As a website designer, I work with a few different content management systems (CMS). From Squarespace to iPage to Blogger to Wix, there are so many ways to make a smart, useful website for your business.
But if you asked me about my preferences, I’d have to tell you it’s WordPress. The open source website creation tool was created in 2003 and has grown into one of the most popular website platforms out there. When my clients ask me why, I have whole list of reasons for loving it. Here are just a few:
Call me a control freak if you must, but I love the idea of being in charge of my own stuff. When you’re using website builders like Squarespace and iPage, you’re working within their confines. That’s usually fine if you want something dead simple. They are developing products for that sort of audience.
But you’ll also fine that those type of site builders limit what you can do and your control over what you’ve built. WordPress is the best choice for someone who wants to build a website with the right balance of a defined support system and unadulterated freedom.
WordPress is as easy to use as you make it. Users with a wide range of technical knowledge can benefit from it. There are definitely some what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) aspects of building and using WordPress sites. On the other hand, if you’ve got some coding knowledge or the patience to learn the behind-the-scenes stuff, you can go deeper.
I consider cost as a usability factor, too. Using website builders generally means you’re paying for the infrastructure as well as the service. That’s great if you need hand holding 24/7. (Also, there is no shame in needing that hand holding. You’re already great at running your business and no one expects you to be amazing at everything all at once.)
But if don’t need that, you can build a WordPress website with the cost of a domain and the monthly or yearly cost of the hosting. And if you don’t like the price of the hosting, you can always switch to another host with very little hassle.
When clients ask me about starting a new website, I ask them two questions. The first is what they plan to do with the website and the second is whether they have any website skills. If the answers are “something simple” and “not much,” those website builder sites might be the best choice for starting out. And if you’re never getting much further than a couple of photos, a blog post or two, and some contact information, you’ll never need much more than that.
But if the client tells me they are planning for the long haul and for business growth, I tell them to go with WordPress now. They need something that will grow with them over the years. (Sometimes moving from one of those site builders can be a big pain in the butt because they make it so hard.) WordPress not only works with the most simple placeholder one-page site and can handle a huge, sprawling multi-platform website.
WordPress is wildly popular. I know that popularity doesn’t necessarily equal good. However, the more popular your CMS, the more support you will have out there.
WordPress is established as a trusted CMS. It’s constantly being patched, updated, and maintained. Developers want to develop for it because there are so many users and the system is so rich. Designers are creating templates for it for the same reason. Don’t build this beautiful online home for your business only to realize that you’re left out there alone.