The Business Case for WordPress

Websites built with Content Management Systems allow you / your company greater control over adding and changing content – without needing technical support to make those changes. WordPress is as simple for non-technical staff to manage content – as simple as using Microsoft Word – and with such a huge number of users, easy to learn and consult the internet for advice. It can handle your entire workflow, from draft to publishing, and has collaboration and review tools – cutting out the need to send emails back and forth or use expensive desktop software to track revisions.

In short, Content Management Systems allow you to easily make changes to your site without having to mess with the underlying code. (For a further discussion of the business benefits of Content Management Systems, this article has some great advice). WordPress is the most widely adopted of the open source CMS’ on the market – and we think, the best.

WordPress powers (at the time of this writing) almost 27% of the internet – more than any other content management system (CMS). Of all sites that use a CMS, WordPress is the choice of more than 51% of them. The company behind WordPress, Automattic, has the goal of powering 50% of the internet over the next number of years.

WordPress is used by CNN, CBS New York, Harvard Business Review, New York Times, The New Yorker, Vogue, TechCrunch, BBC America, Variety, MTV News, Best Buy, Xerox, the ESPN product blog, Fortune Magazine, the Facebook Newsroom, The Wall Street Journal Law Blogs, the Reuters blogs, Dole, Glad, Ebay, and Mercedes-Benz.

Government uses WordPress too: government sites in the U.S. (including the CIO.gov, the office of the U.S. Chief Information Officer and the Federal CIO Council), Canada, Great Britain, Finland, Sweden, Brazil, Italy, the Philippines, the Maldives, India, and Ireland all use it – as well as the U.S. military and the Library of Congress.

WordPress’ Significant Advantage: Market Share

WordPress is the most widely used open source CMS. This huge market share is the main reason why WordPress is such a robust tool and great choice for your website platform. All of the conveniences that come from large percentage of market share apply here:

Enterprises that achieve high market share are considerably more profitable than their smaller share rivals – which means a greater chance of survival and stability over the coming years. The explosion of software solutions for everything in the aughts also had its downside: not all companies survive; not all products continue to be developed regularly – and if the company or software you hitch your website to sinks, so does your website.

As a result of its widespread usage, WordPress has achieved great economies of scale, which can provide serious cost reductions for your business when you choose to use it.

Extensible = Low cost to add the latest website features

Because of its large community of users and active developers, there are tons of pre-made code elements available for use for WordPress – everything from e-commerce solutions to payment processors to membership site plugins to portfolio displays: If you can imagine a functionality for your website, someone has probably built something that will help you get there. This saves money on custom code development (no need for expensive coding teams and project managers to manage them) – why remake the wheel? At present, there are 40,000 free code plugins in the official WordPress repository as well as a plethora of paid plugins available.

There are at least 10,000 free and commercial WordPress themes out there in the world. Themes are the styles / setups of your site – think of them as the clothing for your content. While a pre-made theme may not be the perfect end solution for your website, many can be professionally adapted to fit the needs of your organization and updated with your branding colors, fonts, logos, and images. However, beware the bloated theme.

A huge user base –

As a result of widespread WordPress adoption, there are an explosive number of useful resources for learning how to do things in WordPress, training opportunities, and a plethora of answers to any question you might have – a google away. No need to pay for hours and hours of expensive training.

Easy to find developers

Because WordPress is so popular and driven by community development, there are a lot of web developers for WordPress out there for hire. (However, because of its ease of use in populating website content, there are a huge number of “Wordpress consultants” whose experience is in putting content in pages – not necessarily writing code and wiring up your WordPress installation to work best for your business. Be wary of that in hiring a developer.)

Also, because the WordPress platform is open source, it allows developers to customize and alter the platform to fit your business needs, unlike many proprietary solutions.

Easy updating of website code

Code updates for the WordPress Core are free and frequent. This reduces the cost of having to maintain code against vulnerabilities and to keep it current as you might have to do when using another proprietary or custom solution.

The Open source CMS vs. A Proprietary System

WordPress is an open source content management system, maintained by the 100+ staff at Automattic and legions of volunteer coders, some of the best in the world that have made a career out of their WordPress contributions. This worldwide team of developers is constantly improving and rigorously testing WordPress. There have been 19 updates to the core WordPress code this year so far.

Yes, there are other proprietary systems you could use, such as Squarespace or Wix. Proprietary systems lock you into their system (and payment plans) and it can be difficult to move your website somewhere else easily. Open source CMS is a much more flexible option and, in the long term, gives you the ability to move to various resources as you wish.

Why open source?

You own it:

WordPress gets installed on your own servers or those of your hosting service. You own everything that’s posted and created on your site – unlike some proprietary platforms. Building your website with a proprietary service is more like renting than owning, you are on their services and don’t own your website.

No limitations:

There are no limitations on the number of pages, posts or other customizations with WordPress; your site can be as small or large as you’d like. Consider that against a proprietary solution like Squarespace – their personal plan only allows for 20 pages. For an e-commerce business, that means you could only have a few products – unless you pay their monthly fee.

Did we mention it’s free:

While some argue that a great software package can’t possibly be free, or sustainably free, Automattic’s business model is profitable through a number of different avenues: allowing it to keep the core product free.

Economies of Scale come in again:

As mentioned before, with Squarespace you have to settle for what you get, there aren’t any additional features to extend your website. There are only built-in features developed by in-house developers since it’s not open source.
WordPress offers over 10,000 template themes, ranging from free to premium paid – 31,000+ plugins available for any kind of purpose.

Open source CMS options

As far as Content Management Systems go, there are three major ones in competition: WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. Each allows for the creation and management of new website content without a great deal of technical knowledge. However, over the past 10 years, WordPress has overtaken Joomla and Drupal by a large margin. Currently, WordPress is reported by BuiltWith.com to be used in around 51 percent of CMS driven websites, while Drupal is at 2% and Joomla at 7%. 35% of other CMS’ are proprietary.

With market share small among Joomla, Drupal, Magento, Express Engine and others, you have to question how easily you can find support if your current developer disappears – or consider what may happen if these systems cease to continue to operate. Clients generally find it hard to managing website CMS’ that are difficult to use or suffer when they’re locked into having a single developer or service provider be their only source to make changes

Technical Reasons why WordPress is a good choice

Marketing and Data

Because WordPress was originally designed as a blogging platform, meaning it was designed primarily as a customizable communication tool. And in sticking with the open-source ethos, WordPress was built to port out data and make it easy for other systems to connect and communicate with it. The RSS and the XML-RPC protocols have allowed WordPress sites to easily feed into RSS feeders, communicate with other data sources and more. Significant work over the last 18 months to significantly boost its JSON and Rest API will make it an even more amazing tool going forward, allowing WordPress data to be more portable to other tools and interfaces.

Super Search Engine Optimization

WordPress was built to be very, very search engine friendly through post structures, categories, tags and more. Search Engine Optimization is crucial in building your business and establishing a business online. While many website builders claim to be SEO friendly, their solutions tend towards rather basic, while WordPress allows you to fine-tune and highly optimize SEO using plugins such as Yoast SEO.

On WordPress Security

Because WordPress is so widely used, it can also be a target for hacks. We’ve cleaned up a number of client hacks, and have been hacked ourselves (but hey, the story of Summer 2016 is hack after hack after hack: and SOMEONE SUCCESSFULLY HACKED the NSA.) Along the way, we’ve learned some serious stuff.

First, Automattic employs a security team consisting of 25+ experts whose only job is to make sure the WordPress core is safe from injections, viruses, etc. They also have a Security Czar overseeing it all.

Further, 99% of WordPress vulnerabilities can be hardened against hacks, but the software doesn’t come that way out of the box – and 99% of people never bother to do the extra work to secure their installation. Most people have problems because they haven’t locked down their site. Or use really weak passwords. The have crappy shared hosting accounts that expose them to people crawling that network. Or, they simply haven’t kept their WordPress code up to date, so are missing the security patches that guard them against known vulnerabilities. (Unfortunately, when the code is updated, the vulnerabilities are made public: and this encourages hackers who didn’t know about the problem to promptly start looking for people who still have the problem because they haven’t updated.)

In the coming weeks, we’ll be writing up the ultimate guide to locking down your WordPress installation. A good development shop should ensure that your WordPress installation gets secured against all common vulnerabilities from the get-go, and organizationally you can ensure better safety by requiring complex passwords.

In short, WordPress is an excellent solution for business websites because of its open-source nature and large-scale adoption, which reduce costs through economies of scale and have the potential to increase revenue by improved conversion rates of visitors to paying customers.

We develop websites largely in WordPress because we believe in the platform, and we believe that websites are living, breathing things that need new content and updates regularly to remain fresh and a serious business tool for your business. But we also believe that it’s the best platform for many business reasons we’ve outlined above.

Interested in talking with us about WordPress as a solution for your business? Get in touch.

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