Why We Use The WordPress CMS
WordPress! If you’ve had any web experience at all (and even if you haven’t!), you’ve probably heard of it. It’s pretty ubiquitous, and there’s good reason for that. At Digital Reach Agency, we love WordPress. We’re experts in it, and most of our sites are built on it! Now you’re probably wondering why. What makes it stand out? Well first, I have to explain a couple of things.
What is a CMS?
WordPress is a Content Management System, which means that it exists to help you create and manage the content on your site. Generally CMSs will have what we call a “backend” or admin area that you can log into to update the content for your site. All of your web pages will have to be updated manually without a CMS. This is not user friendly, even for a developer, and can lead to a lot of content conflicts and consistency issues.
There are lots of CMSs that have popped up over the years, including Joomla, Drupal, ezPublish and Squarespace. The scripting language PHP is what many of these CMSs are built on. PHP can add variable and functions to the backend of your website that allows it to pull your content from where you input it, and display it on to the appropriate pages. A lot of these CMSs look pretty similar to a Microsoft Office program, and the best are self explanatory, requiring no experience to use.
But let’s talk about WordPress some more
Now that you have an idea of what a CMS is, we can talk about why WordPress is the best choice to use. It certainly has a lot going for it, and right now sits on 60% of the market share for CMSs, and about 30% of all websites now run on WordPress. Obviously people like it, and if it’s working for them, then will it work for you? Following is a list outlining why I think it is the best CMS to choose for your website.
#1 WordPress is free
Anyone can go download WordPress for free. The code is all open source, which means that it’s open for anyone to use and modify as they wish. There is no fee for using the vast amount of functionality that it comes with. And what if it doesn’t do something you need? What if you want to be able to duplicate posts? You want people to sign up for your newsletter and have Mailchimp to handle that automatically? For that, we’ll move on to the next point.
#2 There are a ton of plugins
Plugins add functionality to your CMS. Almost any time you need extra pieces in your site, there’s going to be a plugin for it. According to WordPress, at the time I write this article, there are 54,320 plugins available. So what plugins are out there? Well here are some of our favorites:
Yoast SEO: This plugin helps us generate meta content for SEO purposes. With it, we can customize the meta so that search engines have an easier time displaying our pages to the right people.
Advanced Custom Fields: This plugin extends the backend so that we can make custom fields for our users to input content. This helps us greatly to make good, user friendly, custom templates.
SVG Support: This plugin allows us to upload SVG images to the website. This helps us upload clear vector graphics instead of pixel based images, so that your graphics look clean on the largest of screens.
That’s just a few examples, but you can see why these plugins are useful.
#3 WordPress is very user friendly
Working in a CMS may seem like it’d be intimidating, but WordPress makes it very easy. Just about anyone who can use Word can use the backend with ease. Everything is in a logical place, and editing the content within the WYSIWYG editor is a breeze.
The backend menu is easy to navigate, and pretty self explainatory.
#4 WordPress is super customizable
Need an ecommerce website? WordPress can do that. Need a portfolio site for your photography business? WordPress can do that. Need a fleshed out learning system with class content behind a login screen? WordPress can do that too. Thanks to the customizable nature of the code, and the fact that there are so many versatile plugins out there, WordPress can fulfill pretty much any website need.
It is already set up out of the box to help you with your Search Engine Optimization. The CMS naturally organizes your content into pages, blog posts, blog categories and tags. Your permalinks are set up for you in an SEO friendly format, and WordPress allows search engines to crawl your content by default. Even more compelling is the aforementioned plugins. There are tons of SEO enhancing plugins to choose from to give your site a search engine boost.
#6 WordPress is always getting more accessible
With every update to the platform, accessibility is improved. It is not 100% adherent to the WCAG accessibility guidelines out of the box, but as developers, we are well set up to make it so. Many accessibility features, like the ability to add alt tags for images, are already included. However, much of the accessibility responsibility falls on the people creating the website. The CMS cannot force users to use high contrast colors, or to use semantic HTML while inputting content. Again, there are plenty of plugins that make accessibility easier to obtain, and many pre-made themes are built to be accessible.
#7 There is a lot of documentation – officially and unofficially
WordPress.org is full of helpful documentation for the CMS. With a little searching, almost any problem can be solved. The Codex has comprehensive documentation on the PHP bones behind the CMS. Developers can learn about any variable or function that they may need to from there. They also have documentation for basic use of the CMS for non-developer users. Beyond the official documentation are many sites and books that have more information. Even some online coding schools, like Team Treehouse, have WordPress specific courses for web developers to learn.
#8 WordPress is regularly updated (and so is the security)
The WordPress developers are constantly updating the CMS. Bugs are fixed, new features are added, and security is tightened. It’s very beneficial to make sure your site is up to date with the latest version.
#9 Beyonce uses WordPress
This is a no-brainer. All hail Queen B!