro info, here’s why I actually use WordPress:
WordPress is the most widely used CMS
Check my facts here. WordPress is clearly dominating the CMS market with a 60.4% share at the time of this writing. Now I realize that “everyone else is using it” is not always a compelling argument. But I do believe it is in this case. In technology, having a large user base positively impacts everyone. I’ll break this point up into several sub-points.
WordPress is well supported
Having worked in technology for a while, I know what it is like to work with software providers who don’t have a large user base. I know what it is like to stump the support team because they just haven’t encountered anyone using their software like I am using it. In a massive community like WordPress, that never happens. Everything I attempt to do with WP has been done hundreds if not thousands of times by others before. And if bugs are encountered, they are quickly discovered and squashed on subsequent releases.
The WordPress market is enormous
Because more people are using it, more people are developing for it. There are an incredible number of free and premium themes available for WordPress. There are thousands and thousands of free and premium plugins available for WordPress. There are incredible WordPress focused hosting providers like WP Engine which only serves WordPress customers and does it very well. There are tons of service providers like Sucuri (site security and malware removal) and WP Maintainer (another similar service) which exclusively serve WordPress clients.
And much like the point above, for the most part, a lot of these services and products for WordPress are also very well supported due to the large user base.
WordPress learning resources are available in abundance
It is really easy to learn WordPress not only as a user (I’ll cover that later) but also as a developer. There are countless training sites, blogs, tutorials, forums, videos, books, you name it which are all devoted to teaching you how to use and develop for WordPress. Coming from someone who is 100% self taught, I’ll say that this is incredibly important. I value very highly the extensive articles and tutorials available online that help me do my job better. No other CMS can come close to competing in this arena.
WordPress is pretty darn easy to use
Ease of use is a huge factor for me. Consider the following factors:
- I need to be able to use, understand and develop for the platform
- My employees need to be able to use, understand and develop for it
- My customers need to be able to use it
- Many of my customers are already familiar with it
- Many of my customers come to me because they want a site they can edit themselves
- My employees need to be able to support it
Factors like these and many others seriously impact my decision to use WordPress. I cannot sacrifice any of the above. If my customers all came to me and said “We are already using Sharepoint and we like it” than I would probably be looking more seriously at Sharepoint. Not a single customer has ever said that to me though for any CMS except WordPress and one who liked Shopify. I know many freelance web developers choose their development platform based on their own personal preferences which is fine. For me though, I weigh the preferences of my clients as incredibly important and as such favor the CMS they prefer. WordPress wins hands down.
WordPress is growing fast
Having been in technology for a while, I know that when I have to choose software for my business, I’ll always favor systems that seem like they are vibrant and growing. Anything that appears stale, no matter how great it otherwise may appear, is unlikely to get my vote as a viable option. As such, I like to look at things like:
- How often are updates being issued?
- How active are the forums?
- Is the user base growing?
- Are people actively developing complimentary services and products?
- What kind of support are current users receiving?
Questions like that can tell you a lot. Obviously, I am very pleased with the answers WordPress provides to those and other questions. As stated above, the CMS market share of WordPress is on a steady growth pattern and has been for some time.
I’ve never (yet) had a website project I couldn’t handle with WordPress
I’ve built a lot of websites to date and no two have ever been quite the same. Many of them have been quite advanced in terms of features, functionality and content. Yet I’ve never encountered, or even come close, to a project where I felt I needed something besides WordPress. That is not to say that those kinds of projects don’t exist. I wouldn’t mean to imply such a thing. Rather I am simply stating that I haven’t encountered one.
This may come as a surprise to some and mean nothing to others. For my part, I’m incredibly surprised. Given that WordPress has for a long time been known as a blogging platform and not widely accepted as a viable CMS for business solutions (I was of that mind for a long time), I believe this is an interesting and important point to make.
WordPress talent is easy to find
I’m running a growing business and am always outsourcing work and hiring people as I can. I greatly appreciate the fact that I don’t have to scour the seven seas to find someone who’s capable with WordPress. In fact, I see it appear on more resumes than not. It means I don’t waste tons of time seeking someone with these skills, training them on the basics and then being hesitant to let them go when they don’t work out. Rather I barely have to look at all, training required is minimized and if they don’t work out, I just find someone else. Easy. I love it.
WordPress enables me to do a lot for a little
Recall the abundant marketplace? And the super support? And the easy-to-find talent? Yeah, I use WordPress because it is easy for me to handle whatever project comes my way. If someone is looking for a simple brochure site, I can help them. I can make templated websites, install a great theme and effective plugins and hand over a professional, functioning website. All without exceeding their budget or shortchanging myself. If someone approaches me with a large scale project, I can develop totally custom solutions, integrate with all kinds of services, design something completely unique and hand over a professional, powerful website at reasonable costs.
I hope I’ve been able to shed a little light for you on the reasons behind my choice to use WordPress. Feel free to leave comments with questions or other reasons you may agree or disagree with me. I’d love to hear your thoughts as well.