There are a lot of tools available to build a website, and the list of options is growing every day. While that could make it harder to choose how you want to make your website, It can also be easier to decide based on support, security, upgrades, and the ability to customize your site. Whether for your business website, personal blog, or marketing site, WordPress is a good choice as either a starter or a long-term investment.
When it comes to site builders, companies like Squarespace and Wix make it easy to get something out there quickly. Users often run into trouble when they try to expand their websites to include new features like contact forms, an online store, or other ways to reach their clients. This is where a content management system like WordPress can step in.
What is a Content Management System?
A Content Management System (more commonly seen as CMS for short), can be pretty self explanatory: it’s a system to manage your content! But what does that really mean?
Let’s say you want to add an about page to your site. You spend plenty of time finding the right photos, crafting the text, and linking to other pages on your site. In a CMS you can take all of that and put it into an easy to manage interface, almost like typing up a Word document. Without a CMS you’ll have to learn the vagaries of code and ensure that you don’t save something incorrectly. Want to update your content without a CMS to help you? Don’t forget to make changes to the site files, save them, upload them via FTP or your hosting account, and check that they look right. If you need to change them again, the whole process starts anew.
With a CMS like WordPress for your website, you can preview changes with the push of a button. When you are happy with your content, pressing update on a page makes it live for all of your visitors. It’s simpler to add, update, edit, and delete things from your website at will.
In addition to the ease of editing content, WordPress offers a way to add endless functionality to your site.
Top Reasons to Use WordPress
- WordPress is Free – You can go to wordpress.org right now and download a copy of the WordPress software to do whatever you want with it.
- WordPress is Customizable – Want to run an eCommerce site? How about a lead generator? A community around a specific topic? All of these things and more can be done with add-on software for WordPress, called plugins, that can often be downloaded for free as well.
- WordPress is Well Supported – Oftentimes you don’t even need to download and install WordPress yourself. Most web hosts have applications setup to make it easy to start a new site.
- The WordPress Community – There is a robust community of people around WordPress, including designers, developers, marketers, bloggers, accessibility and security experts, and more. Anyone can suggest changes to the software, and the community is there to implement the best ones. If you want to make changes to your site, someone probably has code and tutorials available for whatever needs you have.
How do I Get Started?
There are plenty of guides on starting a new WordPress site online, but they all basically come down to the same steps:
- Find a domain that you like and register it (my preference is [eafl id=”1158″ name=”NameCheap” text=”NameCheap”] for registration. Their name says it all!)
- Choose a host for your website. Though WordPress is itself free, you still need some place to put your site so that others can see it! I trust [eafl id=”1157″ name=”SiteGround” text=”SiteGround”] with most of my sites, as they have great plans for every level, and top-notch customer support.
- Setup your site. This step is the longest of all, and involves choosing a theme, plugins, and more. If those terms are foreign to you, it’s ok, check out our guide to WordPress for how to get started.