Top 10 Reasons To Use WordPress.org For Your Website

wordpress-logo-stacked-rgbWe at Computer Courage are huge fans of WordPress.  For the last several years, we’ve programmed 90% of our sites on the WordPress.org platform. WordPress enhances websites at every step of the process: our users to save money, take control over their own sites (add/edit/remove content), incorporate advanced functionality (e-commerce, mapping, user submitted content, etc.) and get better search results.  WordPress.org is simply a stroke of genius, and we take great pride in using it to make beautiful and powerful websites for our clients.  Below is a list of the top 10 reasons we believe in using WordPress.org for your website.  If you are interested in getting professional help setting up or optimizing a WordPress.org website, contact us any time.

1. WordPress is Truly Free and Open Source

Unlike other “free” and “open source” solutions that have hidden agendas, WordPress.org is completely free (learn more) for you, forever.  WordPress doesn’t start charging when you hit a certain size, nor does it close off any of its code to you.  This is one of the less tangible but probably most important elements of WordPress.org’s success.  No fees, no gotchas, no nonsense.

2. Automattic is an Awesome Company, and it Takes Care of WordPress

The more I learn about Matt Mullenweg and his company, Automattic, the more I like them.  These guys write amazing code, protect open source programming, fight spam, host affordable and educational conferences, take security seriously, and seem like genuine nice guys.  I mentioned that WP is open source, but what’s really interesting is that it is commercial open source.  That sounds like an oxymoron but it’s actually a breakthrough.  Many traditional community-based open source projects are not well guided – they end up floundering, splitting into separate projects, or become stale because volunteers are not motivated to work.  Automattic stays on top of their product, steering development in the right direction and constantly updating their product.

3. Plugins Give You More Functionality

Plenty of platforms out there offer plugin functionality, but I’ve never seen a more smooth and thorough implementation than the plugin effort on WordPress.org.  Plugins allow you to add great photo galleries, sliders, shopping carts, forums, maps, and more great functionality.  There’s a searchable, one-click install directory of plugins (think App Store for WordPress).  Their code is riddled with “hooks” that allow developers to add their code to virtually any aspect of WordPress without editing the core.  Look for a few new and important WordPress.org plugins to come from the Computer Courage labs soon!

4. The Visual Editor and CMS are Outstanding

The intuitive, user-friendly backend of WordPress is probably what made it so famous in the first place.  I’ll never remember the relief I felt when I first installed WordPress after a few Drupal experiences.  I always tell my clients, “if you can do it in Word, you can do it in WordPress.”  In fact, with the Paste From Word tool, that statement is more true than you would imagine (this article was written in Word).  WordPress is continually improving its CMS, adding features such as threaded comments, galleries, revision histories, trash, custom post types, and more.  If you haven’t maintained a WordPress site yet, give it a look.

5. Easily Add a Blog To Your Site

How is this number 5 on the list you ask?  WordPress really came to fame for blogging and is still considered by many to be a blog platform.  Even WordPress itself seems to identify with blogging first, as the default configuration is for the home page to be a blog.  Aside from the amazing advances in CMS (see #4 above), the blog functionality is still the best in the business.  With categories, tags, threaded commenting, gravatars, easy theming, widgets, fantastic moderation controls, anti spam solutions, and plugin infrastructure, you can’t find a better blog solution.  Adding a blog to a WordPress site is a great way to attract and involve visitors, and to keep Google paying attention.  If you don’t need a full site, and just want a quick blog, check out WordPress.com.

6. Themes Let You Style Your Site

I tell my business clients every day that their site doesn’t need to “reinvent the wheel” when it comes to design.  We love doing custom web design for our clients, but many of them don’t need it.  We’ve been able to make very beautiful and successful sites by starting from pre-existing themes and doing customizations from there.  Because themes are open source, you can buy or download them and then modify them to your heart’s content.  I have to give special credit to the folks at Elegant Themes who make wonderfully powerful and easy to use themes at a very reasonable price.   Remember, themes are independent from your content, so you can edit or swap out themes at any time and keep your content and functionality in place.

7. It’s Easy to Keep WordPress Secure

WordPress has always bragged about its “Famous 5 Minute Installation”.  Not only is WordPress pretty easy to install (it actually takes 5 minutes if you are handy with your web servers, newbies will have a learning curve), but WordPress is also surprisingly easy to update for security and new functionality.  When a new version is available, WordPress will give you an easy link for a one-click upgrade.  Warning: Computer Courage always recommends backing up your blog before doing an install in case something goes wrong.  Look for backup plugins or techniques first.

8. Google Loves WordPress

At Computer Courage, we focus on getting new customers for our clients via Search Engine Optimization.  Ever since we started doing WordPress.org installs, I noticed a spike in search results.  Over the years I’ve used many valuable SEO plugins such as the All-In-One SEO Pack and Google XML Sitemaps.  But even without these plugins, I always felt like the simple layouts of WordPress, the permalinks, and the easy linking in WordPress would be naturally attractive to Google.  I even heard it straight from the horse’s mouth.  Matt Cutts, the other awesome Matt and the head of Google’s “web spam team” spoke at WordCamp SF 2009 and said it directly – “Google Loves WordPress”.  Edit: After saying this for the last year, I went back and checked.  It turns out I’ve been exaggerating.  He said “WordPress is a great choice” (video and slides here) but still, he goes on to gush about how much WordPress helps you get better results.  We always recommend a conversion to WordPress when doing SEO.

9. WordPress Sites are Accessible

WordPress sites are usually built on relatively simple and accessible technologies.  It’s easy to install on Windows or Linux servers.  It uses all free license server software.  The web pages render in HTML and CSS allowing them to show up on iPhones, BlackBerrys, Android, iPad, etc.  It’s also easy for alternative browsers such as text only browsers (see Lynx) which are excellent for those with disabilities.

10. Your Site Can Grow With You

When you add up a lot of these features, you find that your WordPress site can grow with you over the years.  You can easily upgrade it for new features and security.  You can add a new theme (ma.tt seems to add a new theme most years) without redoing your whole site.  You can add new plugins for enhanced functionality (add e-commerce if your business grows, focus more on search results, add a store finder, etc.)  WordPress.org is used by millions of sites, from the simplest little blogs to huge brand names like the New York Times blog, People, Flickr, and more.  See the WordPress.org showcase.

Have further thoughts on why WordPress.org is or isn’t a great platform for building websites?  We’ve love to hear from you in the comments below.  Thanks for your participation and interest in the web and in WordPress.org.  Finally, if you’re looking for a professional team to put a WordPress.org website together for you, contact us today or sign up for our newsletter.

PS – If Matt or the WP team reads this, hook us up with a VaultPress beta – we can’t wait to get our hands on this!

62 Responses to “Top 10 Reasons To Use WordPress.org For Your Website”

  1. do the search engines prefer if you have your own host or does it really matter? I was under the impression they did, but seems you say the opposite in your post?

  2. Hye Beddome says:

    This is really a great list you have compiled here. Good to know for pros as well as newbies to WordPress

  3. Dave Doolin says:

    This is a great list!

    One of my guest post authors wrote one of these last fall, but his 10 reasons are different.

    WordPress is going to rule the internet within a few years. I’m sure of it.

  4. Dejan says:

    :)
    ma.tt/2010/07/10-reasons-for-wp

  5. @4: WordPress already rules the Internet, what are you talking about?

    Not to crash the party or anything, but just to clarify on the open-source-ness: the Akismet and Gravatar plugins are open-source, but the actual spam-fighting and avatar-serving stuff is closed-source and runs on Automattic’s servers. They’re pretty nice about it and really are the best in the business, but their services are proprietary.

  6. Jojo Esposa says:

    I am a web accessibility advocate and expert in the Philippines. I head the Philippine Web Accessibility Group. I am very much impressed by WordPress Accessibility features. Hooray for WordPress!!

  7. Jermaine says:

    I use WordPress for all my sites. My current website, Rap Tweets, uses WordPress as a CMS. And within that site is a “blog”–a blog within a blog! This is possible through WordPress programming–something you forgot to mention too. It’s very easy to customize WordPress using programming functions.

  8. Chris M says:

    Good list, I guess if we put our minds to it, we could create one listing 50 reasons :)

  9. Hikari says:

    WordPress is very simple to develop upon and yet powerful and flexible. Today I believe it can fit needs of 90% of all website related to managing content, and may grow to 95% in the future.

    It’s not perfect, it’s victim of wrong decisions and limits customization possibilities because of behaviors that come from when it was a simple blogging engine. But regarding stuff we can do with it, we can do it much easier with WordPress.

  10. If anyone decides to go forward with making that list of 50 – let me know – I’ll be happy to chime in! Here’s one: Anything is possible with WordPress – as a developer you never will have to tell a client that their site can’t do something…

  11. Shahab khan says:

    I have been using WordPress for the past 3-4 years and i really like this CMS. Its really awesome. Hats off to matt for providing this great blogging software

  12. Unlike other “free” and “open source” solutions that have hidden agendas, WordPress.org is completely free (learn more) for you, forever. WordPress doesn’t start charging when you hit a certain size, nor does it close off any of its code to you.

    Almost none of the CMSs that are known as open source do this. All the major competition for WordPress is open-source (Drupal, Joomla etc); they are less easy to set up than WP but no less open-source. Which ones are you talking about? Perhaps pMachine Free and the commonly-used version of Movable Type, but how popular are these now? And there is an open-source version of MT.

  13. Wendy says:

    I go spreading the love of WordPress all the time.

    It is super easy to install on Windows servers, but depending on the host there may be issues using an .htaccess file which can bugger up plugins that need permissions changed. While some hosts will give root access and allow changes others insist that you email them with each of the specific changes– which is frankly more of a people management issue than a CMS or OS issue.

    Of course, that would be a problem with most CMSs on Windows servers– but my point is really that WordPress is a dream on Linux. I love that I can set up a fully functional customized site in less than an hour for my clients (many of which are used to waiting days and even weeks for a single manual update for the old html sites.)

  14. I really enjoyed reading your article, and it passed some time at the end of my shift :)

    Thanks
    Moddish

  15. Hi CC,

    we too at Integrati Marketing are fans of the WP CMS and we love how easy it is to get our customers trained up and using the WordPress CMS.

    Our customers love using this CMS and no longer find the idea of creating and posting their own content ‘scary’ in fact it is so easy they too become advocates for WP!

    Keep up the great posts and work, love the WordPress community, love WordPress!

    Kind regards, team Integrati marketing.

  16. webunique says:

    WordPress is best

  17. Ypho says:

    Enjoyed your article. WordPress is truly a Google friendly system, nut there are other search engines as well. But I guess they love wordpress too.

  18. I’ve been stuck on blogger but might have to reconsider now.

  19. Micah says:

    Over the past year I have been switching all my sites to word press. In fact, I’m switching one client’s site from Joomla at the moment and will continue on the WordPress train. Woo Woo!

  20. Shawn says:

    Thank you thank you thank you for including accessibility in your top 10, especially in a way that points up the advantages to other user groups (such as mobile device users) when sites are accessibly designed. Awesome.

  21. Lawrence lai says:

    I blog a lot with LOTS of text so I think wordpress would be a very good choice for me. Right now I am using weebly on fatcow and it sucks because fatcow (or weebly) gauges you when you don’t use weebly on the weebly site itself. You pay 3.99 a month for pro features on weebly’s site. You pay 9.95 for a month for the ‘premium’ features on fatcow and then another 2.95 a month for shopping cart functionality which is free on the weebly site to begin with. Plus, the fatcow weebly builder lacks a lot of features weebly’s actual site has. You pay $13/mo on fatcow’s weebly and get less features than paying $4/mo on weebly’s actual site.

    And apparently it’s not so easy to move your site from fatcow’s weebly to the actual weebly. They say you can’t do it without having to redo your blog and remake your whole site.

    That’s why I will probably move to wordpress. It’s free, except for the webhost, and I already have one so yeah, I think I will pick wordpress. Why even go with weebly when wordpress offers everything but hosting for free? Why pay 3.99/mo for pro features on weebly, plus the cost of a domain, when you could use the 3.99/mo for a webhost which provides a free domain and other handy tools, and then just use wordpress which is free. So yeah, weebly was really handy and useful, and is actually still a really good site, especially if you want something completely free (no domain, no pro features) and simple to use since it’s just drag and drop, but I think I need wordpress now.

    (Also you can’t back up your blog on weebly, though they let you download your files on a zip file. WP let’s you download the whole site, blog and database included.)

    Wow, I wrote a lot. I should copy and paste this to my blog.
    Visit Lawrence-Lai.ca for anyone interested.

  22. This is very true though, also wordpress can provide you with tools to make a very decent website without having any coding knowledge at all.

  23. Adi says:

    That’s why I used wordpress. Although u are a beginner you can maximize the function for blogging or make a website

  24. Wald says:

    Great Post, there might be other reasons, but it’s enough for me :)

  25. Selena Gomez says:

    I use a custom CMS on my blog, but have worked with WordPress in the past. It’s a great platform, but can be bulky sometimes. This is why I switched. However, for the masses it’s the obvious choice!

  26. Fren Dee Bee says:

    I’ve been using WordPress for a while now, and it’s really a great script for building a website easy! Thanks for this top 10 list, it made me even appreciate more it’s importance.

  27. Terence says:

    Great advice, Thanks for sharing this top 10.

  28. navin says:

    thanks a lot its enjoyfull

  29. Jan Harrison says:

    Since we have moved onto wordpress we have seen big movement on our hits – especially by using the Yoast SEO Plugin!!!

  30. I currently use a wordpress.com page. I was wondering

    1) Is it better for SEO customizing with .org than WordPress.com doing it itself.

    2) Is there more potentiol from earning from adverts.

    3) I heard CSS is entirely free

    4) migrating data to the new site without the copied information effecting SEO results for duplicate information

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