WordPress is a free, OpenSource Content Management System (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL. Originally a blogging platform it first appeared in 2003 and has evolved into the CMS of choice for online marketers and small to medium sized businesses thanks to its ease of setup, flexibility, scalability and ease of use.
It is estimated that up to a quarter of all websites use WordPress.
It is also considered to perform extremely well from a Search Engine Optimization perspective as it allows users to continually add content and easily optimize it for better search engine ranking results.
Getting Started With WordPress
Once the initial installation has been complete the user can then decide whether to use a custom built design or use a pre-made WordPress template. WordPress templates are called Themes and they are easy to set up and involve just adding the new WordPress theme and activating it via the WordPress login area.
If you need to add extra functionality to your WordPress site then this can be done quickly and easily by adding pre-made applications called WordPress Plugins. You can install a WordPress Plugin via the admin area by selecting the plugin section and adding it there.
Advantages of Using WordPress
WordPress is a free tool. It is quick and easy to install and it has a gentle learning curve. There is a lot of documentation about WordPress and there is a large, supportive WordPress community.
WordPress is very scalable so you can start off with a small site and add content as you go. It is also very flexible so you can either use it for your entire website or just a blog section. As blogging is good for search engine rankings having a business blog is advisable.
If you need a ready made, professional WordPress Theme then you will be spoilt for choice. If you do decide to use a WordPress Theme then make sure that it is based on Responsive Design so that it is mobile friendly.
Whilst WordPress does not have native Ecommerce capabilities if you want to sell online it can be added with Plugins with eg: WooCommerce. It can also be used for subscription and membership websites.
WordPress is perfect for marketers and scores strongly from an SEO perspective.
If you do need to find extra help to setup, manage or administer your WordPress site then you will find that there are plenty of WordPress Developers that can help you for a reasonable fee. Because WordPress is almost an industry standard platform it is not an exotic tool and lower hourly Developer rates reflect this.
Disadvantages of Using WordPress
To be honest there are very few disadvantages to using WordPress for most businesses. As with any CMS you need to keep your WordPress secure and up to date. WordPress updates are made quite frequently so you need to be aware of these and make sure you update WordPress.
Also, as you start to extend your site and add functionality then you need to be sure to keep your plugins up to date too.
If we were to get picky then if you wanted to do anything non standard then you would need to look under the bonnet and start fiddling with the source code, but the same could be applied to any other similar CMS.
Free, easy to setup, extendible and SEO friendly, WordPress is the most popular CMS for starters and intermediate websites and blogs.
There are plenty of ready made WordPress Themes so you can keep initial design costs to a minimum and there are loads of Plugins to add extra functionality to your site.
If you need support there is a large and active community as well as loads of documentation available. If you need to hire support then there is a competitive market and costs will not be high.
Other useful resources: