In a class I am teaching that includes setting up a site for SEO, when informed that the software we would be using to develop our web sites would be WordPress, the students’ reaction was, “But isn’t WordPress for writing a blog?”
Well, yes. It is a great blogging software.
But is it a good content management system (CMS) for building, say, a business web site? I would argue, yes, it is a great software for building a “regular” web site with pages, as opposed to posts. In fact, I now use WordPress exclusively for building web sites for my clients.
Here are the reasons I choose WordPress (WP) as my CMS of choice:
- Easy to use. The back end of WP is well organized and user-friendly, as opposed to Joomla and other CMSs that I have used. The editing area is obvious and very much like a word processor. What use is a CMS that is great for development if your client can’t do his own updates?
- Quick to edit. WP has a top menu that makes it possible to click right into the editing area directly from the page, cutting down the time it takes to find your page in a list.
- Permalinks make page naming an SEO breeze. Instead of a page number in your web address, you’ll have a friendly version of your title, created automatically yet editable by you.
- Menus completely and easily editable. Don’t worry if you didn’t make this page a child of that page so it ends up in the right place in the menu. Want a different menu name for your page than the title you picked? Easy. You don’t have to figure out the order in numbers, just physically move around the pages in the menu. Create other menus for your sidebar or footer and easily insert them in a widget.
- Almost everything you need is in a plugin. And most are free. There are over 18,000 plugins in the WP database. I’ve always found plugins for the different requirements I’ve had for a site. Although, like any other software, look for reviews when picking a plugin. Some are poorly coded and will slow down your site.
- Updates are easy. Only the backup is hard. You will want to backup each time you do an update (things do go wrong sometimes). There are plugins to do your update, but if your site is large, you might make your host mad with the amount of site activity.
- If you use the right theme, life is easy. I use Canvas by Woo Themes, an extremely malleable and well-designed theme. It has the ability to create custom sidebars for each page, which is mandatory if you are creating a web site, plus easy controls to control almost all aspects of your design, right from the admin area.
- Use posts to your advantage. When you’re creating a “regular” web site in WP, you use pages, as opposed to posts, which are used for a blog. The pages appear on a menu and you can designate one for your home page. But I use posts as news items, which I then bring out to the front page sidebar, and, of course, it is always good SEO practice to have a blog on your site. So, using posts for the blog keeps the site up-to-date. Those blog titles and excerpts can also be brought out to other pages in a sidebar.
I’m sure there are more reasons and when I think of them, I’ll add them to the blog!