CMS love: 5 reasons why we (and millions of others) love WordPress
By Tiffany Meyer and Michelle Drumm
It’s open source, period
Now that content managed websites are more the norm than they used to be (sites that allow non-technical staff to manage content easily in-house), the new debate is whether to choose a proprietary, hosted CMS platform (like Square Space or Wix.com) or an open-source platform (like WordPress or Drupal, available for free to anyone).
The primary reason we love WordPress is because it uses open source code. That means it’s available to the public for use or modification free of charge. No single entity owns it. What’s also great about open source is that it allows for complete creative autonomy for developers to continually enhance and adapt the code for today’s ever-changing website needs. This has encouraged a global crowd-driven WordPress developer community where enhancements are continually discussed, built and shared with the rest of the world.
The biggest risk with a proprietary or hosted web platform is that you can’t take the code with you if you decide you no longer want to work with the solution you hired, or if (aghast) that third party service suddenly goes under. In fact, if you want to go in a different direction, you’ll need to re-build your website from the ground up. And while we love Wix.com too (this site is built using it), that risk would mean a pretty expensive hiccup for a small business or nonprofit.
Customize or not, it’s your choice
Due to the open source, crowd-driven nature of the WordPress developer community, there are thousands of website and blog templates, as well as ready-to-go plugins for virtually any type of website—some are free, others are sold at a nominal fee. If you have a low budget, you can use one of these market-tested templates to get online within a few days.
But sometimes your creative vision demands a completely customized solution. WordPress can accommodate that too. In many cases, a custom design can also be matched with ready-to-go content management plug-ins that create a happy medium between your demand for a high-end, unique look and the reality of your modest budget.
It’s scalable to grow with your business
As your business or nonprofit grows or changes over time, it’s important to have a website that can change with it.
Because of the simplicity of its core structure, and the myriad of functionality plug-ins available, WordPress is extremely scalable. Add a blog. Build out a new, searchable media library. Add intake forms. Reconfigure your site navigation. Move from a single page site to a multipage site. Incorporate an e-commerce system—the list goes on and on. Rather than rebuild your site from scratch, you can adapt your site incrementally.
It actually IS layman-friendly
The value of any content management system is in how easily your site content CAN be managed by non-technical staff in-house. If every change still requires help from a developer, you’ve missed the point. The administrative side of WordPress is highly intuitive, easy to navigate, and it makes publishing and editing content extremely simple.
Do you share site management responsibilities across a team? No problem. WordPress allows you to set up different access levels to accommodate a variety of contributors (and avoid stepping on one another’s toes)—from complete oversight administrators to blog editors and page content authors.
It makes “getting found” a little easier
Every WordPress site or blog is already optimized for search engines out of the gate. In fact, search engines love WordPress a little more than the average site for a variety of reasons.If you need to boost your search engine optimization even further (including adding title, description and image tags), there are SEO plug-ins you can quickly add to your site to accommodate.