What is WordPress?
And why is WordPress one of the most popular website building platforms on the internet?
To understand why WordPress is such a useful and popular platform, we first have to understand what it is. So here goes!
What Is WordPress?
WordPress is an open source content management system (CMS) that allows you to easily create dynamic websites. Don’t worry if that doesn’t mean anything to you yet; it didn’t mean anything to me either!
Let’s get a little more techy with 4 basic things you should know about WordPress…
- WordPress allows you to create dynamic websites: First, let’s elaborate on the part where I mentioned dynamic websites. There are generally two types of websites: static and dynamic. If you want to know more about this topic, click here.
- WordPress uses both server-side and client-side scripting: WordPress lets us create dynamic websites using server-side (back end) and client-side (front end) scripting. If you want to know the difference between server-side and client-side scripting, click here.
- WordPress is an extremely popular content management system: WordPress is a Content Management System. Click here to read more about why using a CMS means that you don’t really need to know much about anything else technical. I also had a look a few other CMS platforms and the pros and cons of using them.
- WordPress is open Source: Being open source is what helps WordPress (or any platform) keep ahead of the rest. This is because anyone can download the entire code, make any edits that make sense, and then have this incorporated into the whole WordPress platform – so the users are constantly helping to develop and improve the platform!
So Why Choose WordPress over the other CMS Tools Out There?
#1 It’s free!
Everyone loves free stuff, right? And building a website is no different. WordPress itself is free – you can download everything you need to get started here (https://wordpress.org/download/).
Now, there are other free open source CMS platforms, such as Drupal, Joomla, so we’ll need more than cost to justify using it.
#2 It’s open source
The fact that WordPress is an open source part means there’s heaps of great developers working to maintain the platform and to develop plugins (like White Label) that help you customize your site in basically any way you can imagine.
#3 Easy to use for both developers and personal users
WordPress has extensive documentation (https://codex.wordpress.org/Main_Page) for developers, whether it be for themes, plugins, or for WordPress itself. There’s a ton of resources to get into.
The Codex includes everything about how WordPress runs, so it’s super useful for more advanced users. They even have a specific handbook for plugin developers (https://developer.wordpress.org/plugins/intro/what-is-a-plugin/) and a seperate one for theme development (https://developer.wordpress.org/themes/).
If you are new to WordPress, there’s a lot of documentation for beginners (https://codex.wordpress.org/Getting_Started_with_WordPress) including Installing WordPress (https://codex.wordpress.org/Installing_WordPress), First Steps with WordPress (https://codex.wordpress.org/First_Steps_With_WordPress), and Where to Start (https://codex.wordpress.org/New_To_WordPress_-_Where_to_Start).
The biggest advantage of WordPress is its massive community of users and developers. In fact, according to W3Techs (https://w3techs.com/technologies/details/cm-wordpress/all/all), WordPress powers 31.6% of the internet!
The popularity of WordPress means that it’s probably here to stay for a long time, which means plenty of updates and thousands of maintained plugins for you to use.
Since it is so popular, WordPress has a huge community of users and a lot of them are quite engaged with the platform. In addition to it’s own community-based Support Forum (https://wordpress.org/support/), there are many other online and offline WordPress groups out there, and plenty of people willing to discuss their projects!
If you use Facebook, there’s groups like WordPress Experts (https://www.facebook.com/groups/topwordpressexperts/), Advanced WordPress (https://www.facebook.com/groups/advancedwp/, or the general WordPress group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/2209390642/).
There’s also the official WordPress Slack group (https://make.wordpress.org/chat/).
You can also search for WordPress meetups in your area and there’s bound to be some if you’re in a big city!
#6 Control over your website and data
Using the free version of WordPress, you can fully customize your site however you want. You can install plugins or write your own code to make your site function the way you want it to.
If for some crazy reason the WordPress team shut down, you’d still have all your data because you’re doing your own hosting. Since it’s so popular, chances are there’d still be members of the community working to update and maintain the platform anyway!
#7 Flexible and suited to any sort of website
Due to the crazy amount of plugins around, you can make pretty much any sort of website you want, from eCommerce to blogs to membership sites. For example, if you’re looking to create an online store, the WooCommerce (https://woocommerce.com/) plugin is the perfect place to start.