Have you ever wondered, “Should I use WordPress to build a business website or use something else?”
In this episode I explain why WordPress is still the best choice for building professional business websites.
Transcription Episode 98: #AskDerek: Why Use WordPress For Building Your Business Online
Nowadays, there’s so many different options. When I started building websites back in, oh, my goodness, the late 1990s, all we had was HTML and Notepad, and then eventually tools like Dreamweaver came around, and allowed us to kind of make it a little bit easier to build websites.
But now there’s all these online modern website building platforms that can whip up cool looking websites in minutes. But, building a website, there’s so many things you need to take into consideration, and if you get hooked on the wrong platform, that can cause you an absolute ton of pain and agony down the road, when you’re trying to unravel yourself from that platform.
So, in this episode, I’m going to share with you eight reasons that honestly, I truly believe, WordPress is your number one choice for building websites. Not Wix, not Weebly, not any website builder, not Joomla, not Drupal, not even Shopify.
Let me preface this also by saying that I’m not being paid by WordPress to say this. I want you guys to make the right choice. When you’re creating websites, building it on the right platform is going to save you time, it’s going to save you money, it’s going to save you headache.
So, getting this right the first time is important. Here’s why I believe WordPress is the best choice for 90% of the websites being built out there today.
Now first of all, number one, availability. WordPress itself is built into nearly every major web hosting service as a free install. One click of a button, you can have it set up, and look, there’s already thousands of designs and tools and stuff that you can tap into to set up a simple blog, to set up a full blown eCommerce website.
You name it, WordPress can do it. WordPress is supported by basically every host out there.
WordPress itself, bringing us to the next reason, it’s very search engine friendly. At the very foundation of WordPress is site structure that works very well for getting ranked in Google.
WordPress with a couple key plugins, like Yoast SEO for WordPress, or SEOPressor, with a few of these really powerful plugins, we can quickly optimize our websites. These plugins will actually coach you how to better optimize your websites, automatically creating sitemaps, doing all these things that you need to do if you want to rank in Google.
So, at this point I’ve got lots of websites that are maybe a commerce website, but every website I create, I always have a WordPress component to it, because that’s the part that I always use to optimize, to get that organic traffic.
Reason number three, (and remember, these reasons are in no particular order, but they are my reasons) revision control.
With other website builders, you delete something, it’s gone. One of the reasons I love WordPress is it’s got such fantastic built in revision control. So, if you’re ever working on something and you need to go back to an older version of a page or something like that, you can easily, easily restore that, using the built in revision control.
And beyond that, backing up WordPress is dead easy. If I break my website, at any given time I’ve got a backup that’s only a day or two old, using plugins like Updraft that backs it up automatically.
So, undoing issues with a WordPress website can be very, very easy, whether it’s restoring it from a full backup using a simple plugin, or whether it’s just pulling a page, and going back to the older version of a page.
The other thing I love about WordPress as well, is if I enable a plugin and it breaks something, I can just disable that plugin, right? Same with themes. You have this ability to unravel stuff very, very quickly.
This brings me to reason number four, and that is plugin support.
If you’re not familiar with WordPress, basically if you want to add features and functionality above the theme, you use plugins. Now, WordPress has over 30,000 plugins in their plugin directory, but all those plugins aren’t great. Some of those plugins aren’t well supported, but that said, there are thousands of incredible plugins out there, many of which are free and will allow you to basically add any piece of functionality to your website with the click of a button.
As well as giving you the ability to integrate with just about any other platform out there. If you go to any email marketing or eCommerce or marketing type, business type tool for websites, there is a high likelihood that they’re just going to automatically integrate with WordPress. Now, the same can’t be said for Joomla or Drupal, those kind of platforms, Wix or Weebly.
But the fact of the matter is that every major email marketing tool out there, SEO, you name it, integrates with WordPress. You’ve got this massive, massive ecosystem of tools and plugins that are already created, that allow you to automatically integrate.
Now, if you go with these other platforms, sure, you may be able to integrate, but you’re going to have to hire developers. You’re going to have to do custom API work, stuff like that, which can get very, very expensive, very, very quickly.
Which brings me to the fifth point. The huge development community.
If you’re unfamiliar with WordPress, WordPress is what is called open source software. Open source means they don’t hide the code, which means people can develop add-ons for it, and they’ve designed the core of WordPress in such a way that people can add functionality, features, themes, designs.
As a result WordPress has grown to become effectively the number one website building platform in the world, with over 100 million websites running WordPress, there’s this huge ecosystem of designers and developers that exist out there today.
So, look, if you’re not techy, you don’t have to be, because you can hire somebody to just do it for you. There’s so many developers on WordPress that you can tap into on Upwork, on Fiverr, on any of these platforms. You can get stuff done, stuff fixed, stuff added, for dollars, very, very quickly, ’cause you have such a massive, massive development community to choose from.
Now, this brings me to reason number six, and this is a real important one because I’ve seen this one stymie a lot of people. When you decide to build your website using a proprietary or contained platform, like a Wix or a Weebly, or even a Shopify, you lose flexibility. You’re restricted by the boundaries that they put on you within their own software.
Because those platforms aren’t open source. You cannot truly customize them to do whatever you want. Whereas, with WordPress, you basically have the option to make WordPress look and feel like anything you want, which is not the case with a lot of these different platforms.
Now, Shopify is a fantastic platform. If you’re doing eCommerce and you want to use Shopify, by all means do so. I love Shopify for its flexibility, its power, its scalability, its integration, stuff like that, for eCommerce, high volume eCommerce stuff.
It is fantastic if you don’t want to use something like WooCommerce, which is the commerce side of WordPress, but here’s the thing. You can still use Shopify and there’s actually a Shopify plugin for WordPress, so you could even pull that into your WordPress website and still have the scalability of WordPress.
My point here is this, is WordPress allows you to customize, to do whatever you want, and I’ve had so many clients, students over the years, that came to me with a Wix or a Weebly website, and once I taught them what they really needed to do to build their business online, they quickly figured out that the biggest limiting factor was going to be these contained platforms that restricted what they could actually do.
So, will there be a little bit more of a learning curve when you get started with WordPress than say Wix or Weebly? Yeah, absolutely there will, but if you want to really run an eCommerce business and make money online, you need a more flexible platform, and that’s what WordPress is going to give you.
Now, don’t get me wrong. If you have a little “mom and pop” dry cleaning shop, or shoe store, and you just want people to know your address and where you are, Wix and Weebly are fine, but if you truly want to do ecommerce and sell stuff, and scale and build a business, you can’t beat WordPress for that.
Which brings me to the seventh point. The seventh point is cost.
There are some costs with WordPress. Now, the core of WordPress itself is free, right? Doesn’t cost anything to use WordPress, but you’re going to need a theme and good themes cost a bit of money, and you’re going to probably have a couple custom plugins in there, stuff like that, but keep in mind you can get set up with your themes and plugins, and it’s going to cost you at most a couple hundred dollars a year.
Whereas, platforms like Shopify, Wix, Weebly, stuff like that, they may start with a low price, but as you start to scale and grow, want to add more stuff, they’re going to charge you more and more and more. It’s going to cost a lot more over time.
Which now brings me to my last point, and that’s ease of use.
You know, when you’re first setting up your WordPress website, yeah, of course there’s a learning curve, but here’s the thing. The setup is the hardest part, and if you want, you can just hire somebody to do that for you. You don’t have to understand all the techy side, and once it’s actually set up, maintaining a WordPress website is quite simple.
Creating posts, creating pages, stuff like that, adding content. WordPress was initially created as what’s called a CMS, a content management system, which was a way for people to create blogs easily, to easily add content to websites using their WYSIWYG editor, which is getting better and better every day.
WordPress is easy to use. It allows you to manage also multiple people on the platform, so you can have people that can add content, edit content, administer the website, and create all these different users with different privileges, automatically built in.
Just a quick review. It’s available everywhere. It’s inherently search engine friendly, you have incredible revision control, you have plugin support to add basically any feature, functionality, or integration to any third party platform out there, many of which, these plugins are free. And even the high end ones are less than $30-$40 for high quality functionality.
There’s a massive development community, so at anytime you can get support, and you can get that support cheap, off of places like Upwork and Fiverr. It’s also flexible. You’re never going to build yourself into a corner with WordPress because you can make it do whatever you want.
The same can’t be said for Wix. It can’t be said for Weebly. It’s, over the long term, going to be a cheaper solution, and you can use it. It’s easy to use once you understand the workflow and how to use it. You don’t need to be a tech.
Now, there is one more question I do want to answer, though, and that is security.
Is WordPress a secure platform? This is a question I get from a lot of people that are just starting out. So, let me start out by saying yes, WordPress is a secure platform. But there’s a big “but” in here, in that but only if you take the right steps to make sure it is secure.
These steps are pretty simple. There’s basically five steps that you need to take, and they’re easy.
Step number one, always make sure the core of WordPress is up-to-date.
Now, the beauty of WordPress is when a new version is released, when you log into WordPress, it will tell you. “There’s a new version of WordPress.” You click a button, boom, it updates itself. They’re always evolving it, always making it secure.
Second, make sure you are running a theme and plugins that are up-to-date and well supported.
There are thousands upon thousands upon thousands of plugins and themes out there, but many of these have abandoned. They’re no longer being developed, and if you’re using something that’s not being developed any longer, that could present a security risk.
Or, if you’re running a plugin or theme that you haven’t updated in a while, that could represent a security risk. So again, when you log in, check your plugins, check your theme. Are there any updates? If they are, run those, okay?
That brings us to our third point, passwords.
Now, I shouldn’t have to say this but I’m going to. Use strong passwords. One of the biggest challenges or one of the biggest reasons I see WordPress websites get hacked is because when people set it up, they set their username to “admin”, and they use a password that’s their kid’s name or their dog’s name, or a word that’s easy to guess.
So, change your username from admin to something different, because when
somebody tries to hack a WordPress website, the first username they test is admin,
and then they test the passwords. Then use a strong password, use a password generator. Don’t use any natural language. 12 or more characters, a mix of letters, numbers, symbols, and now you’ve got a strong password.
Fourth thing, just install some security software.
On every website I run, I use a program called Wordfence. It’s a plugin, you can download it for free, and it’s going to monitor your website, it’s going to scan your website, it’s going to make sure it’s not getting hacked, or there’s no files that are being compromised. It’s a powerful tool, and guys, it’s free.
Then, the fifth thing, just change the default login page URL.
Now, if you’ve ever used WordPress, you know that the login page by default is going to be yourdomain.com/wp-admin. Now, there’s plugins out there you can download to change the login page URL to anything else you want. Something that people won’t guess, because again, when hackers come to your WordPress website, they are going to go straight to that wp-admin login page, type in admin, and then start running passwords.
If they can’t even find the login page, the script just gives up, the software gives up and moves on. So, if you do these five things, you’re going to have a secure website. Is anything hacker proof? No. Just ask any major tech company out there, because I don’t know if there’s any tech company, be it Google or Yahoo or Amazon, or any of these, that haven’t been hacked at one point or another.
But if you do those five things, your website isn’t going to be easily targeted, and that’s what you want to avoid. Sure, the big companies get hacked, but look, they’re big targets. Hackers are going to those directly, and trying to break in. But for the average WordPress website that’s getting hacked, that’s not actually a hacker going to your website and manually trying to break in.
Rather, what they’re writing is software or bots that are going out there, looking for known issues in older version of the WordPress core, themes, or plugins. And once the software finds an old version of WordPress where it knows there’s a hole or a security flaw, it’ll get in and then wreak havoc.
But if you have the latest version of WordPress, this is rarely ever going to be a problem. So, as long as you do these five things that I just suggested, you’re going to be immune to these hacks, these automated hacks that are happening every day, all over the world. And that’s what we’re trying to avoid here.
So, to sum it all up, WordPress is an incredible website building platform. There’s a reason it’s become the number one website building platform in the world. The development community is enormous. The support is enormous. The plugins, the functionality that’s already been built, is enormous.
If you wanted to go out and create a website without WordPress, you have to typically hire people to build the functionality for you. That costs a lot of money, and then you have to maintain that functionality. Whereas, WordPress, we’re piggybacking on this massive community of developers that are doing all the work for us, and it’s like a group buy, right? We’re all using it, so it’s much cheaper for us to utilize.
I mean honestly, I’ve been doing this since the 1990s, and I can say without hesitation, WordPress is the best thing to happen to website development, ever, full stop. It’s getting better and better every day.
I know the Wixes and the Weeblys and all the different website building tools may look sexy, and they may look easy, and they may be tempting, but I can tell you that as sexy and easy as these look, unless you’re building a super basic simple brochure style website, they’re going to become a limiting factor eventually.
So, do I recommend WordPress? Absolutely. I’ve given you the reasons why. It’s a secure platform, hopefully this helps you make your decision a little bit easier, and guys, if you have any questions, feel free to post a comment.
I’ll be posting the transcript of this episode on our website at ProjectIgnite.com. Anything I mentioned, there will be links and stuff there, and along with a full transcript. If you have questions, go leave a comment. Happy to answer those for you.