Archive for April, 2011
WordPress is the software I recommend and use for all the websites I build for my freelance clients. I’ve used other open-source platforms like Drupal and Joomla!, and while I have nothing against them or the sites and developers that prefer them, I believe WordPress is the best open-source content management option for small businesses, organizations and individuals. In this post I explain why.
First I should clarify that I’m talking about the self-hosted version of WordPress, which is the open-source software package that users download from WordPress.org and host on their own server. There’s another version at WordPress.com, which is a commercial blogging service hosted by Automattic. Both run the same software, but apart from that they’re quite different. (There’s a comparison of the two versions at http://en.support.wordpress.com/com-vs-org/, if you want to know more.)
Here are what I find the major benefits of WordPress to be, and why I think you should consider using it for your website or blog:
WordPress costs nothing more than the time it takes to download the software from WordPress.org and install it on your server. In return you’ll get a powerful, highly functional content management system for your website or blog.
It’s easy to set up and manage
Once you’ve downloaded the software, you can have a functioning website in a matter of minutes, and the WYSIWYG editor makes it easy to publish your content without touching a single line of code.
WordPress is essentially a framework that is meant to be built upon and improved. There is a huge collection of WordPress themes and plugins available for customizing the design and functionality of your site with the click of a button (literally). If you want to change the ‘skin’, or design of your site, simply activate a new theme from the Appearance menu in the dashboard. And if you need to add some extra features like photo galleries, integration with your Twitter feed or Facebook page, or give your site enhanced security, there are plugins that will do that for you.
It can be a website, a blog, or both
WordPress began as a popular blogging platform, but has grown into a powerful content management system capable of managing entire websites, too. Removing the blog from the homepage, or taking it off your website entirely, is simply a matter of choosing the appropriate setting from the dashboard.
It’s search engine friendly
WordPress is built with clean, semantic code that makes it easy for search engines to index your content. It also comes with built in tools such as custom “permalinks” that let you highlight relevant keywords and phrases in your urls, which search engines like too. And many premium themes come with options to add custom page titles and meta descriptions to your posts and pages – both important elements for search engine optimization. And if your theme doesn’t come with these options already, there are several good SEO plugins available that will add this functionality.
It’s well supported
WordPress is open-source software, backed by a massive community of passionate designers, developers and general enthusiasts from around the world who are working to make sure the software only improves with each new release. WordPress is also very well documented, and the support forums are an invaluable resource for finding solutions to problems, as well as getting (and giving) tips and tricks.
What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Got anything to add? Let me know in the comments!