WordPress – What is it and why is it so popular?

WordPress is THE most popular CMS (content management system) that currently exists, and is the chosen platform for individuals and companies, big and small, to create their presence on the internet. The simple fact is that wordpress is a great tool to create a professional looking website, and it is free!

In the article below I will go through some of the features that have made wordpress what it is today, and why so many companies and individuals turn to wordpress to start their online presence.

What is wordpress?

WordPress is a CMS (content management system). What that basically means is that instead of having to actually having to write computer code (html, css, java etc.) to create your web content, wordpress has a very simple to navigate menu system that allows you to change the functionality and look of the website, and it sorts out the coding for you.

This means that you can concentrate on the content of your website without having to spend time learning about website development or coding.

What is it used for?

WordPress is primarily used for blog, news websites and articles (i.e. the creation of written content). It is geared towards providing information, which when you think about it is what the internet is for.

Who uses wordpress and how popular is it?

The easiest way to get a grasp of just how popular wordpress is, is to see some figures and names:

  • Over 70 million websites use wordpress
  • Over 4% of the internet is run on wordpress
  • Somewhere between 50% and 60% is the share of the CMS market that WordPress has
  • Over 25% of the top 10,000 websites are run on wordpress
  • Over 409 million people view more than 22.3 billion pages on wordpress each month
  • WordPress users produce about 59.3 million new posts and 48.4 million new comments each month
  • Big companies use wordpress: TechCrunch, TED, UPS, The New Yorker, Sony Music, MTV News, Xerox, CNN….

What the above tells you is that there is a LARGE user base, from single people to large companies. If the software was not user friendly, customisable and essentially the best in the field, it would be shot down very quickly.

What is the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org?

This might seem like a silly question, but it is not. There are in fact two wordpress websites, and they are different:

  • WordPress.com
  • WordPress.org

WordPress.com allows you to create a website which will have a format like “mywebsite.wordpress.com”, and you have to do no more than sign up for an account. This sounds like a great idea, but in reality it is not the best way to start, as it limits your future development. All your content will be hosted by wordpress (i.e. it will exist on the wordpress servers) which means if your website grows in the future you cannot upgrade the hosting performance of your website. Secondly, a website name like “mywebsite.wordpress.com” is not particularily professional looking.

The best option is to go to wordpress.org. WordPress.org provides software only, you then need to install this on your own hosting…now I suspect some people reading this will think this is already too much work, but it is much simpler than you think, and if you are unsure, you can take a look at my post on installing wordpress to see how easy it is. I also provide information on my suggested hosting provider (hostgator) here.

The advantage of having the software installed on your own hosting is that YOU have control, and any future expansion or upgrades that are required will be easily manageable by you. You gain much more flexibility.

The second reason is that you can use your own website name. For example “www.mywebsite.com”. This looks much more professional, and will improve your website’s image and credibility. If you want to get your own domain name I would suggest using namecheap.com.

What can I create with wordpress?

The answer to this question is: almost any website you can think of! (Although primarily it is intended for blog posts, news and articles.)

basically if you can think of it you can probably achieve it

One of the great plus points of wordpress is that it is very flexible in terms of what you can achieve with it. This is primarily down to the large array of plugins that you can get. Plugins are essentially “addons” to the basic wordpress install that add additional functionality to your website.

If you are familiar with either the Android Play Store or Apple App Store, it is essentially the same:

  • Search for the plugin functionality you want in the plugin store
  • select the plugin you want
  • Install in one click (no coding required)

This means that you can run a standard blog site, a members only site, run a job board, run an e-commerce store….basically if you can think of it you can probably achieve it with the right plugins.

…if you are however intending to start a website with a specific aim that is not primarily serving blog post, news, articles or basic written information, there may well be other tools that are better suited to the task. For example if you are setting up an e-commerce site I would suggest that Magento is the way to go rather than WordPress as you can read here.

If you have any comments on the article, or are still unsure which platform would suit you best, please let me know in the comments below.

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TheTestSpecimen is the creator of thetestspecimen.com and the Wanderfile app (https://wanderfile.app). Passionate about technology, coding, photography and travel.

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