These days, businesses have countless choices when it comes to building a new site. From other content management systems (CMS) such as Drupal and Joomla, to the recent growth of long form publishing platforms like Medium and eCommerce-specific options like Shopify, WordPress is facing some serious competition.
We may be a bit biased here, but in our opinion, WordPress is still the best choice for most small business websites, e-commerce sites, and blogs.
This is because WordPress has a number of features that make it user and owner friendly, with four advantages in particular, that make it a solid choice for all kinds of sites.
WordPress = Full Ownership of Everything
Platforms like Shopify and Medium definitely have some awesome features, but they can’t beat WordPress in a very important area, which is vested ownership of site files in the publisher or site owner.
When you post on platforms that are not hosted on your own server or account, and in your own name, you don’t control or own the actual files that form the components of the resulting pages. The chosen platform does. You obviously still retain copyright over your words, but the site files themselves don’t belong to you.
You may be asking why that’s important. Well, it may not be, until the platform changes its pricing structure, and prices itself right out of your budget. Should that happens, you’ll be back where you started, except that you’ll face another challenge… having to reconstruct all your hard work on some other platform.
Some platforms can also vanish almost overnight, shutting their digital doors on you and all your hard work. What happens if your borrowed platform vanishes for good? Can you get backup files of your pages? Will those files be in a format that can be easily transferred to another server?
With self-hosted WordPress, you’re the owner of all the site files. You can create as many backups of your site, as often as you’d like, and change to a different server or hosting set-up any time you’d like. A backup plugin like BackupBuddy or UpdraftPlus enables you to easily migrate your site to its new server with a few mouse clicks.
Also important, no one can use your content to support some other business, cause, or product, without your consent. You decide if and how your content is monetized, and to what extent. That’s your income, not someone else’s.
WordPress = Greater Customization & Control
WordPress is completely customizable and lets the site owner have full control of every possible aspect of the site’s appearance, content, and functionality.
You decide what you want your site and each of its pages to look like. You control the content, whether it’s text, images, video, or any other type of media, and how it’s all arranged on the page. You decide how the site is structured. Membership sites, multi-user sites, eCommerce stores, blogs, message boards, portfolios, whatever elements you want to include on your site, WordPress can handle them all.
What about eCommerce sites? It’s true, WordPress originated as a blogging platform. But it can easily handle complex e-commerce sites that deal with many thousands of transactions. Even still, a platform like Shopify, might seem to be a preferable alternative.
But today’s business plan can change tomorrow. What happens if your business evolves to move past eCommerce in six months, or a year? WordPress’s flexibility isn’t all about aesthetics, it also supports a wide range of functionality.
Wouldn’t you rather use a platform which supports your business, both now and in the future, no matter what changes occur?
WordPress = Easy To Use
WordPress gets a bunch of unfair critiques concerning its learning curve, but if you’ve used WordPress, you’d know that if you can work in Microsoft Word, or really just about any kind of email program, you can learn how to operate WordPress.
Any site technology that’s new to you will require some time for adjustment, and you’ll have to learn how to finish simple tasks. But that’s true of any site platform choice. And honestly, WordPress’ learning curve is somewhat steeper than some choices, like Medium in particular. But that’s because it offers so much more control, and so many more creative options.
By and large, the most common site administration tasks — adding content, creating and publishing new pages, sharing new images and video — are fairly straightforward in WordPress. And with the large, robust, and generous community of WordPress users and developers, you’ll find an answer to just about any question you might have.
WordPress = Friendly To All Budgets
WordPress is open source, plus it’s free to use. This means that your only required expenses are usually the cost of hosting, and the cost of registering a domain, which you’d have to pay anyway, unless you’re using a sub-domain, like blog.site.com.
What this means for new site owners, that are often on shoestring budgets, is that you can get your site up and running at a minimized cost.
Most alternatives though, either charge a recurring monthly fee, that can sometimes be steep, or assign you a sub-domain to use, which can be much harder for users to remember and type into the address bar.
Will WordPress always be the best solution, no matter what type of site you’re building? Probably not. Most developers would agree that WordPress is the best choice for building certain websites, but that it depends on the client’s needs, and that it’s not appropriate for every situation.
Also, no site platform will ever be perfect for every single website, which is why all the new options are a very good thing for both owners and developers.