What is WordPress – and why you should consider switching to it if you haven’t already

For Context …..

This blog post is written for someone who is new to WordPress.org, is primarily a non-techy, and is considering a longer-term deployment of a web publishing platform.

To Understand What WordPress is …..

If you are brand new to WordPress, you must first understand there are 2 different forms of “WordPress” …..

(1) WordPress.org – which is the free Open Source CMS web publishing platform that you CAN use to download the software to build your own independent stand-alone website.

(2) WordPress.com – which is a free Blogging platform where you only get a free “sub directory” on the main WordPress.com web domain for publishing blog articles – where you CANNOT build your own independent stand-alone website … it also offers some commercial WordPress services.

….. for the purpose of this article, we are only talking about WordPress.org.

Furthermore, to understand what WordPress is, you also need a basic understanding of what  “Open Source” software is, because WordPress is an Open Source software platform – and “Open Source” software has it’s own unique set of quirks and nuances when it comes to customer support & product updates … the following link to a Wikipedia article gives a short primer on Open Source software;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_software

Because WordPress is an “Open Source” platform – this means things like “Customer Support” & “Software Updates” from WordPress.org cannot be guaranteed too be timely nor accurate – this is important to understand when considering WordPress for commercial deployments; because timely professional customer support can really only be guaranteed by yourself or some 3rd party Vendors – and not by WordPress.org itself.

You also need to know that; WordPress.org is also a “Content Management System” (CMS) – if you don’t know what a Content Management System is, it should be fairly self explanatory, it’s basically; a software system to manage the creation, modification, organization, and storage of digital content.

The early history of WordPress is; it was originally developed as a CMS Blogging platform … but has since evolved into a very versatile CMS web publishing platform that supports a extremely wide variety of web publishing functions … in fact; it can easily be argued that WordPress is currently the most versatile & cost effective web publishing platform available today for the masses.

So Who Owns WordPress.org? …..

The WordPress trademark and the WordPress.org domain are owned by the “WordPress Foundation”; https://WordPressfoundation.org … the WordPress Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, whose sole purpose is to ensure that WordPress is freely available, maintained, and developed.

Understanding the Difference Between “WordPress Core” & “WordPress Plug-in” Technology …..

“WordPress Core” is the minimum basic technology bundle needed to run a WordPress website in it’s “most basic” form … “WordPress Plug-in’s” are optional/separate software modules that extended the basic functionality of “WordPress Core” … WP Plug-ins come into 2 primary forms; “Free” and “Paid”.

Some “Advantages” of Using WordPress – In No Particular Order …..

WordPress Advantage 1 – The Most Popular CMS System – And It’s Free …..

WordPress has evolved into the #1 most popular CMS system (by a wide margin) when measured by usage … WordPress currently powers aprox. 61% of all CMS’s; https://w3techs.com/technologies/overview/content_management/all  as measured by W3Techs.com.

WordPress has become so popular, that the 2nd most popular CMS technology (Joomla) only commands aprox. 5% of CMS market share, making WordPress aprox. 12 times more popular than the 2nd most popular CMS technology … this popularity of WordPress has attracted a very large number of people who regularly contribute to the “WordPress Eco-system”, which has created numerous advantages thru critical mass.

In addition to being the most popular CMS web publishing platform; the basic WordPress CMS software package is also free … and you can build a surprisingly powerful WordPress website for free if you pick the right free tools.

WordPress Advantage 2 – Huge Number of Free Software Plug-ins …..

At the time of writing this article, the WordPress.org community has developed/contributed over 54,000 free software plug-ins that are listed for free use on the official WordPress.org website; https://en-ca.WordPress.org/plugins/  … this huge resource of free Plug-ins is unmatched in the CMS market, and gives WordPress publishers an almost unlimited amount of free possibilities to extend the basic functionality of a WordPress website.

WordPress Advantage 3 – Huge Amount of Free Learning Resources …..

Because of the massive popularity of WordPress; there’s a massive amount of free resources on the web for learning WordPress for free … you do not need to go to a College or University and pay thousands of dollars to learn WordPress … if you spend enough time studying free WordPress courses on the internet, you can eventually become a WordPress expert for free, excluding your time cost … many of the best software developers are self-taught.

WordPress Advantage 4 – Huge Number of Professional WordPress Service Providers …..

Because of the overwhelming popularity of WordPress, a huge number of professional WordPress service providers have sprouted up over the years – as a website owner, this means you have alot of choice on potential service-providers, as well as, some pricing power over them ….. conversely, if you choose to build your web site in a much less popular CMS system than WordPress, you may encounter problems finding a good & affordable service-provider fluent in a more obscure CMS technology, especially one that is located locally.

WordPress Advantage 5 – You Own Your Content & it’s Easily Moveable …..

When you produce your own content for a WordPress website; you own that content – and you can relatively easily move your content from Hosting company to Hosting company.

When you produce content on some other CMS platforms, you might not actually own the content, or you might not have the rights to freely move that content to another Hosting company … each CMS platform has it’s own “terms-of-service” – and it’s imperative to fully understand the T.O.S. of a CMS platform and it’s potential long-term ramifications before making a large commitment of time & money into a particular CMS web publishing system.

WordPress Advantage 6 – Recent Advances in 3rd Party Page-Builder Technology …..

There’s been a quiet revolution happening in WordPress over the past few years – and it’s taking place in the “Page-Builder” technology space … Page-Builders are like mini CMS systems, but for a lack of better words, they “sit on top” of the CMS and make the operation of the CMS system more user friendly … a good Page-Builder technology allows for much more rapid customization than what’s found on the core CMS UI – this translates into quicker/lower development & maintenance costs … good WP Page-Builder technology is still in it’s relative infancy, but the leading WP Page-Builder technologies are evolving rapidly.

Some “Dis-advantages” of Using WordPress – In No Particular Order …..

WordPress Dis-advantage 1 – Hacking & Security Issues …..

Due to the overwhelming popularity of WordPress, Hackers have targeted WordPress websites in increasing numbers … this has significantly increased the risk of WordPress websites getting hacked – good security practices for a WordPress website is a “must have” these days.

WordPress Dis-advantage 2 – Free & Open Source “Software” …..

Free is generally good, but with WordPress, free comes with potential cost’s in not so obvious ways; because WordPress is a free & open source system; a number of the free 54,000 plus WordPress Plug-ins contributed by thousands of different people from within the WordPress community – are not regularly maintained, and as a result, some can have compatibility/security issues … a very important skill of a modern WordPress Developer is to understand the complexities of the WordPress Plug-in & Theme Eco-System; to be able too identify & evaluate Plug-ins/Themes for their potential long-term reliability, security, & support issues … choosing the wrong Plug-in or Theme can cost you time & money if your website gets hacked or loses functionality due to technical code issues.

WordPress Dis-advantage 3 – Free & Open Source “Support” …..

Because WordPress is free & open source technology; there isn’t a “reliably expedient” support system for troubleshooting mission-critical problems from WordPress.org … official WordPress.org support is handled thru free documentation found at; https://WordPress.org/support/  … as well as thru free community support forums here; https://WordPress.org/support/view/all-topics/  … reliable mission-critical support for WordPress.org is handled by yourself, or thru private 3rd party companies – which are generally fee-based.

Private 3rd party support for WordPress is complicated by the fact that there is currently no “industry standard” for quality WordPress service & support … the “quality”, “speed”, “reliability”, and “cost” of good 3rd party support for WordPress can vary greatly from company to company …  an important skill of a modern WordPress Developer is the ability too accurately evaluate 3rd party WordPress companies for their quality, speed, reliability, and cost attributes if outside expertise is needed for additional/specialist support.

WordPress Dis-advantage 4 – Information Overload …..

Because of the open-source nature of WordPress & the thousands of people who regularly contribute to the WordPress eco-system; technological changes/advancements in the vast number of WordPress tools & technologies now happen so frequently that it is impossible for a single human being stay up to date with the daily cumulative technological advances in the vast array of WordPress related tools-technologies … this can pose a bit of a challenge for WP Developers were a very limited amount of time is available for keeping track of & evaluating the rapid evolution of WordPress related technological changes.

Conclusion ….

WordPress is a powerful and relatively low cost solution for the modern web publisher … and with recent advancements in WP Page Builder technology, WordPress is becoming an increasingly powerful CMS platform for commercial deployment … backed by a robust 3rd party support eco-system, WordPress can be used as the foundation for a small 1 person website operation, that with a proper plan, can be scaled all the way up for use in a large Fortune 500 company … for a myriad of reasons, it’s my opinion that WordPress is currently the best “overall” commercial solution for modern CMS web publishing.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on google
Google+
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
TheRockSays

TheRockSays

Chief Micro-Manager at WhiteRockWP.com

Leave a Comment