What is WordPress?
WordPress is a web authoring platform that can be used to quickly and easily build and launch a professional-looking website design. Since it was launched in 2003 as a platform for blogs, its widespread use, support, and flexibility have turned it into the most popular business website software.
To be more specific WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS). Open source basically means anyone can download, examine, and modify the code, for free! As a result of this, there is a massive amount of third-party development tools and plug-ins. These extend the utility and functionality of WordPress.
There are two different ways to get and use WordPress. WordPress.com is a hosted option that includes free and paid website packages and already has everything you need for a WordPress website already installed on their server. On the other hand, WordPress.org allows you to download the WordPress software (for free!) and install it on the server of your choice.
For commercial uses, WordPress.org is the better option as this allows more flexibility and fewer restrictions on plug-ins. Many hosting providers also include WordPress pre-installed with their packages.
Website Design Themes
One of the factors that have led to the mass adoption of WordPress is the availability of themes that customize the appearance and structure of your site for almost any purpose. From blogs, galleries to business-specific designs there are several options for whatever you want to do, available for free or at a nominal cost. Themes can also be easily configured to better suit your needs.
Commercially available themes often come with several variants that can be swapped out to find the best version for your website. In addition, individual elements, such as colors, fonts, and images can be edited to achieve the exact look that fits your business.
Always test any web design changes for desktop and mobile viewing, as customization can break the design in other formats.
The other major advantage of WordPress is the availability and support for plug-ins. Plug-ins allow you to quickly add functionality to a site with a minimum of coding. Need to add a slideshow, video player, or a form that submits user data to your CRM? There is probably already a plug-in that does what you want. This can save hours of coding and money when launching a site.
Many plug-ins are available for free as well. Many of the commercial plug-ins have the option of a free version, possibly with reduced functionality, for non-commercial use. In addition, there is often have a pro version without these restrictions at a small fee.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Ranking well on the search engines is important to any business and WordPress sites are search-engine friendly. SEO plug-ins allow you to monitor factors like keyword density, metadata, and schema markup and make suggestions on how to improve them.
Integrating with Google Analytics, Google Search Console and an SEO plug-in provides a WordPress site a strong suite of analytics tools and SEO oversight.
With so many WordPress sites out there it has developed into one of the most reliable and well-supported platforms available. Your business needs a robust web platform because downtime is lost money to any business.
In addition, with WordPress’s userbase, there is most likely someone who has had the same issues you have had and posted about it in an online forum.
WordPress has grown to be the most popular business website design platform for some key reasons. Being free, open-source, and remarkably robust and flexible at launch has made it a favorite with developers and early adopters.
As the most popular platform today WordPress also has the largest pool of users to help with issues and support. For this reason there are forums, user groups, and for commercial users their official support.
Protecting your site’s integrity, your user’s data, and fending off hostile actions are increasingly important. With WordPress’s popularity, it is also a big target for the less reputable forces out there. This is why it’s important to have an experienced team managing your site and enforcing security standards.
WordPress sites can be very secure but this requires a qualified professional to troubleshoot potential issues and ensure best practices.
Web Design Best Practices
It’s important to remember that building a website is not a simple process and should be approached with the same care that would be taken in building a brick and mortar store. Launching a WordPress site can be deceptively easy, but can lead to frustration and problems if not done correctly.
Having a clear plan and goals is critical to web design. Be realistic about the scope and target audience. Website design is no different than designing software or other products, they must be efficient and reliable to compete in the marketplace.