WordPress is an excellent CMS for most types of businesses
There are many options for building a website and content management systems or CMS you can use. It can be confusing because there are many options like Joomla, Drupal, Webflow, and sites to do it like Squarespace. Each of these tools is developed to make building a website easier and more accessible, but you need to choose one that suits your needs.
First of all, you should know that WordPress was developed in 2003 and has more than 30% of websites worldwide. Here are some notable companies using WordPress: Sony Music, Time Magazine, Wired Magazine, Disney, and the list goes on.
WordPress statistics for 2021 are impressive:
- 62% of the top 100 fastest growing companies in the United States (Inc. 5000) use WordPress.
- More than 500 new websites are created daily using the free version of WordPress.org.
- Seventy million new blogs appear every month.
- There are currently over 455 million websites using WordPress!
Fact or fiction?
On the topic of which CMS you should use, there are many competing articles and some information that bends the truth a bit, depending on the author. Each author publishes the CMS they use, as I do here — spoiler alert, we're WordPress fans. It's always a good idea to see where the source is coming from to make an educated decision when choosing the right CMS. Some authors will tell you that the CMS they use is the "end all, be all" because they want you to use the CMS, or they're writing content for a company that wants you to use their CMS product.
You can read that PHP, which WordPress uses, is dying. It is not dying now or at any time in the foreseeable future. You may also read that coders love a particular CMS because they are better for SEO or because they load faster. This topic can be a bit subjective. Let's get into why.
How it's built matters
The way a site is built will determine these factors regardless of the content management system you use. Your most significant limitation is not knowing what you're doing to mitigate any issues that might cause a site to be slow or poorly searchable. This is why it is essential to contact a web design agency or have an experienced internal resource. One that can optimize a site to load quickly and make sure it's searchable based on the product or service you provide.
Design is king
Our creative agency uses WordPress because it allows us to do what we do best — design. Our builder of choice is Divi by Elegant Themes. Think of Builder as the steering wheel and WordPress as the engine of the car. But don't mistake constructors for templates. They are two approaches to achieving the same result: building a website.
We use what's called a visual builder so we can design websites from scratch. The visual builder is a sophisticated design tool that allows us to create uniquely branded websites.
If you're just starting out, you can use a template to build your site. A template is more plug and play, but requires some basic knowledge of WordPress. Frankly, if you're using a WordPress template there's no reason to have a Squarespace or Wix site. There is a learning curve for both, but WordPress will give you more options, especially if you want to make your website more sophisticated in the future.
Every CMS I've listed will do the job and will be built on stable platforms. However, we believe that WordPress gives us the most flexibility. The visual builder gives our top designers everything we need to make a nuanced website that is 100% unique to our client's brand. WordPress also offers scalability with all available extensions without having to write custom code. Imagination is the only road block, so the sky is the limit when using WordPress.
Widgets are great for scalability
Plugins (or widgets, in English) should be used wisely. It's true that too many extensions can slow down a website. However, plugins can also open up a world of possibilities. They can achieve what would take a coder hundreds of hours to see with just the click of a button.
Let's say you started a business a year ago and built a basic WordPress website. Your business has grown and now you need to scale it to provide member subscriptions, member management, registration/login and more.
Well, there is a professionally programmed plugin that does just that.
Of course, there is a learning curve to setting up any plugin because everyone has different needs, but you don't need to pay a coder for hundreds of hours to make something from scratch. Any website functionality you can think of has probably already been done. We've used extensions to power e-commerce, sophisticated planners, membership subscriptions and more.
Only plugins that are vetted and regularly updated are used. Some plugins are free, but we find that the best plugins are usually paid.
"Responsive" on all devices
Most content management systems are cross-platform capable because of the responsive architecture they're built with — it's almost a given these days. Designing for every device is much easier now because many of the themes that WordPress supports do a lot of the heavy lifting while you're developing. The platform brings elements to every screen size as it builds. However, you will need to modify the design for each device because the landscape is different between desktops and phones. Although they won't always be exactly the same, you can create the same brand experience for each device. Consistency is key!
Server and optimization
Hosting can be one of the biggest performance issues. The two biggest options are shared hosting and cloud hosting. There are many attractive offers for shared hosting plans that might sound too good to be true and probably are. Don't sacrifice performance for price. Bad hosting can be a big contributor to poor performance. With shared hosting you will take a portion of a server that is populated with many other websites, thus sharing resources of that server.
Cloud hosting is a network of connected virtual and physical cloud servers. The cloud ensures greater flexibility and scalability for your website. It also means your website won't be bogged down like it might be with a cheap shared hosting plan. Cloud hosting will provide better performance which will make your site load faster. We use SiteGround's Google Cloud hosting service with built-in caching capabilities. Optimizing your website speed is crucial for good UX and conversion. Seconds matter, because a slow website will be less likely to convert.
You'll need to update WordPress regularly to keep everything running smoothly. Many web hosting companies now offer the ability to make automatic updates as they become available through your C-Panel. Or you can choose to work with a WordPress developer who will handle all your hosting and maintenance needs. Professional agencies make sure everything is optimized and parameters are continuously tweaked to improve the performance and health of your website. Maintaining a WordPress website is easy if you just set a time to do it.
Keep it safe
First, I would start by choosing a reputable hosting company that offers some form of two-step authentication. We host a number of sites for our customers and have never been hacked. For the most part, WordPress is secure on its own.
Plugins can create vulnerabilities if they are poorly coded or not updated regularly. As we mentioned above, this is why we generally only use payment plugins from well-known and trusted entities. There are several security solutions for WordPress. One that is commonly used is the WordFence. They have been in the industry for a long time and have a proven track record. The other option is a CDN-based security tool like Securi. Not only do you get security, but you'll also get a speed boost because it runs on a CDN network.
Search engine optimization
Implementing basic SEO on a new WordPress website couldn't be easier with the right extension. You'll need to know a few basics, like how to navigate your WordPress dashboard, but from there, most plugins will walk you through the process. We use Rank Math because it provides everything we need for basic SEO implementation and how you want your website to appear in search with structured data with tools like: title description, keyword placement, tagging, metadata and month.
Good SEO plugins come with internal link suggestions, which helps Google contextualize what you're doing. SEO plugins will lay the groundwork for you, but there is another level that can be done by a specialist Search Engine Optimization agency. SEO is a long game unless you use paid advertising to get to the top of the organic search page.
WordPress is an excellent CMS for building your website. It allows a level of creativity limited by one's own imagination. You can scale your website as your business grows. You'll never have a problem finding someone to help you with WordPress because it works with more than 30% of websites around the world. There's no shortage of third-party developers who are creating new technologies specifically for WordPress — it has its own ecosystem. We have been using WordPress together with the Divi Visual Builder for the past six years. We are impressed every year by the improvements that allow us to make more sophisticated designs with an ever-expanding list of capabilities.
If you need a professional web design agency to start your new website, don't hesitate and contact us.