In 2003, a very notable event took place in the Cyber Universe. A new star was born, and they named it WordPress. Admittedly, it was not a very bright star, but little did we know just how big and spectacular that star would become. Today, millions of people, including myself, believe that WordPress is the best website platform in the world.
23.8% of the world’s websites – Powered by WordPress
Of course you will always get “die-hard” WordPress critics, but let’s look at the facts here. WordPress was basically nothing more than an easy-to-use blogging tool when it first appeared back in 2003. Today 23.8% of all the websites currently in existence are powered by WordPress. Let’s look at this from another angle: I have just visited a site called Internet Live Stats, and there are nearly 1 billion websites currently online. That means that nearly ¼ billion websites are powered by WordPress. If you ask me, I don’t think you need to be a rocket scientist in order to realize that WordPress is far more than just a simple blogging tool these days.
So, what has allowed WordPress to flourish the way it has? I think most WordPress users would agree that there many reasons, but the three that stand out the most are:
Even if you don’t have any IT skills, and even if you have never written a single line of code in your life, you can have a professional looking WordPress website set up in almost no time at all. If you can move and click your mouse, you can build a WordPress site. Okay, maybe it’s not quite as easy as that, but you get the idea.
WordPress is also a very “forgiving” platform. You won’t destroy hours of hard work just because you click the wrong button, or you choose the wrong option from one of the dropdown menus. I once read an article which was written by a WordPress critic, and the author described WordPress as a Content Management System designed for idiots. I think he could have chosen his words more carefully, but in a way, he actually summed things up perfectly. This is not to say I think only idiots use WordPress, but it emphasizes just how user friendly this platform actually is.
Obviously, the fact that WordPress is free has also played a significant role in the success of this platform. Twenty years ago it would have cost a fortune to have a professional website built. Today you can do it for free, thanks to WordPress, and if you are happy to have your website address ending with “wordpress.com” then you don’t even need to pay for a domain name.
WordPress – An Open Source Marvel
Customization and Versatility for everyone
WordPress is an “Open Source” content management system. In other words, any developer from anywhere in the world can create themes and plugins, and then make those available to WordPress users.
Do you want your site to have a professional looking theme, but also a theme which is fully optimized for search engines? No problem, there are thousands of them to choose from. Some are free, some are not; you just have to look for one which you feel is best suited to your individual needs.
Do you need a feature that allows you to carry out certain SEO related tasks with the minimum amount of effort? Again, no problem because there are literally thousands of plugins out there, and you can bet your bottom dollar that if you have a specific task in mind, you will be able to find a plugin capable of meeting your requirements.
Keeping the Big G Happy
Open Source SEO at your Fingertips
Because WordPress is an open source platform to which anyone can contribute, you inevitably have some of the world’s best SEO specialists contributing as well. This can come in the form of optimized themes as I’ve already mentioned above, or it can come in the form of plugins which allow you to effortlessly perform specific SEO tasks.
Having the ability to manage on-page SEO to the extent that you can with WordPress, is undoubtedly one of the platform’s biggest draws. I’m not saying that this enables you to deal with all your SEO requirements straight out of the box, but you definitely can take care of a big chunk of it.
Let’s take a look at one quick example of “out-of-the-box” SEO: Every page and/or post on your website has a unique URL. Typically, these URL address are, for lack of a better expression, simply a cocktail of meaningless numbers; symbols and other characters. While this type of URL might make sense to computers, it makes no sense to people, and it harms your SEO.
Ideally, you want the URL to reflect the name of your page, and hopefully tell people what they are about to see. With WordPress this process is as simple as it could ever be. Just log in; click Settings and then select “Permalinks” from the dropdown menu that appears. The current URL of the page will show up, along with a few options. Choose the “Post Name” option and you’re good to go. You now have your URLs fully optimized for all the major search engines, including the Big G.
Adding SEO title tags; headings, and even page content which are easily crawlable for search engines, is just as simple as the “permalink” example I’ve discussed above.
Search Engines & Site Load Speed
If you’re slow you go
I still come across many instances where so-called SEO specialists dismiss the idea of site loading time having an impact on search engine rankings. To be honest, I find this quite baffling because our good friends at Google have made themselves very clear, that they are no longer willing to tolerate sites that take an eternity to load.
A slow loading site might not be reason enough to earn you a penalty, but it can most definitely contribute towards a penalty, and my guess is that Google is going to become even stricter in this regard. Slow load times are also bad for business. If a potential customer visits your site and they have to wait ages for each page to load, you can kiss that customer goodbye forever.
When you build a WordPress site or you have one built for you, you don’t have anything to worry about anything as far as load speed is concerned. This is particularly true if you are using WordPress straight out the box. Obviously, if you cram a ton of heavyweight pictures and/or video content onto your pages, the load times will definitely be affected, and even the best website platform won’t be able to help you. However, providing you don’t overload your pages with content, you won’t have to worry about loading speed because WordPress has got your back covered. Also, there are a number of plugins you can use in order to speed up load time, including the very popular Autoptimze plugin.
WordPress & Mobile Devices
Making your site available to the world
As most website owners, or should I say, SEO specialists, will already know, April 2015 was set as a deadline for making sure websites are mobile friendly. That’s right, Google has spoken, and the world has to obey. Well, you don’t have to obey, but say goodbye to your favorable ranking on Google if you don’t.
If your website is not optimized for smartphones; tablets and etc. then the chances of your site showing up in mobile search results is diminishing by the day. Google controls roughly 85 to 90 percent of the global mobile ad market, earning the company an estimated $8 billion, with $3.7 billion coming from North America alone. What does this mean for website owners?
Today, 98% of all online searches are done from mobile devices. It is these searches that ultimately allow Google to make money. Companies pay a lot of money for advertising with Google, and they want those adverts to be seen by as many people as possible. If your site has no third party ads, then Google has little incentive to present your site to people who are searching for the product or service you are offering. Likewise, they cannot afford to place ads on sites that cannot be accessed from mobile devices, or on sites which are “unpleasant” when browsing with a mobile device.
I do online searches with my phone every day. When the results show up, you can see straight away which sites are “mobile friendly” and which ones are not. Those that are not are a real pain in the butt so I avoid them, and so do millions and millions of other internet users. If there are ads on those sites, just imagine how much potential revenue is being lost just because the owners of those sites have not done anything to make them mobile friendly.
So, how do you make sure your site is mobile friendly? You can hire a professional, or you can use WordPress. That’s right, a few simple mouse clicks and your site will be 100% mobile friendly. When Google first made the announcement, website owners were panicking big time, whereas those with WordPress sites weren’t even the slightest bit concerned because they already had the popular “Jetpack” plugin at their disposal.
Customized Themes & Plugins
Many developers argue that their chosen Content Management System is just as flexible as WordPress in terms of customization. Now, I’m not disputing that, but, we are NOT all seasoned developers with years of experience behind us. Fortunately for me, and any other person for that matter, there are literally thousands of themes and plugins out there, so most people with WordPress sites don’t need to rely on professional coders to customize their sites. Even if you did need some “out of the ordinary” customization, there are countless WordPress developers who can help.
So much more than just a blogging tool
WordPress might have started out as a simple blogging tool back in 2003, but today it is one of the most powerful, and also most widely used website platforms in the world also for business. Regardless of what your specific needs are, you can launch your online ambitions with WordPress – It’s free; it’s easy to use, and it WORKS!
Anyone who still argues that WordPress is a blogging tool has been sleeping under a rock for the last 10 years. I might be wrong in saying this, but the last time I visited NASA’s website it certainly didn’t look like a blogging site to me, and Ebay even less so. Yep that’s right; there are plenty of big boys using WordPress.
The truth of the matter is: whether you only want to have a personal website just for the sake of having one or whether you want to start an e-commerce business, WordPress is probably your best option right now, and it probably will be for many years to come.
If you only want to start a blog, or if you only want a site for personal use, you will probably find a suitable theme among the twenty themes that come preinstalled with WordPress, and as I’ve already mentioned, there’s no shortage of plugins should you need any.
On the other hand, if you want an e-commerce website; a forum, or even a social networking site, you might have to invest a bit more time customizing your site, but I can assure you that anything is possible with WordPress. No matter what sort of idea you have, you will be able to find themes and plugins that are capable of turning your ideas into reality.
One of the greatest things about WordPress sites, at least as far as I’m concerned, is the fact that even if you get somebody else to build your site initially, it is so incredibly easy for you to add content or make changes further down the line. The bottom line is: if you are not a developer and you lack the necessary IT skills like I do, you WILL NOT find a better option than WordPress. Give it a try, and I guarantee you, you won’t be disappointed.