- WordPress is Free
WordPress.org is completely free and always will be. There are no update fees, no "pro" version fees, no usage fees... no fees, period.
- WordPress is Open Source
Often "open source" means no accountability, no support, no updates, no continuity and no guiding light or development path. But that's not the case with WordPress. Why? Because WordPress.org is used by Automattic.com to power the well-known blogging platform called WordPress.com. Automattic is run by Matt Mullenweg who is one of the founders of WordPress. The company employs WordPress developers, designers and technology experts from all over the world. These folks have massive input into WordPress.org, giving us regular (and I mean very regular!) updates and keeping WordPress.org moving forward, making it the ideal CMS for almost any business. WordPress just keeps getting better and better!
- There's a Plugin for That!
WordPress.org is famous for its massive number of third-party plugins. Plugins allow you to add almost any interactive feature you can imagine to your Web site: slideshows, lightboxes, galleries, maps, forms, FAQ's, membership areas, forums, ecommerce, editing tools, design tools, etc. Developers are constantly coming out with new plugin ideas, as well as improvements to plugins or plugin ideas, that have been around awhile.
- Content Management System (CMS)
The original concept behind WordPress was to provide a blogging tool for journalists. With WordPress, journalists didn't need a specific piece of software; they could update their blog from any computer with Internet access and a browser. Because multiple authors could upload posts, WordPress was ideal for online magazines and newspapers. Then regular businesses realized they could create a company Web site from WordPress, that it wasn't just for bloggers! The CMS aspect meant that IT departments didn't need to install a piece of software on every employee's computer. Any authorized employee could simply open a browser, log into the company site, make updates and log off. People could even work from home! With WordPress, companies save themselves the cost of specialized software and multiple user licenses. No wonder businesses started flocking to WordPress! Now WordPress is the first platform most people think of when they want to build a Web site.
- World's Best Known Blogging Tool
We've just talked about WordPress as a CMS for businesses, but many people don't realize that, with WordPress, you don't have to choose a Web site over a blog, or a blog over a Web site. With WordPress you can build a Web site with a blog included right in it. And it will perfectly match your site! In addition, you will get the best blogging functionality anywhere: categories, tags, widgets, plugins, media management, user management, threaded commenting, comment moderation, quick and easy theme integration, pretty permalinks, content management (of course!) and the Akismet plugin, a powerful anti-spam tool which comes free with WordPress.
- Full W3C Standards Compliance
WordPress code is in full compliance with W3C standards. Many people don't really care about standards compliance, but, if you're a Web designer, you'll eventually run into a client who wants a compliant site as part of their requirements. With WordPress, you get compliance out of the box.
- Media Management
You can very easily upload images and other media (videos, audio files, PDF's, etc.) to your WordPress site: simply drag your file into the media uploader or select it directly from your hard drive. In the media library you can add "alt text," captions and titles to your files. You will use the "Add Media" button to insert your image or other file directly into your blog post or page.
- User Management
Because WordPress is a CMS, that means multiple people can have permission to access the site. For each person, you can set their username, password and role: administrator, editor, author, contributor and subscriber. Each of these user roles has a set of defined capabilities. A Subscriber can only see the Dashboard and edit his/her own profile. A Contributor can draft posts/pages, but can't publish them. An Author can draft and publish posts/pages. An Editor can edit other people’s posts/pages and manage categories, tags, links and comments. An Administrator can do everything and anything. If you need more in-depth, complex user roles, there's a plugin for that!
With WordPress, you can create any type of Web site: a company or personal blog, a business site, an ecommerce site, a portal site, a portfolio, a photo journal, a government or charity site, a review site, an informative site, a magazine or news site, a club site, a band site, an online community, a multi-site network... there's virtually no end to the flexibility of WordPress!
- Themes, Themes and More Themes!
While some projects do require a custom design, many more sites are just fine using a free or paid theme, at least as a starting point. I like using Genesis Framework and one of the StudioPress Child Themes or Dynamik Website Builder, which is a special type of theme that enables me to custom-build a client's Web site. Because themes are separate from your site's content, you can slip them on and off your site like a suit of fine clothes.
- WordPress is Secure
WordPress is easy to update for security. When a new version is available, WordPress will present you with an update link. Make sure you back up your site before doing an update in case something goes wrong. Plugins like BackupBuddy are great tools. While WordPress itself is very secure, plugins can open security holes, so always update plugins whenever an update is available. Be careful of using plugins from dubious sources!
- Search Engine Friendly
Even without all the wonderful SEO plugins that are available, Web sites using WordPress tend to rank well in Google. Matt Cutts, head of Google’s web spam team, has been quoted as saying, "WordPress is a great choice." While some SEO experts took that as an endorsement of WordPress and started touting WordPress as a better choice than a static HTML site for their clients, Matt was simply saying that WordPress is one option, a great one, but not the only one! Sometimes a static HTML site is all a client needs.
- Expansion and Growth
Because of everything you've read here, by now you're probably realizing that WordPress is a solid application, a tool that will serve you or your company for many years to come. You will always be able to keep your site updated with new versions of WordPress and plugins, add new plugins as they come along, even change themes easily as styles and design tastes change. You can add a shopping cart, if you decide to branch out into commercial online sales; you can add a photo gallery; you can add a forum or a membership section to your site. The sky's the limit!