The landscape of content management systems (CMS) has been constantly changing since the beginning of the Internet age. But for some time now, this change seems to be increasingly ebbing away. If you ask for a suitable CMS solution, the answer in most cases is: WordPress. One could almost get the impression that the entire Internet consists only of WordPress websites. And indeed, WordPress has a considerable market share of over 60% among content management systems (source: statista.com / as of April 2018). Far behind following Joomla, Drupal, Magento and consorts. Whether WordPress is by far the best CMS on the market? Quite possibly, in any case, the CMS of the Californian company Automattic probably does not do everything wrong. I, too, usually use WordPress exclusively for my customers' websites. I have summarized some of the most important reasons for this in this article.
1. free and open source
2. powerful and very flexible
3. can be adjusted well
4. simple operation
5. search engine optimization (SEO)
7. optimization for mobile devices
8. various multimedia contents possible
9. integration with other services
10. user and rights management
12. data protection and DSGVO
13. WordPress gets better every day
WordPress is completely free and open source software. This means that anyone can use, modify and reproduce this CMS without any limitations. The current and previous versions can be downloaded from the official website. What many people don't know at first is that in addition to the actual free CMS (wordpress.org), there is also a paid managed WordPress hosting from the manufacturer Automattic (wordpress.com). These two different offers should therefore not be confused or mistakenly considered as one and the same.
Note: Just because WordPress itself is free, website owners still incur various costs - mostly independent of the CMS used. This already starts with the hosting of the website, which usually entails monthly or annual fees. In addition, there are numerous free plugins and themes, as well as paid "premium" versions, which offer additional functionalities. Last but not least, there are paid website services like web design, web development or support & maintenance. These are all costs that would also be incurred with another CMS and therefore do not represent a disadvantage when using WordPress.
WordPress originally became known as a blogging platform and still leads the pack in this area. Although there are many alternatives, such as Tumblr or Medium, WordPress's blogging engine is now so sophisticated that most of the competitors have their teeth cut out of it. At the same time, the operation of the blog is kept very simple for the user. Even without any programming knowledge, a multitude of functions can be used. The WYSIWYG editor, which will probably become even more powerful with the upcoming Gutenberg update, makes it particularly easy. Other functions include the insertion of various media formats or the planned publication of articles in the future; thus, content can be published when it is most suitable for one's own target group.
Although WordPress is still often used as a pure blog, it became clear quite quickly in the early years of the CMS that it can also be used for other types of websites. The team behind WordPress has quickly recognized this trend and ensured not least through numerous updates that the blogging platform continues to develop. In addition to blog posts, WordPress can also be used to create "static" pages in the traditional sense, such as those needed for a small company website. In addition, there is the possibility to create your own post types. So you can create and manage not only blog posts and pages but also portfolio entries, testimonials, galleries and much more (a separate article about custom post types will follow soon).
The number of possible WordPress extensions is increasing every day. The choice is now so immense that you can use the CMS for every conceivable type of website. You don't have to worry about the functionality, because there are already plugins and themes for almost every purpose. Only real complex web projects will usually require more effort for custom programming. Examples of conceivable websites are:
The list can be extended at will. Thanks to the large community, CMS and extensions always adapt to the current needs of WordPress users.
As I already mentioned in the previous section, there are numerous ways to customize WordPress to your own needs. The easiest and fastest way to do this is with themes and plugins. Themes take over the visual part and determine how the website looks for the visitor. Plugins are written for a specific purpose and extend the own website by a certain function. For example, there are plugins for search engine optimization, caching, spam defense, security, etc. The number of available themes and plugins now seems almost endless. Most representatives are also completely free of charge. Only more elaborate representatives usually incur one-time costs in the one- to two-digit range.
Besides themes and plugins, WordPress itself already offers various options for customizing your own website. The own dashboard is the user-friendly command center of every WordPress website, through which one has access to the most important functions and settings. Thereby the user does not have to write any code, but can fall back on the visually appealing interface
Sometimes it happens that there is no theme or plugin for the desired purpose - or you just want greater individuality, for example, in the design of the website. In this case, the CMS gives web designers and web developers easy access to make custom adjustments. The beauty of this is that you don't have to insert these changes directly into WordPress Core, the core of the system; this would be prone to errors and make it difficult to update the CMS. Instead, you use the modular "building block" system and add your own code using your own theme or plugin.
WordPress is not only easy to customize, but also easy to use. This point is especially important to me for customer websites, because I want to give every website owner the opportunity to change content themselves if necessary - without having to have any programming skills. After a targeted training and some familiarization time, it is possible for every site operator to maintain the most important content himself.
The ease of use is therefore probably one of the main reasons for the success story of WordPress. Already at the very beginning, one has paid attention to the user-friendliness of this CMS. After all, WordPress was originally developed for bloggers who are not very technically savvy and therefore want a simple user interface. The famous "5 minute installation" alone sets WordPress apart from the competition.
Updating the CMS and components is also kept user-friendly: this is done (theoretically) with just one click in the dashboard. But beware: faulty updates or incompatible extensions can lead to the website not working properly later on, or sometimes not working at all. Therefore, always make a backup beforehand and, if necessary, have critical updates done by a professional (for customers we have, for example, own WordPress Support & Maintenance Plans created).
If you really don't know how to use it, you will quickly find what you are looking for on the Internet. Because: Learning materials (articles, videos, images, podcasts) as well as solutions to known questions & problems for WordPress abound. A good place to start is, for example, the official WordPress Support Portal.
An important topic for almost all websites: the ranking at the relevant search engines like Google, Bing and Co. WordPress is already very search engine friendly by default. The fact that search engines rank WordPress-based websites very well in their own rankings is based on various statements - partly also from Google employees like Matt Cutts. Those who want to do even more for the search engine ranking can additionally install one of the numerous SEO plugins, which complement other SEO tools. One of the best and most well-known representatives is definitely Yoast SEO, which I install and configure on every WordPress website.
Some points, which WordPress fulfills in the field of SEO, are for example the following:
To conclude on this point, it should be said that there is of course more to a good search engine ranking than using WordPress. Nevertheless, it is a great advantage to use a CMS that already fulfills many important SEO basics.
Website security is becoming increasingly important as attacks on online presences continue to grow. It is therefore advisable for website operators to take basic security precautions. After all, a hacked website can cause a great deal of damage, both to the company and to visitors to the site.
Since WordPress is the most popular CMS, it is particularly often the victim of attacks. Of course, the CMS author and the large community have this on their radar, which is why not only basic protection mechanisms have been implemented, but updates are also available at regular intervals. An automatic update mechanism since WordPress version 3.7 also performs smaller security updates, that is, those that have only a small risk of conflict with existing themes and updates, themselves.
In addition, there are various security plugins that can be installed optionally. These include the well-known plugins "Wordfence", "iThemes Security", "All in One WP Security" and many more. If these are configured correctly, there is already a very good protection against known attack possibilities.
Ultimately, however, it is also true that security vulnerabilities are often caused by the user (admin) of the site. Two popular examples are bad passwords and outdated versions of WordPress core, plugins and/or themes. As a website owner, you should therefore take special care and address website security. It is also advisable to create regular backups of one's website, so that in case of an emergency, a cleaned up and functioning version of the website can be quickly put back online.
Optimizing the website for mobile devices is now one of the absolute basics website basics. WordPress comes with all the important tools to make a website responsive - that is, so that it adapts to any screen size. Also the WordPress themes and the WordPress dashboard are optimized for this purpose. A clear advantage for visitors, contributors and search engines (the latter prefer websites optimized for mobile devices).
With WordPress, all common multimedia content can be used. Whether images, videos, audio or documents, the integration is virtually nothing in the way. A variety of file extensions are supported, which should be sufficient for almost all purposes. These include jpg, png, gif, pdf, doc, pptx, mp3, mp4, mov, avi, etc. If a particular file format is not supported, such as the increasingly popular SVG, there is usually a simple workaround for this (for example, this website also uses SVG vector images).
The multimedia content is managed in the media library. This is often sufficient for smaller websites. If you want more functions, you can realize this with plugins. Then the creation of subfolders and galleries is also possible.
Embedding multimedia content is easy with the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor, so even beginners should have no problems.
WordPress provides an ideal basis for linking with other services and platforms. For the most popular representatives, there are usually one or even several plugins that make connecting very easy. Most of these services fall into the areas of social media, online marketing, email marketing, analytics, live chat, payment service providers, backup & security, and content delivery network. In addition, services such as "zapier" or "ifttt" can be used to link many other services by allowing users to create event-based automations entirely according to their own preferences. A simple example: "Send a message to a specific Slack channel as soon as a new user has registered.
For a CMS, the user and rights management belongs to the small 1mal1. WordPress has done its homework here and offers all the functions you need in this area. Thus, several people can work on the website without having to give each user the full administration rights. The preset user roles look like this:
If the own website is interesting for a multilingual audience, then the content should also be provided in the respective languages, for example in German and in English. While there is no basic function in WordPress that enables multilingualism, there are some very powerful plugins that do exactly this job. Popular are for example "WPML", "Multilingual Press" and "Polylang". With these plugins you can create a so-called "Multisite", which then provides the content for different languages. Especially practical: in addition to the actual basic function of making the website multilingual, these plugins provide many helpful tools to work more efficiently with external translators.
For current reasons, the efforts of Automattic and the WordPress community to keep the CMS data protection compliant should be mentioned here as an advantage for the use of WordPress. This includes, in particular, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force in May 2018. Automattic has created a GDPR compliance team dedicated exclusively to this topic. This includes in particular the creation of a core policy, a plugin policy, various data protection tools and related documentation.
"Some Things Get Better With Age" - WordPress is definitely one of them. Automattic employs some of the best developers in the industry to constantly develop the CMS. This includes not only security updates, but also the addition of completely new features. But the real star behind the success of WordPress is still the community. As an open source project, everyone can contribute to WordPress, for example in the form of themes or plugins. Thus, new extensions are added daily, which can usually be used completely free of charge.
In summary, I can say that WordPress is by far the best CMS at the moment from my point of view and is best suited for the multitude of website types. You are not a WordPress user yet? Then I strongly recommend you to start your first WordPress project.
What is your opinion about WordPress? Feel free to leave your opinion and ideas as a comment.