WordPress celebrated its tenth birthday this year. Since its conception in 2003, it has exploded across the web, becoming the most popular CMS and blogging platform available.
You may be tempted to use WordPress when setting up your company website – it’s undeniably a popular platform. However, there are some important things to consider before choosing it over another option. Here are a list of advantages and disadvantages to help you decide whether WordPress is right for your business.
- Not everyone knows how to code, and the thought of creating a website can be incredibly daunting. However, with WordPress, you don’t need to know how to program to have a professional-looking website, and most hosting packages include a one-click install option. WordPress has a series of ready-made themes which are essentially design templates, and with recent WordPress updates the style can tweaked and previewed from within the dashboard. Themes provide a layout for your site, and you simply add in your written information.
- You can also install plugins, tools which expand what your website can do without the need to code yourself. Plugins can do virtually anything – from automatically sending a thank-you email to people who comment on your site, to providing an updated weather forecast.
- WordPress is an open source service – anyone can play around with the software, making their own changes and improvements. This means that there are countlessthemes and plugins freely available for users on the web. As WordPress is such a popular platform, lots of people develop content for it, so it’s relatively easy to find an original, professional-looking theme for your site which can easily be customised to your own business.
- WordPress itself is completely free to use. It’s one of the cheapest ways to create a website, and this has contributed massively to its popularity. If you want your site to succeed, you’ll inevitably incur a few costs – such as a domain name and hosting – but on the whole it’s a low-cost solution for small businesses which need a professional-looking website.
- It’s easy to make changes to content. The chances are with a regular HTML site you would have to contact your web developer every time you want to update the site – which means you probably won’t do it very often. With WordPress, it’s simple to add new content yourself, meaning you’ll probably update more often – which is ideal for keeping the site up to date.
- A common problem with Content Management Systems such as WordPress is the creation of duplicate content. This is an unwanted consequence of using tags and categories, and can affect your search engine ranking. If you use WordPress, be sure to install an SEO plugin, which can remove the duplicate content for you if you do not want it.
- Another issue with WordPress is security. It may be the most popular blogging service on the web – but this means it’s also the most popular blogging service with hackers. As the software is open source, it’s relatively easy for people to search for, find, and exploit vulnerabilities. Plugins can also be risky, as they can be developed by anyone on the web – including people with bad intentions. When installing plugins, make sure that they’ve come from a reputable source, and have been designed with security in mind.
- Looking after a WordPress site can be surprisingly time-consuming, especially if you use lots of plugins. Both WordPress itself and plugin developers regularly release updates, which need to be installed. It’s important to keep on top of these updates, as they often address security issues – remaining with an older version of software leaves your site vulnerable and open to attack. However, many WordPress sites have a large number of plugins, and it’s all too easy to neglect them.
- As mentioned above, WordPress itself is a free service, and it can be a cheap way to run your own website. However, there are plenty of opportunities to incur large costs, which users need to be wary of. Some companies might want to have a highly customised theme and functionality for their site, rather than choosing the pre-existing options found online. However, hiring a designer to do this can be very expensive. It’s also tempting to hire someone to manage your site for you – particularly if you don’t feel you have the time to keep up with security changes. However, this can rapidly become eye-wateringly expensive.
On the whole, WordPress is an ideal platform for small businesses looking to create their own website. It’s easy to create a professional-looking site, and the core software itself is very secure. However, it’s important to do your research before getting stuck in. Make sure you understand how to optimise your site for SEO – or install a plugin which can do it for you. Check the source of any plugins before adding them to your site, and set aside some time each day to check for and install updates.
Shawn Hunt is the Director at Broadband Wherever a company that specializes in the installation of high speed satellite internet solutions.