Why do we use WordPress to build websites? It’s the question you probably want answered as there are many other platforms out there. You’ve heard of Wix and Fiverr, so why not just use them to whip up a quick website in minutes?
Well, there’s no such thing as a quick and easy website. Not if you are serious about your business. Actually, the last thing you want is to use some builder or theme for your business website.
What you need is a bespoke website built on a platform everyone knows and loves.
It’s all fine and dandy using a platform everyone knows, but there are very important reasons behind this decision.
Let’s get to it!
What is WordPress
Before getting into the reasons behind why we use WordPress to build websites, let’s explain what WordPress is. Just in case you are unfamiliar with WordPress or just starting to look at how you can have your business website made.
If you are just looking at having a website made for your business, be sure to check out our services.
Without getting into too much detail – WordPress is a content management system (CMS). We’ll refer to the content management system to CMS from here on out. Content management system sure is a mouthful to say every time, isn’t it?
Well, a CMS allows you to dynamically add content to your website whenever you want. Whether you are at home or in the office, you simply just need to log into the admin panel (this is the place where you can maintain your whole website) and update your content. It really can be that simple.
So, why do we use WordPress?
Why We Use WordPress
It makes life easy
WordPress actually makes developing websites your business a pleasant process.
Without getting into the technical details (who really cares about all that so long as website works anyways?), WordPress makes a developer’s life easy. They can focus on the actual design and functionality of your website without having to set up a database (the database stores all your website’s data – the content) and the admin panel core functionality.
In short, the developer works with the database and admin panel rather than developing these aspects of your site from scratch.
The design and functionality of your website are critical to your website success, it must be accurate to the original design and it must function as you expect it to.
When we say function, we mean how you go about updating your website. For a simple example, let’s explain how you’d typically update your website’s homepage – you’d simply go to the home page section in the admin panel and update the various sections in that page.
These sections are actually set up by the developer and the developer makes it so these sections are displayed on the front end of your website (the front end is what you see and has the design applied).
But, how exactly is this content you add using the admin panel shown on the front end? Well, templates (the files that make up your web pages) are used.
Templates contain all the logic that makes up the structure and design of your website, they contain the logic that retrieves the data from the database. You as a user will update this database through the various sections you see on the different pages when in the admin panel.
The processes behind WordPress may be complex, but WordPress and developers make it easy for you to use.
So, the important thing to reiterate is WordPress allows your developer to focus on the design and functionality of your website all throughout development.
WordPress is Free
One of the things you probably want to hear: the WordPress core (core files) is actually free. This means we don’t have to charge extra for the platform itself. Anything to keep costs down? Right.
Because WordPress is free, you get the basic functionality that your website needs out of the box. For instance, you get pages, posts, menus, widgets. But these are just the fundamental elements that act as the basis for a truly editable, bespoke website.
There are actually two options in order to extend WordPress to make it work and behave to your business needs.
WordPress allows developers to extend the core functionality of WordPress. Out of the box, you get the standard posts, which are your blog posts. These blog posts can have categories and tags assigned to organise your posts. But, what if you need more complex organization, such as putting posts into their own section outside of posts. Take client testimonials as an example.
With client testimonials, you could actually add your testimonials to the standard posts and have a testimonial category, but in the posts section in the admin panel you’d see a mix of blogs and testimonials, you’d also see both of these being listed out on the standard blog listing page.
To add a dedicated section for client testimonials you’d use a custom post type. A custom post type is another post section in WordPress (the place where you add blog posts) but with a different name and it’s own taxonomies (categories and tags). It basically keeps everything separate and organised.
Adding a custom post type can either be done via code or a plugin. The proper way is the code way, using a plugin to add different post types (testimonials alongside posts) is just going to add unnecessary code to your business website.
This is one of the reasons you should hire a professional agency to have your business website made.
Plugins are actually one of the core concepts of WordPress, plugins are written by third-party developers, other agencies and Automattic – the people behind WordPress.
Take the code route for adding the testimonial post type, the code used to create a custom post type can actually be implemented into a plugin allowing a non-developer to add custom post types.
In short, the plugin will allow you to add your own custom posts types using a friendly interface in the admin panel rather than writing a block of code.
This is all well and good for themes that are used by many people, but it’s going to add unnecessary code to a custom website.
There are actually some instances where plugins should be used. WooCommerce is one worth mentioning here.
WooCommerce transforms your standard blogging website into a fully-fledged eCommerce website. WooCommerce is also now owned by Automattic, the people behind WordPress.
This means it isn’t maintained by a third party developer or developers, but by the people who maintain WordPress.
The thing with plugins is you need to be wary of what plugins to use and not to use. In some cases, it makes perfect sense to use them (like the WooCommerce example) and cases where it doesn’t make sense (the custom post type example).
What does all of this mean though? Well, it allows your designer and developer to really make a bespoke website for your business using WordPress.
The designer does not have to worry about any extreme limitations
The developer can focus on your website page templates (the pages that make up your website)
WordPress and WooCommerce
WooCommerce is actually a prime reason as to why you should be using WordPress for your business if you need an eCommerce website.
We already know it’s part of a plugin maintained by the people behind WordPress, but just like WordPress, WooCommerce is actually free and works on the same model.
You can either add custom functionality via code or extend WooCommerce with additional plugins (just like WordPress).
Let’s look at an example to make this clear. Say you are running a business that accepts bookings. For example, you could be running a hotel and need to accept bookings for all the different rooms you have.
With WooCommerce you can’t actually accept bookings out of the box. In order to accept bookings, you need WooCommerce bookings.
With bookings, you are able to run a business that accepts bookable time slots. Without getting into detail, bookings lets you set dates and times for a bookable product (this would be dates and times for a room if you were running a hotel).
This means you are not given every feature out of the box. If this were the case you’d more than likely have to pay for WooCommerce. This also helps keep your website as lightweight as possible. Here’s a detailed post on WooCommerce https://www.canny-creative.com/how-much-does-woocommerce-cost/
This is what makes WooCommerce and WordPress great, the fact that you can extend the base functionality on a per-project basis. This works because every project is unique, just like your business is unique from any other business out there.
It allows us to build and add exactly what’s needed, meaning less code and a better performing website.
This is ofcourse if the website has been designed and developed properly.
Why you should use WordPress
WordPress is easy to manage
It’s all well and good if an agency uses WordPress and WooCommerce, but why should you use these?
Well simply put, it lets you keep your website updated from the software aspect side of things to your actual content.
Content is important. It’s what drives traffic to your website . This isn’t the post to be talking about content in depth so be sure to check out that blog post, but what’s important to understand it WordPress makes it easy for you to add, edit, update and maintain your content.
There are various reasons as to why it makes all content efforts easy. WordPress is the platform everyone seems to know, therefore, it’s a natural step in the right direction for having the right website made for you and your business. After all, if everyone else can use it why can’t you?
The other reasons as to why WordPress makes it easy for you to maintain content comes down to different factors. One important factor to mention is how your website has been developed in WordPress, which we’ll get to later.
For an easy example to put this into context, say you wanted to edit the content on your home page. In WordPress, you would go to the “home page”, then when on the home page you will see various sections that make up the homepage. These various sections could be hero, about, services, any call to actions. The header and footer that’s also part of the home page can be edited from widgets and menus.
But, depending on how your website was made in WordPress this may differ.
The other areas of your website that WordPress lets you update include any plugins or themes you have installed.
There is a dedicated section for plugins and themes. But, updating plugins can actually break your website so it’s important to make a backup first. This is one of the reasons that you should hire a professional agency to get your business website designed and developed.
WordPress is SEO friendly
Just like content is extremely important, SEO is another important factor. It’s fine having a well-made website with good content. But, you need a way to monitor your site’s performance. With WordPress monitoring, SEO can be easy.
There is a popular plugin called Yoast SEO. When you are updating/adding content to your website using WordPress Yoast analysis the content on your website ranging from readability to the meta-information (the information you see in the list of Google results).
Yoast SEO also works with WooCommerce, you can see all the same information for products that you see with the general pages/posts.
We previously mentioned that content is important and that it drives traffic to your website, well having good content is a step in the right direction on the towards your SEO success. But in order to have good content, you need a plan in place .
So, once you have a plan in place with WordPress you can easily monitor your site’s SEO at all times.
WordPress makes it easy for bespoke customisations
Remember when we mentioned menus and widgets? Well, these add the bespoke customisations on top of the ability to add/edit pages and posts.
For example, let’s take the footer. The footer section of your website could have three different sections – the general site links, the legal menu and logo along with the social media links (social media icons).
With menus, you can add/edit/delete as many menu items as you want. This means if you have general site links in your footer and you delete a page or add a new page – you can easily manage the links in the footer.
Now for the widgets – widgets let you add many different types of features to a webpage. The general place for the widget area is the blog sidebar.
With widgets, you can actually add a menu, blog categories, blog tags, a search bar and even custom HTML (if you know a bit of code).
Say you were a serious blogger and wanted people to easily find your other blog posts whilst on the blog single page – you could add the tags widget and make it so people can easily access posts of a similar type (similar posts will have the same tag of the current blog post).
There is one more feature worth talking about whilst we are on the subject of customisability and that’s shortcodes.
Shortcodes work great for call to actions within a blog post. If you happen to write a long blog post, it’s good practice to include a nice call to action.
Call to actions, in general, have a short bit of introductory text along with a button link, you need a way to add this to your blog content.
If you know a bit of HTML you probably could add this CTA yourself, but you really need an easy way to add the CTA – the easy way would be the use of a shortcode.
A shortcode actually outputs HTML to your webpage with the use of a simple line of text in square brackets. Here’s an example…
These types of features can be added on a per-project basis (menu areas, widget areas, and shortcodes). If you have a fully bespoke website designed and developed for your business you will end up with the features you just need.
On the other hand, if you pick a theme from a market place you’ll end up with many menu and widget areas and no doubt a plethora of shortcodes to pick from. This can have implications on your website’s performance – we’ll get to this soon.
Whilst we are on the topic of bespoke customisations. If you need a page that’s totally flexible in terms of layout, a page builder can actually be created in WordPress. For an example of what can be done – checkout Centre Stage’s photography website.
WordPress can scale with your business
As you are now aware, WordPress can be modified via custom code or plugins and that templates make up the pages of your WordPress website.
Well, as your business grows extra features/pages can be added as and when you need. For instance, let’s say you want to start selling products – WooCommerce can be added. Or let’s say you want to expand the services you offer, a new page template can be created for your new product or service.
The other types of feature that WordPress offers is user roles. Let’s say you have a serious blog on your website and it’s becoming so popular that you need a dedicated blogger. With WordPress, you can create dedicated user roles that only let you do specific things.
With the blogger example, the person assigned the blogger role will only be able to add/edit or delete posts (your blog posts).
WordPress can actually handle hundreds to thousands of logged-in users.
On the topic of thousands of users, your website could potentially get thousands of page views per day, you could also have a search bar where people can search for specific pages or posts. WordPress can handle all of this.
Because SEO is easy to stay on top of with WordPress your website can perform exceptionally well in search engines giving you the best chance of success.
Things to look out for
Ease of use (updating and maintaining your website).
We know WordPress websites are easy to manage, but this comes down to how your website has been developed. If you’ve chosen an agency to design and develop your WordPress website you can be sure it will be made right and fit your business needs perfectly.
On the other hand, if you’ve chosen a theme from a theme marketplace your WordPress website will be like 1000s of others out there who are using the same theme.
Because themes are used by many other businesses, themes need to be highly customisable.
The types of customisations that can be made with themes, in general, include the customisations we have previously touched on and more. With themes, you can actually change the brand colours of the whole website via the theme customiser.
You will also be presented with many different widget areas, many different page templates to choose from (full width, ¾ width, with a sidebar), many different menus and loads of shortcodes.
Each one of these features will start to add more and more code to your website, this extra code will remain in the core files whether or not you are using them. This is because the code that adds these extra features exists in your theme files and are available for you to use at any time.
This extra code will make your total website file size larger than they really need to be, thus, slowing down your website.
Themes also use the theme customiser which is used to change the brand colours of your website – again, this adds even more code to your website.
You have probably noticed this yourself or have heard other people say “my website seems slow” or “not very responsive”. There are other factors that contribute towards this, but the above points can have a negative impact on the performance of your website.
Now back to the ease of use – we mentioned before this comes down to how your website has been designed and developed.
If you take all the extra features that come with themes, these can become a nightmare to deal with. You’ll be wondering what does what (what shortcodes do I have access to, what are the best ones to use). Or you may end up spending countless hours in the theme customiser trying to get your website to look just right.
On the other hand, if you have a website made specifically for your business, you will end up with a responsive, speedy website that performs. Once developed and tested, it will work and perform as you expect. There’ll be no code bloat from the theme customiser and there won’t be hundreds of shortcodes to pick from.
Now that we’ve discussed why we use WordPress, why you should use it and what to look out for. It’s time to look at what other platforms are available, this will provide a good comparison between platforms and help enforce why we use WordPress.
To keep this short and to the point, we will look at “popular” alternative that people seem to use.
One we will mention is Wix. Wix is actually a website builder (drag and drop) and you’ve probably heard of Wix either from personal experience or from a friend, family member or colleague.
With Wix, you use a drag and drop builder. It even goes as far as creating a website for you using artificial intelligence, using this process will ask you a series of questions and build a website based on how you answer the questions.
However, Wix does actually provide you with the options to add custom code. So, if you need that bit of extra functionality you can add it. But, if you aren’t a coder you may struggle adding the extra functionality you need.
Wix can actually hurt your website in terms of responsiveness. This is because Wix uses a technique called absolute positioning – this technique creates pixel-perfect designs that stay in the same position at different screen sizes.
This can actually cause problems if you have a lot of elements on your webpage. This could especially be the case if you are building out the website yourself and are not a designer or developer.
We have actually written a blog post on what other platforms are available to build websites . Be sure to check it out if you’d like to learn more.
So, what point are we getting here? Well, using Wix can have the same type of side effects as using themes for WordPress. Code bloat.
With Wix you have no control of what code is generated, you have to rely on Wix. Even with Wix’s code editor, Wix’s code still exists behind the scenes and if anything, you’ll be adding even more code on top of this through the code editor.
Conclusion: Why we use WordPress to Build Websites
As you can see, the reasoning behind using WordPress is, well, reasonable.
These reasonable terms are as follows:
- It makes life easy
- WordPress is free
- WordPress can be modified with custom code or with the use of plugins
- WordPress allows us to create highly customisable pages
- WordPress can be transformed into a fully-fledged eCommerce platform with WooCommerce
- WordPress is easy to manage
- WordPress is SEO friendly
- WordPress makes it easy for bespoke customisations
- WordPress can scale with your business
Lastly, the things to look out for include:
- Website builders
reading time: 19 minutes