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WordPress Review

By Lars Lofgren

WordPress

In the website building world, WordPress is one of the most popular options, and you’ll hear this name mentioned repeatedly. According to WordPress, 40% of websites are built using their site builder–and with good reason. WordPress is highly versatile and customizable, and thousands of themes and plugins make the development process easier, even if you don’t have a background in coding.

While WordPress is a highly popular and trusted site builder, it isn’t right for everyone, and the platform does have some downfalls. It’s important to understand the challenges that come with building a site on WordPress, so you can decide if this site builder is really right for your needs.

WordPress Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Free to use
  • Highly customizable
  • Open code access
  • 8,000+ themes
  • 58,000+ plugins

Cons

  • No technical support
  • No hosting
  • Steep learning curve
  • Coding knowledge helpful/essential

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How WordPress Compares to Top Website Builders

WordPress is one of the top names in the website builder industry, but depending on your needs and goals, another website builder could be a better choice. WordPress excels in terms of its versatility and its ability to help you produce professional-quality websites, thanks to its extensive plugin options and open code access. It also offers the benefit of being free to use. However, if you’re looking for a builder that’s easy to learn and use, an option like Wix is much more user-friendly. Squarespace is also popular thanks to its ability to create professional-looking sites, though it is a slightly pricier option.

If you’re looking for a powerhouse of a website builder that will let you custom design the exact website you want, WordPress is the way to go. For simple, easy, and fast results, consider Wix or Squarespace.

WordPress Ease of Use

WordPress has a steep learning curve. This isn’t a site builder you can pick up and learn in a weekend. While it’s full of options and can support extensive functionality, those capabilities make it more difficult to use.

While WordPress offers video tutorials, and there are plenty of third-party guides to help you, it lacks drag-and-drop functionality. If you’re new to site building, WordPress may be initially overwhelming, especially if you’re looking for an easy way to quickly get your site launched.

That said, it’s important to remember that WordPress is highly versatile, and you can accomplish a lot more with this site builder than you can with a more basic drag-and-drop builder. Because the platform is so popular, you should be able to easily find a web developer to help you if you decide to use WordPress.

WordPress Professional Results

When used by someone with technical and coding knowledge, WordPress can produce top-quality professional sites. Even just sticking to basics and using one of the many available themes can give you a professional-looking website. With a little coding and customization, those results become even more impressive.

WordPress is fully capable of supporting highly detailed, high-performance sites, and the available plugins can enhance a site’s performance and capability. Top brands including Rolling Stone, Vogue, The Obama Foundation, and The Village Voice have built their sites on WordPress.

These sites stand out because no two are alike, and unlike some more basic website builders, WordPress websites don’t all include a recognizable visible format or branding. These customization options are suitable for the premium sites demanded by corporations, but they’re just as accessible and work equally as well for startups and bloggers.

WordPress Customer Support

WordPress lacks in one essential area: Customer support. Because WordPress is open-source, it’s not maintained by an official team, meaning there’s no way to speak with a support team or open a support ticket.

That doesn’t mean you’re entirely on your own. WordPress offers a comprehensive library of support resources on topics including administration, maintenance, security, and troubleshooting.

If you do encounter an issue that you can’t solve yourself, you’ll need to turn to the WordPress community forums. Forums are sorted by topic, and WordPress users can post questions and help identify solutions.

Because WordPress is used so extensively, there are also many third-party resources that you may find helpful in troubleshooting an issue, and many site developers who specialize in WordPress may also be able to help you. Just be prepared to actively seek technical support on your own without the help of a dedicated support team.

WordPress Cost

WordPress.org is free to use, so you truly can’t beat the price. While many other website builders, like Wix, offer tiered pricing, WordPress’s pricing is simple and upfront.

While the WordPress site builder is free, you’ll face other expenses in getting your site live. Be prepared to pay for web hosting and your domain registration, which are standard site development and management expenses.

WordPress Web Hosting

WordPress is a self-hosted builder, meaning you’ll be responsible for hosting your site with a hosting provider. Keep in mind that this adds some complexity, and you or someone on your site development team will need to be able to set up and manage the hosting.

If you’re new to the process of setting up hosting, consider finding a hosting service that will handle the setup process for you, like Namecheap. Some providers, like SiteGround, offer professional site migrations for an extra fee.

WordPress recommends Bluehost, DreamHost, and SiteGround, and all of these hosting services are already optimized to work with WordPress. WordPress also offers its own hosting options through WordPress.com. With four paid tier levels to choose from starting at $4 per month, WordPress.com is a popular option for bloggers and small businesses looking for an all-in-one website solution.

WordPress Versatility

WordPress stands out because of its versatility and customization options. Compared to drag-and-drop editors, WordPress gives you much more control over your site’s design and performance.

WordPress themes, both those available from WordPress and those available from third-party developers, can help you to quickly customize your site and achieve the look that you want.

If you or someone on your team knows coding, then your customization options are unlimited, thanks to WordPress’s open code access. You can design a site that performs exactly how you need it to.

WordPress Themes

Using a WordPress theme streamlines the process of developing and designing your site’s layout. These pre-made themes customize your site’s layout, color, font type and size, and more. Your initial site will operate off of the WordPress default theme, but changing the theme will quickly change the site’s appearance.

Themes are one of the major benefits you’ll enjoy when you create a site with WordPress. The WordPress theme library offers more than 8,000 themes, and you can sort them by the most popular themes to narrow down your choices.

With a theme, you can get a professional-looking design without hiring a professional site designer. This can be ideal if you have limited design knowledge, since you can rely on the theme’s preset layout, colors, and fonts. If you want, you can also edit themes, using them as a basis for your site but then making the site your own.

While themes offer plenty of benefits, they also bring some downsides. A theme that is outdated and no longer updated may become incompatible with future versions of WordPress. This can result in poor functionality, website user issues, and even security vulnerabilities. Outdated or poorly built apps can slow down your site’s speed, potentially discouraging site visitors.

If you can’t find the perfect theme for your site, you can create one on your own, or hire a developer to custom-create one for you. WordPress offers a Theme Developer Handbook to guide you through the process. If you choose, you can also submit the theme to the WordPress theme library for other site owners to use.

WordPress Plugins

While themes can enhance your site’s appearance, WordPress plugins will enhance the way it operates. The WordPress plugin library includes more than 58,000 plugins for you to choose from.

If you don’t know how to code, then plugins are an easy way to add functionality to your site. They can save you money over the cost of hiring a developer, especially if you’re looking for a simple change like increased site security or an automatic site backup.

Plugins can also integrate your site with other services that you already use, like Google Analytics, Mailchimp, Facebook, and more. With so many plugins available, you’ll find options for nearly any functionality, including Captcha implementation, disabling blog post comments, link management and tracking, photo gallery builders, and popup builders.

While plugins can be a valuable tool in customizing and enhancing your site’s performance, it’s important to realize that many free plugins do not come with support. You may need to troubleshoot them yourself if you run into problems. Outdated plugins that aren’t appropriately updated can cause functionality issues, so it’s important to carefully choose and monitor your plugins.

Just like you can build your own theme, you can also build your own WordPress plugin by following the Plugin Developer Handbook guidelines. With this capability, you can add nearly any type of functionality to your WordPress site. You won’t find this type of customization and versatility with some other more basic site builders, and these plugin options are one of the reasons why WordPress is so often a top choice of web developers and businesses.

WordPress Mobile App

The WordPress mobile app is available on the App Store and on Google Play. These open-source apps give you plenty of access to and control of your website on the go. They function both as a site builder and a blog post creator.

If you’re still building your site, the app’s quick start tips can guide you through the setup process. You can also access and choose WordPress themes and customize your site’s appearance.

Once your site is up and running, you can use the app to create blog post drafts, write updates, post photo updates, and more. Automated sharing can alert all of your fans on social media when you publish a new post.

The app also serves to keep you connected to your site even when you’re on the go. You can check your website stats to monitor site activity, and you can choose to get notifications when site visitors like or comment on your website. Most importantly, you can reply to comments through your phone, which is essential to establishing great engagement with your readers and when addressing negative customer feedback.

This app offers many of the same capabilities that you would enjoy if you were logged in on a computer. It includes all of the functionality you need while you’re away from your computer, and it’s particularly beneficial for businesses, PR staff, and social media managers.

WordPress Education

WordPress has extensive functionality and versatility, but all of that capability also makes for a steep learning curve. WordPress offers workshops to help you develop the skills you need to make the most of your site.

Workshop topics include:

  • Block development
  • CSS
  • eCommerce
  • Open-source
  • Publishing
  • Security
  • Troubleshooting
  • UI
  • And more

These video courses are free to take, and an included quiz option lets you test your knowledge at the end of the workshop.

Visit WordPress

Compare The Best Website Builders
We reviewed dozens of website builders and narrowed them down to the best options.
See Top Picks

WordPress may not have the easiest learning curve, and it may lack a centralized customer support team, but the builder’s versatility and overall quality surpass these shortcomings. With thousands of plugins to enhance site functionality, and themes that can help you to get a professional layout even if you don’t have a background in design and aesthetics, WordPress is suitable for everyone from the startup blogger to the multi-million-dollar corporation. If you have some website building or coding background, WordPress can be a great choice. Even if you don’t have this experience, WordPress is so widely used that there are plenty of website developers who specialize in working on this platform. Pairing with a talented site developer can bring out the most in your WordPress site, giving you a professional-looking website that functions exactly as you need it to.

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