Are you planning to make a website from scratch but you are not sure where to start? Or do you have a website but you are struggling to manage all of its content? Then you should definitely consider using WordPress as the Content Management System (CMS) for your website. I have used WordPress to setup and maintain multiple websites myself (including this website). In this post I explain the main reasons why you should be using WordPress as well!
WordPress is good for blogging and much more
WordPress started in 2003 and was originally designed as a blogging platform. Since then millions of blog posts have been published worldwide on WordPress. Of course you can still use it for blogging only, but over the years WordPress has evolved into a full content management system. Through thousands of widgets, plugins and themes the functionality of WordPress can easily be extended. This allows you to build fully functional and responsive websites and apps.
But what does this mean exactly? Starting to build a website with WordPress is easy! You first start by installing WordPress (keep on reading below to see how easy this is). Then you choose a theme for your website. A theme can be thought of as a template for your site. Depending on the theme that you choose, your site will either be a blog or a fully functional website including a blog, static pages, a forum, and potentially so much more. Once you have chosen the theme for your website, you can start publishing and managing your content. With a few simple clicks you create a new blog post or static page. Every post or page you create shows up in your WordPress dashboard, allowing you to keep track of and oversight on your website.
WordPress is free and open source
It is completely free. You can download it for free and use it to create any type of website or blog that you would like. In addition, there are thousands of free themes available, that provide you with a website layout to start with.
WordPress is an open source project. This means that it was created by the WordPress community, hundreds of people around the world that helped writing the software code and the supporting documentation. The community is continuously updating the software (meaning that it is much better supported than most of the commercial software that is available for sale). The community updates clearly focus on improving the user experience and follow the latest web standards. There is a ton of free information available on the internet.
WordPress is extremely popular
According to W3Techs, WordPress powers more than 26% of all the websites in the world. This means that there are millions of people that have used it before, resulting in a big online community. Simply type in WordPress in Google, and you will find plenty of websites, discussion boards, and other sources where you can find tons of information on how to use WordPress and where you can get in contact with other web developers and get answers to most of your questions. When you use WordPress, you are not on your own!
WordPress is easy to install and setup
All you need to get started is your own domain name and web host. While you can do everything yourself and manually download and install WordPress, you can also get a hosting plan from a web host that does everything for you, such as SiteGround. They offer easy one-click WordPress installation and other tools that make it very easy to manage your site, such as managed updates (they inform you by email when there is a WordPress update available and even install it for you so that you never have to worry not having the latest version installed), a fantastic support team with extensive WordPress experience that is available 24/7, and so much more. Check out my detailed SiteGround review if you want to know more!
WordPress – full functionality with Themes, Plugins and Widgets
WordPress is super easy to install and get started. In just a few clicks, you can install it, choose a theme and start writing your content. But there is more… WordPress is not only easy to setup, it is also pretty easy to extend its functionality from just a blog or simple website, into a fully functional website that is up to date with the latest web standards and with the latest Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques applied.
Free WordPress Themes
As said before, a theme can be thought of as a general template for your website. It defines what your homepage will look like, where your blog will be situated and how your latest posts will be displayed. As WordPress is so popular, there are literally thousands of free WordPress themes out there that you can choose from!
The best starting point to look for free WordPress themes is the wordpress.org theme directory. The directory allows you to browse through an incredible collection of themes that you can simply download for free and start using on your own website.
When you click on the tab Latest can get a demonstration of the huge amount of available themes. At the moment of writing this article there were more than 4100 themes in the directory.
Of course you don’t have to go through all of these themes to find the one that best fits your needs. The theme directory allows you to filter based on the theme features. The image below shows the features, layout and subject options that you can select to filter out the themes that you are looking for.
Free themes in various categories
If you are looking for a theme for a very specific purpose, let’s say you want to make your own photography website, then you can also directly search for keywords in the search field. For the example of photography, the search results in some great themes.
When you click on a specific theme, you will arrive at the theme overview page, where you find useful information about the selected theme, such as user ratings, latest update date, a general description of the theme and its functionality and information on the available support. The theme overview page also provides a link to a live preview of the theme and a download link to download the theme to your computer (so you can upload it later to your website).
Premium WordPress Themes
The fact that there are so many free themes out there is one of the strengths of WordPress. Still, I would advice you to consider using a premium WordPress theme. A premium theme is a theme that is developed by a professional developer with a strong reputation and that is available for purchase (usually at a low price).
So now you are probably wondering why would I actually pay any money for a premium theme, when there are so many themes that I can just download for free? Basically, like with so many things in life, I would say you get what you pay for – free themes can be great, but they can also have their limitations.
In general, with a free theme, you will spend more time yourself to setup your website and customize the theme to your needs. When you use a premium theme, the theme developer will provide you with support and lots of documentation to help you setting up, customizing and maintaining your theme. This will allow you to focus on creating content for and attracting visitors to your website!
Why you should consider using a Premium Theme
The main reasons to consider using a premium theme are the following:
- The best free themes are used by hundreds or thousands of websites – with a premium theme the look and feel of your site will be more unique.
- The quality and functionality of premium themes is superior – after all the developer needs to deliver quality and support you in the use of his theme in order to protect his reputation and future sales.
- Premium themes are continuously updated and adapted to be compliant with the latest web standards.
- The ROI or return on your investment is very high – you usually only pay a rather low one time fee for the theme, but the time that you save and the increased possibilities that you have in the development of your site are definitely worth it!
If you would like to see real examples of available premium themes, make sure to check out the themes provided by StudioPress. StudioPress builds WordPress themes based on the Genesis Framework – affordable, high quality WordPress themes that just make your life so much easier (this website is based on the Genesis Framework).
Plugins are applications that you can install on your WordPress website. They extend and expand the functionality of WordPress. At the time of writing this article, there are over 47000 plugins available in the WordPress.org plugin directory. In total these have been downloaded more than 1.4 billion times!!
In essence, Plugins allow you to add new functionalities, without having to write code yourself. Due to the high number of available plugins, the range of functionalities you can add is huge. You can add Search Engine Optimization tools, complete forums, contact forms and even complete eCommerce shops.
Getting started with Plugins is really easy. First, you head over to the Plugin Directory on wordpress.org. Here you can search for any keyword you want, or you can scroll through the featured and popular plugins.
For example, if you enter SEO, you get an overview of the most popular SEO plugins. You can immediately see that some plugins are extremely popular. The Yoast SEO plugin has over a million active installs!
When you click on a specific plugin, you get a detailed overview of its functionalities. In this case I clicked on the Yoast SEO plugin.
Here you can then download the plugin to install it on your WordPress website. The download is a zip file that you can upload through your WordPress dashboard.
WordPress allows you to easily add widgets to your website. A widget is a specific section or part of your website where you can add a specific functionality. For example in a sidebar of your blog, you could add a widget that automatically displays all your recent blog posts. This can all be done with a few clicks, no additional coding required from your side!
With WordPress you can easily keep track of all the media files you use on your website
WordPress allows you to easily add multiple media formats such as images, audio files and videos. With a few simple clicks you can upload media files and embed them in your blog posts, pages, etc. Through the dashboard you can also easily track and manage all the media files you have used so far in your website.