What is WordPress and Why Should You Use It?
WordPress is the most popular website builder and content management system in the world, powering more than 33% of websites around the globe. WordPress is perfect for small business websites, eCommerce stores, restaurant sites, membership sites, and more. Websites like WhiteHouse.gov, the Microsoft blog, and the Rolling Stones official website use WordPress to manage their content and give their users the best experience possible.
What’s The Difference Between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?
The key difference between WordPress.com and WordPres.org is where your website is hosted. With WordPress.com, your website is hosted by WordPress for free, whereas WordPress.org allows you to choose where to host your site.
While the free WordPress.com option might sound nice at first glance, the free version tremendously limits your freedom. On the .com version, you can’t collect payments or sell advertising, severely limiting small business’ ability to make money online. Additionally, the free version does not allow you to create a custom domain, so your website will have the URL yourbusiness.wordpress.com. Another major blocker in using WordPress.com is that you can’t install any plugins or themes to enhance the user experience or functionality of your website. The final major challenge of the .com version is the lack of third-party or native SEO tools to help enhance your site’s content to get better results on search engines like Google.
WordPress is always free. However, hosting your website outside of WordPress.com costs money. There are a lot of really good hosting options available for less than $50 per year. I recommend using DreamHost (cost) or GoDaddy (customer support) to host your website, however, there are a bunch of different players in the market. With WordPress.org, you will also need to maintain themes, plugins, security patches, and the WordPress core to ensure your website continues to function properly while limiting security vulnerabilities. While it might sound daunting, hosting a WordPress.org is cheaper and easier than it sounds. With the .org version you have control over your domain, theme, design, lead generation, SEO, e-commerce, and more giving you complete customization capabilities.
Why use WordPress?
WordPress is Free
As mentioned, WordPress is always free. Whether you’re a blogger trying to get your thoughts into the world, a local business trying to get deals out to customers, or a multi-billion dollar conglomerate, WordPress provides you with a free framework to get started building your brand.
WordPress is Easy to Install
The Famous 5-Minute Install. That’s really all it takes. WordPress.org has a step-by-step guide as does my favorite WordPress resource wpbeginner.com. Additionally, all the major hosting providers offer a one-click WordPress install option, which will be more than sufficient for most personal and business websites.
WordPress is Intuitive
When you first install WordPress, it might seem intimidating, but it’s like riding a bike: training wheels to start, then your parent guiding you down the sidewalk, then you’re doing 720 McTwists in front of 100,000 fans at the X Games. It might take a few minutes to get used to, but it’s very easy to learn on your own and there are a lot of great resources available for beginners and even master WordPress users.
WordPress is Extensible
As it’s the most popular website builder in the world, WordPress has a lot of commercial themes and plugins available to enhance your website. If you search “WordPress themes” in Google, you’ll probably be overwhelmed by the number options. However, that also means your WordPress website can become anything you want it to become.
WordPress is Versatile
On top of the plethora of plugins and themes, WordPress can be used in a limitless number of applications from an e-commerce site for a local small business, to a reservation engine for a downtown restaurant, to a lead generation landing page for a service startup. Within a few minutes, you can completely change the look and feel of your website, while increasing sales and keeping your customers coming back for more.