If you are running a business and want a solid online presence, you’ve probably heard of WordPress, along with competitors like Drupal and Wix. Choosing the right content management system (CMS) for your business website is a critical decision because it will determine how your website works, how it is managed on an everyday basis, its security, how easy it is to modify, and much more. We’ve developed a useful guide to the WordPress CMS to help guide this decision, showing the features, pros and cons of this market-leading CMS.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is the most popular website builder and CMS in the world, powering 39.6% of the internet globally in 2021 and holding a 60.8% market share. Officially launched in 2003, over 500 WordPress websites are developed every day and customised by over 55,000 plugins.
It is used to build, maintain, and modify websites, and is responsible for market-leading websites for big brands like The New Yorker, TechCrunch, the Microsoft News Centre, Time Inc., and the Facebook newsroom, as well as running a massive 28% of all e-commerce websites worldwide.
The advantages of using WordPress CMS
So, why is WordPress so popular? Here are just a few reasons behind this platform taking the online world by storm:
It’s scalable – From huge Fortune 500 companies right down to hobby cooking blogs, this CMS can handle it all. As long as your web hosting service has the resources, you can make your website as massive or as functional as you like.
It’s user-friendly – Even if you don’t have a lot of tech knowledge, WordPress is fairly easy to use – especially when compared to other CMS systems and independently coded sites. This makes websites faster and easier to build from scratch, modify, and manage on a daily basis.
It’s mobile-friendly – Mobile is widely recognised as the future of internet browsing, with smartphones making it easy to research and compare products, view content, and make purchases. In fact, one-third of all online shopping in the UK in 2019 happened over a mobile device, making a mobile-friendly website a must-have.
It’s SEO-friendly – To make sure customers see your website and online content, you need a search engine optimised website – and WordPress delivers by supporting Google’s best practices. With free plugins like Yoast, it’s easy to check the SEO of your website content and adapt it through useful suggestions and insights to help it rank higher in Google search results.
It’s flexible and customisable – If you look at all the WordPress websites out there, they are almost unrecognisable from each other. This is because there are many different templates you can build your website from, and by using a trained WordPress specialist, you can transform these templates into something with a truly unique look and functionality. So, despite being based on cookie-cutter templates, these sites can be customised to reflect your business through a highly-tailored result.
The disadvantages of using WordPress CMS
For the sake of full disclosure and our personal ethics, we have to say that we really do enjoy using WordPress for building client websites – but that doesn’t mean that this CMS is not without its flaws. The drawbacks of this CMS include:
Lots of updates – Because of the number of third-party plugins and the work WordPress does to stay ahead, it can feel like the updates are constant. However, it is important to maintain effective security and functionality on your website – CMS’s that are not updating on a regular basis aren’t helping you; they’re leaving you exposed. It’s best to run updates every week or have a website management service handle this for you.
Vulnerability – WordPress is an open-source platform, which means that it’s possible for people to upload unsecured plugins or even malicious software that you could mistakenly add to your website. For this reason, it’s important to work with someone who has a good working knowledge of these plugins to make sure you are getting tried-and-tested plugins as well as using the best security plugins for your website. When you do this, your website will be much more secure than most others.
Speed and load time performance – Because themes can be uploaded to the CMS, there is a range of performance and load speed times for WordPress websites. When a theme has a lot of unnecessary or generic code, the website can become slower to load, which is a significant issue for consumers. Poor page load speed will negatively impact your SEO and causes issues of frustration for visitors who on average demand a load speed time of no longer than 2 seconds. Again, working with a knowledgeable WordPress partner will ensure that your website is well within these limits and performing at lightning-quick speeds.
DIY issues – Although WordPress CMS is a user-friendly website builder, it’s important to realise that this doesn’t always translate into the development of a great website. Without the knowledge of how to design a website for specific functionality, of the plugins that exist and need to work together, of website performance and maintenance, you’re unlikely to get a great business website out of it. For a business website where your brand is on the line, you need something that reflects professionalism and expertise, that offers the functionality that consumers are demanding, and that works seamlessly at all times, and that means it’s worth it to speak to a web design agency that has experience with the platform.
What is the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?
There are two WordPress domains, each offering different functionality for different clients, and if you are considering a WordPress website for your business, you’ll need to know which one to choose.
This is the free CMS that allows you to run a self-hosted version of WordPress, and you’ll need a web hosting plan and a registered domain name to utilise it. You’re given the highest level of access to plugins and themes in this version, and you’re even allowed to create and upload your own themes.
This option is best suited to businesses and individuals that want a professional website experience for their consumers. It is the most flexible and customisable version, and you get full access to all plugins to tailor website appearance and functionality.
This is a version of the CMS that is hosted by WordPress itself. This means that WordPress manages the servers where the websites are hosted rather than letting the provider of your choice to do so. To use this service, which is more basic than the .org version, you will need to get a branded domain name (yourwebsitename.wordpress.com) unless you pay a subscription that allows you to use a custom domain name.
Because of its limitations, this version of WordPress is better suited to people who want to have a small website as quickly as possible, and aren’t concerned with customising the aesthetics or functionality of these more basic templates.
The main features of WordPress CMS
This platform is well-known for its massive range of features, and it’s something that sets it apart from the competition. Here are the basic features that almost every website will utilise:
This is the administration area of the website, where you can modify the website, add or remove products and features, add content, and perform general maintenance.
Here, you can modify and edit the aesthetics of your website design by changing the theme, your logo, and other elements. If you’re using a free template, you’ll be more limited in terms of what you can customise than if you have a premium template.
Plugins and widgets
These are sets of code that add specific functionality to your website, adding features that are not always available for a template. In terms of plugins, you can add WooCommerce to give you e-commerce functionality, Wordfence to protect against malware, or Yoast to analyse your SEO. Widgets can add more content to your website itself, like adding archives or recent posts to your blog.
This allows you to modify, add or remove text content from your website. This includes adding new pages or a blog, blocks of text, or image galleries. It also allows you to add SEO and user-friendly components like tags, featured images, meta titles, and meta descriptions.
What businesses benefit from a WordPress Website?
The short answer is that WordPress can be used for almost any imaginable business application, regardless of your size, industry, or location. This flexibility that allows anyone to make a business website, whether you are running a small business from home or a multinational corporation, is what makes WordPress so popular. It is especially well-suited for businesses that want to:
Run a blog
Fresh, original online content is a key element of successful digital marketing, and most comprehensive strategies include a blog. This allows you to chat to interested customers, strengthen your brand awareness, get found on Google, and boost your SEO.
Be more creative and accessible to consumers
WordPress CMS offers a huge range of creative themes and plugins, making it ideally suited to businesses that want to make a unique splash online. These sites can be customised to create something truly unique without having to go the route of a much more expensive and time-consuming custom build. WordPress links seamlessly with your blog, social media accounts, payment platforms, and much more, making it easy and seamless for customers to utilise your offering, promoting the best quality customer experience.
Develop e-commerce capabilities
Online purchasing has taken off in recent years in every age group and industry and is projected to reach £80,678 million in 2021, making it the most advanced e-commerce market in Europe with the wholesale and manufacturing industries taking the top two positions. Both B2B and B2C businesses have benefitted by including e-commerce facilities on their websites, allowing customers to research, browse, and purchase at their leisure.
Draw traffic and awareness to charities and NPOs – WordPress is a very viable CMS for charitable organisations because it has great support, is well-known, and is not expensive to develop or maintain. Because it is very user, SEO and mobile-friendly, these websites help draw traffic to your cause from a wide range of locations and devices, making it easy to donate, inform and empower, and delivering a rewarding ROI.
Compete effectively as a small business – Small businesses have been empowered by the online space to compete effectively against industry leaders. With the right digital marketing strategy, which starts with a highly functional, fast, and secure website, small businesses are able to showcase their offering with exceptional professionalism, putting them at the same level as their competitors without having to access the same level of resources.
Find out where WordPress CMS can take your business
Yellowball is a multi-award-winning digital agency in London specialising in WordPress websites. Our web design team knows this platform’s capabilities inside out and works to develop sites that are truly unique to your business without breaking your budget. From luxury interior designers and hospitality websites to IT support providers, music studios, and the hospitality industry, we’ve worked with businesses of all sizes in all spaces. Contact us today and find out what we can do to help your business grow online.