I was talking with my husband this morning about how websites are like cars; they need to be maintained to keep them running well. With a car, you need to change the oil and filters regularly, replace windshield wipers, rotate and change the tires, schedule tune ups, plus so much more. And now with on-board navigation systems we need to keep the software that powers the nav updated. We routinely take care of these things so our car runs smoothly and lasts for years.
So, too, with websites. Regardless of where your website is hosted, it needs to be maintained to stay up and running.
When I get a new client, even before we talk about the site’s design, we talk about how they’re going to use the website and who will update it. I explain that if they want their website to be relevant to site visitors, it needs to be updated and maintained. So who will update it? Sometimes they want me to update it monthly. Sometimes they want to do it themselves. Often, it’s a combination of the two. Once I know how it will be maintained over time, I know how I need to build it.
HTML and CMS
There are two main ways to go about building a website—HTML and content management systems (CMS). HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language which is the programming language for websites. Content management systems combine programming with a database to allow users to easily update websites. There’s much more to this behind the scenes, but I think this distinction is helpful to understand the big difference between the two.
When it comes to CMS, there are a lot of choices out there. I’ve worked with and tried a bunch on both Linux and Windows servers. That said, my go-to CMS program, though, is WordPress.
Here’s my Top 10 Reasons for WordPress websites
1. It’s popular and has an extensive support community.
As of this post, 30% of the entire web, about 19,500,000 websites run on WordPress. That’s between 50-60% of the global CMS market! Chances are that a website you go to regularly is powered by WordPress.
2. WordPress is open source.
WordPress is free to download and install on your hosting server. It’s frequently updated and improves year after year, thanks to a large community of developers.
3. There are tons of add ons.
Add ons (WordPress plugins) include everything from online stores, increased website security, event management, search engine optimization, and so much more. Last count shows over 45,000 plugins available.
4. There are also a wide variety of themes.
Themes create the look and feel of a WordPress site. Themes can be free or purchased (premium themes). Some themes add extra features. My favorite themes have easy-to-use admin panels that help users update the pages throughout the site.
5. It works great on mobile devices.
WordPress is responsive and works great whether viewing the site on a mobile device, tablet or computer. You can even update websites from your mobile phone.
6. WordPress is search engine friendly.
WordPress developers know that getting websites seen is just as important as how it looks. It is built to be fast and to make it easy for search engines to get to every corner of websites.
7. WordPress is easy to use and accessible.
Videos and tutorials are available on how to use WordPress. So that you can get the most out of the features available.
8. IT’s very customizable.
Sites built with WordPress are customizable in the way they look, as well as the way they work. Websites that I’ve created with WordPress include realtor sites, contractor sites, online stores, ministry sites, event sites, portfolio sites for artists, photographers, and more.
9. It is media friendly.
A WordPress site can include a variety of media including videos, photos, graphics, sliding images and rotating content, and PDF documents for downloading. Changing out images or videos is easy to do.
10. My clients love it.
They really do. I have clients who’ve made the switch to WordPress. Some of them used other content management systems. After they make the switch, they’re glad they did.