What is WordPress?
WordPress is arguably one of the easiest and most powerful website content management system (or CMS) out there today. It’s free to get started with, open source, and has a wide host of capabilities and extensions that take it much further than just a simple CMS or blogging platform. What really makes WordPress great are the vast options of plugins. Plugins are modular bits of software that you can easily download and integrate on your site that add special features, functions, and capabilities.
Many of the plugins are free while others include paid add-ons from third-party developers. In fact, because they make possible such a nearly infinite range of functionality and customization, a well-known saying within the WordPress community is: “There’s a plugin for that.” It’s no exaggeration, considering that WordPress itself hosts a library of over 50,000 plugins. Plugins enable you to sell products online, collect and manage email contacts, and optimize your site for search engines. We break down some of the best WordPress plugins available in a previous post here.
What can WordPress do?
WordPress can do a bit of everything. With plugins like WooCommerce, you can automatically create and set up a fully functional eCommerce store and sell products and handle payments.
With photo processing plugins, you can enhance and publish photography, integrate social media, and showcase your art portfolio.
You can also easily write, manage, and publish content as easily as if writing on a Microsoft Word document. You can even download the WordPress mobile app and start creating content on the go.
Who uses WordPress?
WordPress is not limited to small mom & pop shops, start-ups, and small businesses. Many giant media websites and companies like TIME and CNN also use WordPress.
What do I need to get started?
Although WordPress is free to use, you still need a web server (web hosting) and a domain name. You will also want to get a WordPress theme from websites like ThemeForest. WordPress themes are modular layouts that can be purchased online that dictate what your WordPress website will look and feel like. You can easily swap between themes, say if you’re feeling fancy on day and minimalistic on the weekends, and make edits to purchased themes to better suit it to your needs.
Disadvantages of WordPress
If you’re of a cynical nature and are wondering if we are sponsored by WordPress to say all these great things about them, you’re wrong. It might also seem a bit strange that a web development agency is promoting a website builder tool that would seemingly run us out of business and automate our work. This is where the ugly truth comes out about WordPress.
Considering the modular nature of both the plugins and themes in which WordPress relies much of its extensibility from, WordPress users are at the limits and mercy of the theme and plugin creators. Most often than not, to unlock that special function you really want from your plugin, you’ve cough up some dollars. Want to modify your theme to look this way and not that or perhaps a new element on the website that isn’t there yet? You’re going to need to either code it yourself or hire a web developer.
While WordPress is a great tool to build a initial website to help you and your business gain some traction, when you start growing, you will start to see the limitations of what it can do out of the box and that’s where you will need web experts to help make those customizations and enhancements you need. Also, as your project or business scales and grows in complexity, so do the number plugins and frameworks that your site relies on. It’s a common right-of-passage for a WordPress developer to fix their badly malformed and destroyed website because after running a WordPress update before checking to see if the theme and the plugins are compatible with it first.
Now imagine you’re not technical expert and you accidentally update something or if something just breaks (as it often does in the software world), who are you going to turn to? No matter how great WordPress is, there will always be a need for WordPress developers to handle this side of your business. While you can certainly learn to do it on your own, should you? Well yes, but you’ve got a business to grow and run. You don’t have time to deal with small technical issues regarding your website. Outsource that stuff and focus on making your business thrive!