Should you be impressed with WordPress?

We’ve come a long way since the days of asking “Does my business need a website?” Now the conversation starts with “What’s the best way to go about creating, or re-creating, a website for my business?” Having control over your site and its content, especially being able to easily make changes and updates as your business grows and changes, is a top priority for many. That’s where a content management system (CMS) comes in. A CMS can extend the lifetime of your website significantly because you are able to keep it fresh over time.

I recommend starting with a platform that is both free and totally customizable. Enter WordPress. WordPress is an open-source content management system that will pass the test in any of the four main categories of CMS functionality: content creation, content management, publishing, and presentation. Because of its flexibility, it is one of the most popular platforms in the world with over 50 percent of all CMS sites being built on WordPress. That’s more than 15 million websites worldwide currently running on WordPress. To put it into perspective, Drupal, the closest open-source CMS competitor to WordPress, runs fewer than 800,000 sites.

The benefits of using open-source.
There are many proprietary CMS software options out there, but don’t let a higher price tag make you think you’re really getting more for your money. Open-source means there are hundreds of developers contributing to maintaining and updating the code, which is more than most commercial platforms use. With that many eyes on it, they’re sure to find bugs and fix them quickly. This ensures you’re getting a high-quality product that is also secure.

Another big reason to go with open-source is transparency. Even if there are flaws in WordPress, you are able to find out about them. “With closed source software, you have nothing but the vendor’s claims telling you that they’re keeping the software secure and adhering to standards, for example. It’s basically a leap of faith. The visibility of the code behind open source software, however, means you can see for yourself and be confident.” More developers and users also mean more support. It’s incredibly easy to find answers to WordPress issues on forums, on support sites, and through YouTube videos leading you step by step to a solution.

Flexibility, customizability, and freedom are the next three major advantages to going open-source. With proprietary platforms, you are locked in to using that particular vendor, and they can dictate price and require costly updates (on their timetable). Open-source code means you can edit and customize it as needed. With proprietary platforms, this is not the case. You must go through the vendor to make changes to the functionality (and more changes = more $$$). Of course, I’ve already mentioned the startup cost advantage to going open-source (free), and because it’s free, you can try it without making a big monetary commitment.

Some real-world examples.
WordPress is not limited to any one industry. Some examples of how truly customizable and flexible it is can be seen with news organizations like The New Yorker, entertainment sites like BBC America, and online retailers like BestBuy. You’ve probably started and ended your online experience using exclusively WordPress sites and not even realized it.

If you’re still not convinced, let’s look at a few major brands that trust WordPress to power their websites.

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Spreading the WP love.
Clearly I’ve got some strong opinions about the benefits of using WordPress, which is why Crowley Webb is opening its doors tonight for a WordPress workshop. This event, by the Advertising Club of Buffalo and titled “AdLab Skillshop: WordPress,” is exclusive to Ad Club members. At the sold-out workshop, I will educate attendees on how they can get started using WordPress without needing any coding skills. We’re excited to spread our WordPress knowledge to others in our industry and even to a couple of our competitors.

Keep an eye on our social channels for #AdLabSkillshop for live tweets and posts from the event.