WordPress was born in 2003 after Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little forked b2. During the past 12 years, WordPress has evolved a lot, and nowadays almost 25% of all the websites in the world are based on WordPress! Just think about some of its awesome statistics:
- 17 posts are published every second worldwide
- WordPress blogs receive 5.5 million comments per month
- there are 37 million global monthly searches for WordPress
- it’s available in over 50 languages
- by the time of this writing, WordPress 4.2 had been downloaded over 35 million times
And yet, here we are, discussing why you should switch to WordPress. In order to make the decision easy for you, let me share my top 25 reasons to switch to WordPress. Ready?
#1 – Free & Free
WordPress is a free, open-source project. Here I’m talking about freedom. You’re able to run WordPress as you wish, for any purpose. You can see how it’s designed and coded, and learn from it. You can change it to meet your needs, you can redistribute it. With WordPress, you’re basically free to do whatever you want! Isn’t that awesome?
But, in case you’re wondering (and I’m sure you are), YES! WordPress is also free as in “free beer”. You can also get WordPress for free at any time, and you won’t have to pay for it ever! There are no hidden charges, there’s no fine print anywhere… There’s a lot of WordPress freelancers and professionals that do sell their work, but WordPress itself is (and will be) free.
#2 – SEO Friendly
If you’re running a website, one of your major concerns is probably SEO. Sure, you want to offer an outstanding service to your visitors; you want to help them find what they’re looking for and you want to be an authority in your world. But in order to get visitors you need to have a website that’s well-designed for search engines. Luckily for you, WordPress is extremely SEO-friendly out of the box. Don’t take my word for it; Google’s Matt Cutts endorsed WordPress during WordCamp San Francisco 2009. Just take a look at his personal blog, which is on WordPress 🙂
Moreover, WordPress has several plugins that help you improve your SEO and social media experience. Probably, the most well-known, fully-fledged plugin is Yoast SEO, which offers an extremely easy-to-use interface for optimizing your contents for search engines and search results. With that plugin, you’ll be able to easily manage canonical links, robots file, meta titles and meta descriptions, XML sitemaps, and more!
Nelio A/B Testing
I was very impressed by the quality of this plugin, how easy it was to set up, and the outstanding support Nelio provides. I highly recommend Nelio A/B Testing.
#3 – Safe and Secure
Another major concern when running a website is its security. WordPress is so popular that it’s one of the favorite targets for hackers. And, of course, WordPress can have security holes that might be exploited and hacked. But, still, WordPress is secure. Why? Basically, for two main reasons. On the one hand, it’s open source. This means that everybody has access to the code and can contribute to these security issues by reporting them and/or fixing them. On the other hand, it has a huge community–there’s a lot of people working on the WordPress core. The combination of these two factors results in a robust and solid platform that can quickly recover from any attack.
Nonetheless, it’s important to note that security does also depend on you. Remember that “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link”, so even if WordPress is secure, there’s a whole bunch of measures you could/should take to assure that security. These include strong passwords that are updated often, having an updated WordPress installation (that is, core, plugins, and themes), and using backups, among others.
If you want to know more about it, here you have a lot of tips, strategies, and techniques you can use to better your WordPress security and stay protected.
#4 – Highly Customizable
WordPress has thousands of plugins and themes, both free and premium. With just a few clicks, you can install and configure a unique WordPress installation where everything looks exactly as you want it to look. What if your needs are so specific that there’s no plugin for them? Well, once again, WordPress‘ open-source nature means you can further extend it in a way such that all these needs can be perfectly tailored!
#5 – Outstanding Support
It doesn’t matter how skilled you are–WordPress is a great option at all levels. The platform has been designed to be user-friendly and easy to learn and use. But it’s also beautifully coded and well-documented, which means that new developers can jump in the WordPress ecosystem and start building their first projects quickly.
Despite its simpleness, though, all users end up facing some trouble at some point. That’s when support comes very handy. Thanks to the extensive community behind WordPress, you can troubleshoot all your questions and concerns in the WordPress forums or on Slack.
#6 – Easy to Manage and Use
WordPress was designed with the average user in mind. It’s equipped with a built-in updater for security purposes and a notification system, so that you can always know when there are updates for your themes and plugins. This makes the process of keeping up-to-date easy and straightforward. Be sure to keep your site safe and fresh!
#7 – Mobile Friendly
Last year TechCrunch reported that the majority of digital media consumption now takes place in mobile apps. If we take a closer look at the data shared in comScore’s study, mobile usage as a whole accounts for 60% of time spent, while desktop-based digital media consumption makes up the remaining 40%.
You should take a look at your Google Analytics account and check what your particular statistics are. There’s a great chance that a lot of your visitors come from mobile devices, and it’s therefore very important that you offer them a great experience too. How? Responsive Design is the answer.
Responsive design aims to provide an optimal viewing and interaction experience regardless of the device in which the content is displayed. The image above perfectly explains the idea: content is like water and, therefore, it should adapt to the container (because, you know, the other way around is simply impossible).
#8 – Versatile
When WordPress was originally born, it was a simple blogging platform. Since then, however, it has evolved (and continues to evolve) to be used as full content management system and so much more through the thousands of plugins and widgets and themes. Sure, you can use WordPress as a personal blog or a news site, or you can create a beautiful e-commerce site… whatever your goal is, you can achieve it with WordPress. WordPress is limited only by your imagination!
#9 – WordPress Likes Multimedia
Nowadays, the web is much more than just text with hyperlinks. Today we share a lot of beautiful content: pictures, videos, audio. WordPress makes it easy to work with media files. Not only is it easy for you to upload multimedia files, you can also edit files, like images, within the Media Library Screen.
WordPress also makes it super-easy to embed third-party content, such as YouTube videos or tweets. To embed a video or another object into a post, place its URL into the content area and you’re done!
#10 – It Has an E-Commerce Facet
In May, Automattic acquired WooThemes. You may be wondering why I’m mentioning this right now, don’t you?
Well, Automattic is a company Matt Mullenweg (the creator of WordPress) founded. They’re the people behind WordPress.com, which serves more than 15.8 billion pages a month, as well as a host of other popular services, such as Akismet, Jetpack, and VaultPress.
On the other hand, WooThemes is a company that distributes themes and other services for WordPress. The guys at WooThemes are also the creators of WooCommerce, one of the most powerful e-commerce solutions out there. As it turns out, WooCommerce extends a basic WordPress installations and converts it into a fully-fledged e-commerce website. With almost 9,000,000 downloads, WooCommerce powers over 29% of all online stores.
Now, do you get the importance of the acquisition I mentioned? WordPress is an incredible and outstanding e-commerce platform, once you set it up to be one.
#11 – Easy to Move
If you ever need to switch to a new hosting provider, either because your traffic grew a lot and they can no longer deal with it, because you want to work with a more reliable team (did someone mentioned backups? 😉 ), or because you found an awesome offer somewhere else, you can do it without experiencing much downtime. WordPress works with pretty much every server. This flexibility comes it very handy, because it means that your WordPress site (and the resources it consumes) will scale as your business/traffic does.
#12 – It Automatizes Work
We have three blogs: this one, Nelio A/B Testing (focused on split testing and conversion rate optimization), and WPrincipiante (a WordPress blog focused on the Spanish-speaking beginners community). As you can imagine, thinking about new content, writing it, and organizing when it has to be published can be very time consuming. By default, WordPress helps you a little bit into doing that! Thus, for instance, you can write your posts whenever you can and schedule them in advance. This way, the content will be automatically published without any further actions from your end.
If you need more advanced publisher functionalities, there are third party tools that beautifully integrate with WordPress and give you an extra push. One of my favorite tools is CoSchedule, which I reviewed a few weeks ago. CoSchedule is basically an editorial drag-and-drop calendar and, as such, it helps you plan and schedule your blog posts and all the related social media actions.
#13 – Multiple User Capabilities
As your website gets bigger, it becomes more and more difficult to manage it all by yourself. At some point, you’ll likely have to rely on multiple people to keep it up and running flawlessly. Luckily for you, WordPress is aware of this situation and comes with a bunch of predefined user roles you can assign to your users. These include:
- Super Admin. This kind of users have access to the site network administration features and all other features. They can create new administrators, manage multiple sites, give access rights to certain individuals, and so on.
- Administrator. Somebody who has access to all the administration features within a single site. An administrator is able to install and configure new plugins and themes, and basically do everything that can be done in the WordPress Dashboard.
- Editor. Editors can publish and manage everybody’s posts. When you run a blog (or a news site) with multiple contributors, the editor will play a key role in orchestrating all content publications.
- Author. They are like small editors. An author is somebody who can publish and manage her own posts.
- Contributor. As its name suggest, these users contribute to the content that will be published in your website. Basically, they can write and manage their own posts, but they’re not able to publish them (that’s something that only an editor can do).
- Subscriber. Subscribers are the users that have fewer permissions. What can they do? Well, a subscriber can only manage her profile… that’s it!
After you install certain plugins to WordPress, though, you may have some additional roles. For instance, if you install WooCommerce (the e-commerce plugin we talked about in #10), you’ll also have the following ones:
- Shop Manager. This role grants access to shop management. This way, you can have users managing the shop without their being administrators.
- Customer. A customer has read access only, which is used if a user registers via the checkout process. This is equivalent status to a normal blog subscriber.
#14 – Polyglot
It doesn’t matter if you are a Mac or a Windows user, if you have an iPhone or an Android phone, chances are you’re using your device in your own language. Well, I’m happy to tell you that you can also use WordPress in your own language! WordPress is available in numerous languages including (but not limited to): Catalan, Spanish, French, Korean, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, and many, many others.
WordPress is available in so many different languages from all over the globe because of its community. Even you can help translating WordPress to your language at any time, logging in to the translation platform with your WordPress.org account and suggesting new translations. If you want to help in managing and validating translations, please make sure to get in touch with the existing language team first.
#15 – It Helps You Save Money
Remember WordPress is free software, which means you don’t need to pay anything to get it. But it’s also open source, so if you need to extend it somehow you’re not tied to anyone. You can look for WordPress professionals in your area and look for the one that offers the best benefit-cost ratio. Or, if you’re a slightly-skilled developer, you can try and implement a solution for your needs yourself! In my opinion, this freedom in choosing what you need, when you need it, as you need it, is one of the great things about WordPress.
#16 – Plenty of WordPress Professionals
This point is related to the previous one. There’s a lot of people working in the WordPress ecosystem! Just to mention a few:
- Automattic. A company founded by the creator of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg. We already talked about it 😉
- Human Made. As we can read in their website, “they’re a leading technical WordPress agency based around the globe, who provides development & consultancy for large-scale sites and big name clients worldwide”.
- WPEngine. A WordPress hosting provider focused on WordPress. They care about speed and security, and have a wonderful customer service.
- Silo Creativo. A Spanish-based company focused on web design. If you don’t know them, get in touch with them, because they create beautiful WordPress themes!
- Nelio Software. That’s us! We’re WordPress developers and lovers. We offer the best and most complete A/B Testing service for WordPress, as well as other services and some free plugins.
And there’s also plenty of online resources available, both free and paid, that’ll help you get the most out of WordPress. For instance, First Side Guide will help you to get started with web development in general and WordPress in particular.
#17 – Community Powered
WordPress is not only about code or companies behind it. It’s also a community. A beautiful community! We, WordPress users and enthusiasts, love to meet and get to know each other, while we share our knowledge and we have fun. How? Well, we have WordCamps, WordPress days, Meetups… that is, informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users like you and me so that we can talk about our beloved WordPress!
After party #wceu, having fun with some friends! @avillegasn @DarioBF @ricardpriet @valenveronica with @yoast pic.twitter.com/DDPDhj0m51
— David Aguilera (@davilera) June 27, 2015
One of the latest (and greatest) events here in Europe was WordCamp Europe 2015, which took place in Seville, Spain. Just look at all the things that we did there:
- Presentations. During a couple of days, speakers from all over the world talked about WordPress. The presentations were organized in two different tracks, which means that a lot of topics were covered. We talked about WordCamps, about running business while traveling the world, about the upcoming features… Everything!
- Questions and Answers with Matt. The first day of the WordCamp, and during one hour (right after lunch), we all got the chance to ask Matt anything about WordPress. Isn’t it cool being able to talk to the very creator of your CMS?
- Experts Bar. The experts bar was opened during both days of the conference and gave everybody the chance to talk to members of the core team, developers, hosting specialists and designers, as well as all the speakers (right after their talks). Any questions you might have about WordPress could be answered there.
- Party time. I already said these events are also very special for knowing each other. WordCamp Europe was plenty of social moments (lunches, dinners, coffee breaks, and the after party) where we could simply chat and have a nice time with our colleagues and friends.
#18 – WordPress is Alive
The community behind WordPress is, in my opinion, its greatest asset. There are developers working on its core. There’s plenty of people developing plugins to extend this core functionality. A lot of people are creating free and premium themes to customize and improve the look and feel of WordPress-based websites. Many users, who have no programming skills, spend some of their time contributing to the project and hence the community by translating WordPress or fixing documentation. If you switch to WordPress, you won’t depend on a company; you’ll be part of a community that’s very alive!
#19 – There’s a Plugin for Almost Anything
Don’t take my word for it. Just go to the plugins repository and take a look for yourself. There are over 35,000 plugins available. What do they offer? Virtually anything:
- Cache. WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache are two of the most well-known cache plugins for WordPress.
- Related Posts. If you’re interested in engaging your visitors offering additional content, you should use a related post plugin. There’s plenty of options here: Related Posts, Nelio Related Posts, Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP), and more!
- eCommerce. The most well-known and powerful plugin is WooCommerce, but there are other options too, such as, for instance, WP eCommerce.
- Social Network. If you want to create a social network with WordPress… well, you can! BuddyPress is a suite of components that are common to a typical social network. With this plugin, you can enable registered members to create profiles, have private conversations, make connections, create and interact in groups, and much more!
- And more! Such as plugins for organizing events, managing directory listings, creating and managing contact forms… As I said, anything you can think of will probably be available as a WordPress plugin.
#20 – Beautifully Designed
If you’re a developer like me, then you probably value well-written software. And, in this sense, WordPress is gorgeous. When they say “Code is poetry”, they really mean it 😉 Just download the latest release of WordPress and dive into the code to see what I’m talking about.
If you plan to start a career as a WordPress developer, then I recommend you take a look at their coding standards and guidelines. They’ll teach you how to write code that beautifully integrates with WordPress core.
#21 – Well-Documented
This reason comes tightly related to the previous one. WordPress defines its own APIs for doing stuff. There’s an API for performing HTTP requests, another for creating the settings of your plugins, another for creating widgets, another one for accessing the file system… and the best part of it is: all of them are well documented in the Codex.
#22 – It Can Be Used as a Membership Service
We’ve already reviewed up to 21 reasons for switching to WordPress and, by now, you should be pretty confident of all the benefits that it can offer you and your business. Need more? Well, if you offer exclusive content and you want to to grow a loyal fan base, then you can convert WordPress into a full-fledged membership site. This tutorial by Nina Cross on DIYthemes will guide you through the process. In addition to it, Chris Lema reviewed a lot of membership plugins for WordPress in his blog.
#23 – It Gets Better and Better
I think that this fact should be clear by now… but, just in case, yes, WordPress is getting better and better as the time goes by, and you can be certain that this will be true in the future. Just remember that WordPress is an open source project with a huge community behind it, which means that any developer can enhance the user experience it offers.
#24 – Switching to WordPress can be Painless
Would you like to become a WordPress user but you’re scared of the process? Then I’m glad to tell you that today’s your lucky day! There are several services out there that will take care of the migration for you, such as Migrate to WordPress or CMS2CMS.
#25 – WordPress Loves A/B Testing
A/B Testing (also known as split testing) is one of the easiest ways to increase the conversion rate of your website. If you don’t know what it is, take a look at the following two-minute video introduction:
As you can see, A/B tests are exactly what their name suggest: you test your current website (version A) against an alternative version (B) that differs somehow, and you measure which version is better at selling, generating leads, or obtaining new subscribers in your mailing list.
If you want to run A/B tests in your WordPress site painlessly, you can! There are several plugins available for doing that: Nelio AB Testing, AB testing with AB Tasty, Title Experiments Free, and more. The WordPress ecosystem is rapidly adapting to all the requirements of modern marketing techniques, so why should you be afraid of switching?
See you soon in WordPress!
Featured Image by Alexander Gounder.
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