Did you know that 1/3 of the top 10 million websites in the world are powered by WordPress? And the number keeps growing!
Not at all bad for a tool that started purely for bloggers around 2003. WordPress and blogging got so closely connected in those early days that to many people, even a decade later (which in Internet years is like a century), WordPress is still for blogging.
“I’m not going to blog, so I need a real website platform.”
Okay, you aren’t going to blog. Check. Real website platform. Check. How about WordPress? It’s definitely real.
I began using WordPress in 2008. Because I started a blog. To go with my html coded website.
More than a blog
I soon concluded that if WordPress could run a blog, it could surely run a whole website as well. After all, a blog is just a bunch of content, stored in a database and dynamically presented in some predetermined order, while also allowing you to search and find any one piece of content.
Early attempts at using WordPress as more than a blog, ,often didn’t really look like a website. Still felt and smelled like a blog.
I wasn’t satisfied with that and dove into web design as well as data structures to create WordPress websites that looked like a website, with many pages of content, but where all that content was served up from a database, making it easy to update and maintain the website.
To me, this was the future of websites. Because it’s all about being able to replace, update or add new content quickly and on a regular basis on a website. After all, visitors come to the website looking for relevant content that will help solve their need.
I wasn’t the only one. Many others started building full websites in WordPress.
1/3 of the web runs on WordPress
Fast forward to today. 33.4% of the top 10 million websites run on WordPress. Most of those are not strictly blogs. Sure, many do contain a blog (or news/updates section). But their primary function is to be a website. To connect their owner with an audience online. To sell products. To raise funds for nonprofits. To provide services.
It’s way past time to drop the idea that WordPress is for blogs only.
Best choice for powering your website
In fact, given that WordPress is so common, here are 5 reasons for why WordPress is the best choice for powering your website, today and tomorrow:
- Continuous development. Just a few months ago, WordPress released a major upgrade. It’s now on version 5. This time the upgrade included a brand new content editor that makes adding new content or editing existing content much easier and intuitive than in the past. The folks behind WordPress are committed to keeping on developing new versions, so we can rely on it being a platform that is current and safe. Which is a big thing in a security-challenged and ever changing world.
- Backward compatibility. I have a website that I built in 2010. It’s still around as an archive and looks just like back then, but it runs the very latest version of WordPress. So I know it’s not going to fall off the internet because of old code. Or be a big security risk.
- You control it. It’s on your server. There are other website tools that advertise how easy it is to build a website on their platform. Which may be true, as long as you fit into the options they give you. Or staying on that server/platform works for you. But what if it doesn’t? What if that company goes away? Then your website is gone too. A WordPress website can easily be moved to another web hosting company.
- Search engine friendly. WordPress at its core is built to play nice with search engines. Likewise, good WordPress themes, are designed to do well on SEO. There are good plugins for taking search engine friendliness even further. Some big companies that sell SEO services and make sure their clients consistently rank top in their niche, solely use WordPress as their development platform. Because it delivers.
- Capable and expandable. Need a simple, one page website? WordPress can do that. Need a website with 100s of pages and different parts of the website presenting themselves as their own little websites? WordPress can do that. Need to run an online training center with logins, courses and student tracking? WordPress can do that.
Plus, the WordPress core has always been, and continues to be, free.
All solid reasons for choosing WordPress as the platform on which to build your website.
And you’ll also know that you’re in good company. 1/3 of the top 10 million websites. Pretty impressive. Especially as the number continues to grow.
Complaints and objections
Here are some of the objections or complaints I hear about WordPress:
WordPress websites get hacked.
Yes it happens. But honestly, all websites are targets for hacking. No matter how insignificant. When WordPress websites do get hacked, it’s often because the site wasn’t running the latest version of WordPress, or user accounts had weak passwords. One is taken care of by regularly updating the website and the other by using strong passwords and maybe adding login authentication for the website. Today, any website, regardless of platform, needs to use security software.
WordPress is complicated to set up.
This can be true from the perspective of the end user. There’s the core to install, then a theme and probably some plugins to customize appearance and functionality and finally content to figure out and place in the right locations. To be fair, any website that has more than one page will share this complexity, regardless of what platform it’s built on. A number of prebuilt solutions that advertise drag and drop ease try to remove this complexity (or at least hide it), but do so at the cost of limiting your design options and by locking you in to their platform.
Writing new posts and other content in WordPress is too complicated.
Maybe. First, it depends on how the site architecture was designed. It’s possible for one page to pull content from multiple posts, articles or widgets. Knowing where all those pieces live can be confusing. Secondly, what has been the standard content editor in WordPress was getting well past its prime. I agree that it was confusing. Fortunately, WordPress recently brought out an entirely new content editing experience, based on blocks. Editing a new post is now much faster, more intuitive and prettier. Likewise, a good page builder can simplify customizing pages on the website, allowing great control of both content and styling of that content.
WordPress websites all look the same.
That might have been sort of true at one time, but certainly not today. First off, there are 1000s of themes that allow customization without having to write any code. Second, a custom built website will truly not look any different if built on WordPress than on any other platform. It will fully reflect the requirements of the organization it is built for. So it will be unique.
A solid website is about content first
At the end of the day, we must not forget that a high performing website is far more about the right content, how that content is organized and the user experience on the website, than it is ever about what platform the website is built on. To put it another way: Despite the promises of some advertising, there is no platform in the world that is going to deliver an awesome website to you or me in 20 minutes, with just drag and drop.
After all, you first have to have something to drag and drop: Content — text and images. For most website owners, that is by far the hardest part. And it has nothing to do with the technology powering the website.
But once we invest a lot of time and effort in creating great content for a website, we surely want it to be built on a platform that will work well, today and in months and years ahead. WordPress is that platform.