Why WordPress Doesn't Suck for Blogging
If you're thinking about starting a blog, we've written about some key tools and methods to get you started. Maybe in your startup process, your buddy at work said Blogger is awesome, your spouse said her company uses Squarespace, and another friend swears by Wix. Team Renegade believes in the power of WordPress because it is a rich blogging platform. Michael and I have tried several, and we've both come to the conclusion that WordPress is a solid choice. We want to explain why...
When you're starting out, the most important step of all is to get up and running. Writing is job one, and you need a place to post. The next step is to publish regularly. We like to say you aren't a blogger until you've written fifty posts (maybe a hundred). As you find your groove with writing, you need to build traffic, attracting readers and building your subscriber list. With each post, your goal is to increase your engagement with the audience, which as I wrote previously, gives you a chance to learn.
THE WORDPRESS STORY
WordPress started way back in 2003 (even before Facebook!). Its creators, Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little, rescued a community of early bloggers who had lost their platform. WordPress, from a technology standpoint, is "open source", which means other folks besides Automattic (the non-profit "makers" of WordPress) can modify and extend it. Written in the PHP programming language with the MySQL database, WordPress built a loyal global audience because of its ease of use, low cost, and extensibility. To explain that, we'll dig into the size of its use and the power of the platform.
It's a staggering statistic, but over 30% of all websites use WordPress. 15 of the top 100 websites & 35% of the 10,000 most popular business sites actively use WordPress. That's WEBSITES (it does more than just facilitate blogging). OK, so to be more specific, 8 of the top 100 blogs use WordPress. It's available in almost 70 languages. To really show its popularity, would you believe that over 500 sites are built each day (that's 8 times more than Shopify or Squarespace). Reports show that 22 billion (with a B) pages are viewed each month on WordPress sites.
You may wonder why these statistics matter -- we'll get to that in a moment -- but the masses use this platform by choice. For me, it's about what the platform offers.
Going back to the goals outlined above, here are six ways WordPress meets blogger's goals.
1. You can get up and running quickly. For years, WordPress has used the tagline "Famous 5 minute install". WordPress is readily available on most paid hosting platforms, or you can just sign up your blog at WordPress.com if you want someone else to worry about it.
2. You can easily write and publish content, with little to no learning curve. If you can use a word processor, you can run a WordPress blog. Not only that, but it's a robust blogging and website development environment, meaning you can make it look good, function well, and do more over time.
3. You can improve your blog using readily available tools to monitor & promote your blog. I'll outline more about the ecosystem later, but you have access to a huge library of free and inexpensive add-ons to improve your search engine positioning, build your audience, track performance, and more.
4. WordPress is a blogging platform full of tools to engage your audience. Out of the box, you can get comments (or disable them). You can easily manage subscribers, offer email connection, and enable social sharing. Without even lifting a finger, you can connect with your tribe (assuming you're writing...).
5. No matter what you're doing, there's probably a tutorial. The WordPress community, as shown in the statistics, is HUGE. From newbies to salty veterans, there's all kinds of helpful information on how to do things (or how to fix things) when you're stuck. Got an error? Copy the error text into Google, and BAM--the answer. Looking for a new tool? Google gives you dozens of options. It's a vibrant community of enthusiasts and experts.
After many years of working in the software business, I'm tired... That's another way of saying LAZY. I would rather buy than build. I would rather get free than pay too. And WordPress takes care of my laziness by offering a rich ecosystem of extensions. Would you believe there are over 50,000 extensions to WordPress? Take THAT Wix, Blogger, Squarespace, and every other blogging platform.
So why does it matter? Well, if you're trying to build something great, you'll need more than a place that lets you enter text. WordPress's toolkit includes a broad range of "plugins" to do just about anything. Three of the biggest are WooCommerce, Akismet and Yoast SEO. WooCommerce is a world-class shopping cart and online sales tool. Akismet helps keep your community safe from spammers. And Yoast SEO, well, bakes SEO into your WordPress cake. Those are the most common needs, but there's something for almost everything. Printing custom t-shirts? Looking for a way to eliminate bots from filling out your forms? Want to make a copy of a page or post? Well, there's a number of custom t-shirt design plugins, there's a honeypot to block spammers, and you have several options to duplicate posts. Oh, and security - yes, there's that too. The library is rich, and you'll probably add a few select plugins along the way to help build your online presence.
Aside from the extensions, you also have access to about as many themes (the paint job for the house). Themes give the site its look & feel, or style. Some are free, the best ones are under $100.
One other reminder, to extend the thought from abilities listed above, is the people. With so many users of the system, there's also a lot of educational material and community support. If you have an issue, Google it. If you need to hire someone, there are many options from around the world. So many tips & tricks are a search away.
WHY WORDPRESS DOESN'T SUCK
Haters gonna hate. With such a big footprint, WordPress has its detractors, and they'll let you know. I won't say there aren't some flaws -- hacking is a definite area to be vigilant -- but your blog is in good company with WordPress. As explained here, you have many reasons to give it a good look. Having used a bunch of the options to WordPress, I wrote this post for a reason... It works better.
GET STARTED WITH WORDPRESS
We recommend Bluehost as a hosting service, and you get WordPress automatically when you sign up (I think you answer 5 questions to install and set it up). It's really that simple.
If you haven't done so already, please join us.
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