Dr. Guiseppe Getto, Ph.D.

Why WordPress Is One of the Best Website-Building Tools for Non-Profits and Small Businesses

The WordPress Logo

WordPress is a powerful, open source website development Content Management System (CMS) that was recently called one of the 5 best website builders of 2015. Many people think WordPress is just WordPress.com, the popular blogging site, but at WordPress.org you can download the software used to create blogs at WordPress.com and from there can install this software onto any hosting plaform that meets its minimum requirements. With WordPress you can effectively create any kind of website you want at very little cost. The advantages of WordPress are many, and in this post I go through four of them.

WordPress Is Learnable

WordPress was the first website-building platform I learned when I started building websites seven years ago. Seven years later, it’s easy to see me as an advanced user, which I am, but like everyone who starts with a new platform, I started by playing around with the technology to see what it could do.

Since then, I have used a lot of other platforms, including Drupal and Joomla!, to build websites. Over the years, I kept coming back to WordPress, however, as my favorite platform. I use it to teach, to help people learn design fundamentals, and to build websites for clients. Having tested out the technology myself through dozens of versions, I have personally found it to be one of the easiest platforms to work with for building websites. Perhaps more importantly, however, I have found that people with little to no design experience can usually learn to use WordPress quickly and easily.

WordPress Is (Fairly) Usable

One reason why WordPress is easy to learn, is that it is fairly easy to use. The organization behind the technology maintains a group that anyone can join, who is charged with ensuring that the technology is usable. Members of this group perform usability testing on every new feature that is rolled out to ensure that each feature meets minimum requirements for learnability, efficiency, and memorability. This attention to the user experience also extends to accessibility.

WordPress also maintains a very strong developer community that is very responsive to concerns users have. I have never personally had a question go unanswered on the support forums, and most of the time my questions have been answered in less than 24 hours.

I say “fairly usable,” because as a UX designer, usability is always partially a product of the user’s context. Like any technology, WordPress has a learning curve and is designed with certain opportunities and limitations in mind.

WordPress Is Open Source

Many people who are new to design get confused about the term “open source,” which refers to the licensing behind the code used for a web application. The important thing to know about the way WordPress licences its code, is that anyone can use it, as long as they don’t claim to be the originators. Essentially what this means is that if you do a full installation of WordPress via WordPress.org on a domain that you own (such as http://guiseppegetto.com), you can add or delete any code you wish.

A screenshot of the WordPress dashboard showing the "Edit CSS" feature

The ability to control all the code on your site, whether you initially know how to do so or not, is a very important attribute. Any truly “open source” technology (such as Drupal or Joomla!) grants users this ability, but there many website-building platforms that don’t, or that charge exorbitant rates for the ability to make even minor changes to your website’s code.

WordPress Is Sustainable

Most of my clients over the past seven years have been smaller organizations: non-profits, schools, and small businesses. I usually recommend WordPress to these clients, because it’s easy to sustain. It is updated frequently, and the updates are easy to apply. There’s also a clean separation of custom code from the default settings, so the updates typically don’t break any code I’ve created for them. In addition, WordPress automatically saves versions of any content you create, and is easy to backup to an external source like Google Drive.

Regardless of whether you want to create a blog, an organizational website, or a full-blown e-commerce site, WordPress is a great platform to work from.

To get started with WordPress, feel free to check out my Definitive Guide to Definitive WordPress Guides or contact me for a free initial consultation.

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