Why wordpress?

Shownotes:

Do you want to know more about WordPress and why it keeps popping up when you start talking about websites? Join me in this episode where I talk about what WordPress is, why I love using WordPress as a web designer and why you should consider using it for your business website. There are just some things in life that I truly believe is no brainer -building your website with WordPress is one of them!

Transcript:

INTRO: Hello people and welcome to another episode of the Help! My Website Sucks podcast. My name is Amy Gumbrell and I’m a freelance web designer with my company Two Cows Web. I work with all sorts of people who have one thing in common – they need help and support with their website dilemmas and perhaps you might do too. Thanks so much for joining me – I really appreciate your company. To listen to future episodes, don’t forget to hit follow on your podcast app now. On social media I’m @twocowsweb so you know what to do, that’s right pop over and say hi. I love sharing my own experiences as a web designer and some of the common questions and issues that I hear on a very regular basis. This episode is all about WordPress – finally it’s here! I’m going to talk about what it is, why I love using it and why you should consider using it for you and your business. As you can tell I am bursting to talk about it so let’s get started shall we?!

MUSIC FADES

I am genuinely so excited that I get to talk about one of my favourite subjects within web design and that is the wonder of WordPress. Now I build all my websites on WordPress for myself and clients and I live and breathe it and any of the cons are far outweighed by all the pros. So that you don’t feel this is one of those infomercials where they try to cram in the product’s name as many times as they dare, I’m going to try my best to use WP in place of WordPress throughout the rest of this episode. We’ll see how that goes shall we!

What is it?

In  a nutshell WordPress is an open source software which means that no one owns it yet many people contribute to its growth and development.  It powers roughly 1 in 4 websites you come across on the internet and includes both types of WP website. This is where things could get a tad confusing but I’m here to explain what I mean.

I only work with wordpress.org websites – those that use the software but are self-hosted. More about that in a moment. Other than for advice or guidance, I don’t do anything with wordpress.com websites. These are websites also powered by WordPress software but handled by the for-profit company, Automattic – if you have any issues with your wordpress.com site,  you liaise directly with their support team. As a web designer, I can’t really involved. This is much like if you had a problem with your Gmail account, you’d need to have a go at contacting Google direct. Good luck with that! Getting a wordpress.com website is straight forward and completely free to set up. If you want extra features you pay for them. The downside is that your level of control is understandably limited. That’s wordpress.com all out of the way. Let’s get to the nitty gritty. Why do I love using WordPress for websites? Where do I start??

For me the biggest advantage of using WordPress is the adaptability. It offers me a content management system that can be as simple or as complex as I wish. For example today I might be working on a small website with short snappy pieces of content and a couple of pages but tomorrow I might move on to deal with a large online e-commerce shop with 50+ products. WordPress offers me the flexibility to add and remove features on websites to meet a client’s exact business needs. Perfect.

You see WordPress has really got your back when it comes to choice and options. With over 5000 free themes available and many more if you pay for them, you can decide exactly how your website looks . If you need your website to do something in particular, well in WordPress you’ll need a plugin for that. And yep you’ve guessed it, there are thousands of free and paid for plugins to choose from. Naturally I’ve my own magic bag of WordPress tricks full of preferred themes and plugins that I like to use regularly and some I swear by as the best in their field. However, if I change my mind or a client wants a particular look or feature for their website, WordPress will deliver.

Another major reason for using WordPress for me really is the community. It is the ultimate in collaborative working. With so many websites online using WordPress, it figures that there are many people just like myself helping and supporting businesses up and down every country. In fact there are so many events, meetups and conferences dedicated to the wonder of WordPress. I love attending online WP-centric meetings and I look forward to attending my first in person WordCamp one day! That’s right I’m off to WordCamp baby! It is an ever developing software and for that it needs a robust and reliable bunch of developers to keep it moving. There are forums and FB groups specific to all the most popular themes and plugins so that you can connect to other developers to share ideas, raise queries and offer advice. Yep works both ways. Technology has a habit of not quite doing what its told even with those of us who immerse ourselves in it daily- a problem shared is always a problem halved in web design!

What else can I tell you about WordPress that will have you jumping for joy about this platform? How about the fact that WordPress works with other software quite nicely? Integrating a WordPress website with third party tools is a piece of pie. Companies create their tools with WordPress in mind. They know that due to the popularity of WP as a way of building a website, their current and prospective customers may also decide to use it and will want great integration with those companies tools. We’re talking about things like Google Analytics, email marketing tools such as Mailchimp and payment gateways like PayPal and Stripe. Just to name a few of course. Many others are available. It is WordPress after all.

How about the fact that WordPress has search engine optimisation built within its very being? It automatically generates title tags and meta descriptions for all of your pages and posts. These tags and descriptions let search engines like Google know about your content so that it will potentially get you noticed more and moved up the rankings. Of course I could say a lot more about SEO but for the purpose of this episodes, I’m going to give it a polite nod to the fact that WP includes it and move on.

One final advantage is that if you want to launch your new blog – WordPress is second to none. It was born to be a blogging platform. It is leaps and bounds above its competitors with features and advantages galore. We’ll explore the reasons why in a future episode so you better stay tuned.

Before I move on to the talking about some of the cons of WordPress (yep they do exist!), let’s do a quick recap about why I love WordPress. It’s flexible, scalable, the community is awesome, it integrates with 3rd party tools, offers great SEO features and for writing blogs, it is top class. So it’s about time isn’t it, let’s have a chat about what you’re up against should you decide the self-hosted WordPress route is for you.

First things first you have quite a few things you need to balance to get your website self-hosted. The learning curve is steep my friends. The very thing I find to be enthralling about WP i.e. the flexibility is the downfall of many who are new to the platform. You’ve got the host to sort, DNS settings to point, security to set up and that is just a starter for 10! Once you’ve sorted the technical aspects of the site of setting up a WordPress website, you’ve then got a ludicrously large number of choices to make regarding the themes and which plugins you’re going to use. So it’s pretty clear that a disadvantage of a WordPress site is that it can be time-consuming if you don’t know what you’re doing or perhaps you like falling down a WP shaped rabbit hole? I know I do and I do it often but if you’ve got a business to run and setting up your website is just one thing on your long list of things to do that day and it can be a bit of a pest.

For me the main thing I worry about when people tell me they’re building with WordPress, is that there are many things that can and do go wrong. By its very nature WP is open and available for anyone to develop it but it doesn’t discriminate against those doing it for good or for bad. Although it feels as if its safety in numbers with all those WordPress websites online, hackers and spam bots will find you, it is only a matter of time. If your approach to setting up your site has been a little lax, you haven’t logged in to update it in a while and couldn’t be bothered to add a robust security plugin, you leave your site wide open to meanies. If those meanies get in to your site, they could have access to all sorts of juicy information. You may lose all your hard work, you may compromise the confidential details of your paying customers or you may simply have to deal with a website that doesn’t work.  Even those who do put time and effort into looking after their websites can get into difficulties and sometimes not of their own making. Take care out there. WordPress websites need proper care, attention and handling. Please look after them.


OUTRO : Right then lovely people – that’s it for my episode all about WordPress , hope I haven’t scared you too much with that final rant about security! Cons aside, I really rate it as the ultimate website platform and I think you should definitely give it some serious consideration for your next website build!  I would love to know what you think – I’m @twocowsweb on social media so do come and find me 🙂 I’m so grateful for you listening to the podcast and I hope you’ll hit follow and never miss a future episode. Drop me a review too – I would very much appreciate it. Bye for now! P.s. WordPress is uh-may-zing!

For more information visit twocowsweb.co.uk/podcast. Help! My Website Sucks is a Vibrant Sound Media production.

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