These days, site owners have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to building a new site. From other content management systems (CMS) such as Drupal, Joomla, and Perch, to the recent growth of long form publishing platforms like Medium and eCommerce-specific options like Shopify, WordPress is facing some serious competition.
Granted, we may be a wee bit biased, but in our considered opinion, WordPress is still the best choice for most small business websites, blogs, and e-commerce sites.
Why? Well, WordPress boasts a number of features that make it user and owner friendly, but four advantages, in particular, make it a solid choice for sites of all kinds.
WordPress Allows You To Retain Full Ownership
Platforms such as Medium and Shopify certainly have some attractive features, but they can’t beat WordPress in one important area — vested ownership of site files in the publisher or site owner.
When you post on platforms that aren’t hosted on your own account or server, and in your own name, you don’t control or own the underlying files that form the basis of the resulting pages. That platform does. You still retain copyright over your words, of course, but the page files themselves don’t belong to you.
You may wonder why that’s important. Well, it may not be — until that platform changes its pricing structure, pricing itself right out of your budget. If that happens, you’ll be right back where you started, except that you’ll face an additional challenge: having to reconstruct all your hard work on some other platform.
Sites can also vanish almost overnight, shutting the digital doors on you and all your hard work. What happens when your borrowed platform disappears for good? Will you be able to get backup files of your pages? Will those files be in a format that can be easily moved to a different server?
With self-hosted WordPress, you’re the owner of all your site files. You can make as many backups of your site as often as you like, and change to a different server or hosting company any time you like. A good backup plugin such as BackupBuddy or UpdraftPlus enables you to simply migrate your site to its new home with a few mouse clicks.
What’s more, no one can use your content to support some other cause, product, or business without your consent. You decide how your content is monetized, if at all, and to what extent. And that’s your income — not someone else’s.
WordPress Gives You Greater Customization And Control
WordPress is endlessly customizable and puts the site owner in full control of every single aspect of the site’s appearance, content, and function.
You decide what you want your site, as well as each of its pages, to look like. You control the content, be it text, images, video, or other media, and how it’s arranged on the page. And you decide how the site is structured. Membership sites, multiuser sites, online store, blog, message boards, interactive portfolios, whatever elements you want to incorporate into your site, WordPress has a way to handle them all.
And what about eCommerce sites? It’s true that WordPress originated as a blogging platform, but it can easily handle e-commerce sites with the right theme and plugins. Even so, something like Shopify, which is all about eCommerce, might at first blush seem to be preferable.
But today’s business plan might change tomorrow. What if your business evolves to move beyond eCommerce in six months or a year? WordPress’s flexibility isn’t just about aesthetics — it also supports a wide range of functionality.
Wouldn’t you rather use a platform that supports your business both now and in the future, no matter what changes might take place?
WordPress Is Easy To Use
WordPress gets a lot of unfair criticism about its learning curve, but here’s our take: If you can work in Microsoft Word or just about any email program, you can learn how to operate the WordPress interface.
Granted, any new-to-you site technology will require some kind of adjustment period, and you’ll have to learn how to accomplish basic tasks. That’s true of any site platform choice. And admittedly, WordPress’ learning curve is slightly steeper than some choices, Medium, in particular. But that’s because it offers so much more control and so many more creative options.
By and large, the most common site administration tasks — adding content, creating and publishing new pages, sharing new images and video — are fairly straightforward in WordPress. And with the large, robust, and generous community of WordPress users and developers, you’ll find an answer to just about any question you might have.
WordPress Is Friendly To All Budgets
WordPress is open source software, and it’s free to use. This means that your only required costs are (usually) the cost of hosting and the cost of registering your domain (which you’d have to pay in any event, unless you’re using a second-level domain, such as myblog.randomblogsite.com).
What this means for new site owners, who are often on shoestring budgets, is that you can get your site up and running for minimal cost.
Most alternatives, of course, either charge a recurring monthly fee, which can sometimes be quite steep, or assign you a second-level domain to use, which can be much harder for your users to remember and type into the address bar.
And because WordPress is relatively easy to use, it’s budget-friendly in another way, too — you don’t have to hire a developer to add content or pages to your site.
Moreover, WordPress grows with you, your business, and your budget. If you have the cash to spend, premium themes and plugins can bring you more digital bang for your buck, adding functionality, security, and jaw-dropping modern design to your site.
Is WordPress always the best solution, no matter what kind of site you’re building? Well, probably not. As Rob Bardall, developer and owner of RDB Interactive, LLC, says, “I think WordPress is the best choice for building certain websites. It depends on the client’s needs and it’s not appropriate for every situation.”
What’s more, no site technology will ever be perfect for every single website imaginable, which is why all these new options are a very good thing for owners and developers alike.
However, some of the criticism that’s directed at WordPress comes from a too-narrow perspective. WordPress still has a lot to offer, is endlessly flexible, and can support both great design and superb functionality.
Do you think WordPress is still the best overall option for site owners? Answer in the comments below.