I’ve been using WordPress for a few years now, and since March, I’ve worked at C. Murray Consulting, where I primarily develop websites on WordPress and BuddyPress. Originally designed for blogging, recent upgrades have transformed WordPress into a full-featured content management system. Thanks largely to its humble roots, WordPress has a number of advantages over its competitors. Below are the top five I’ve identified as both a user and developer:
1. Ease of installation
In less than ten minutes, one can install WordPress and be ready to publish content. Installation involves just two steps: 1) specifying the database connection information and 2) naming the site and choosing a username and password. Many hosts offer one-click installation for WordPress, eliminating the need to download the software.
2. Intuitive user interface
The WordPress Administration area is straightforward and elegant, providing an easy-to-use interface for beginners. With features such as the Visual Editor, anyone familiar with basic word processing software will immediately recognize many of the formatting tools available in WordPress without needing to learn anything new. The major segments of the interface are clearly labeled and well organized, eliminating confusion over where most administrative tasks are completed. The Dashboard, where users first arrive when accessing the Administration interface, provides a concise overview of the WordPress instance and allows developers to place commonly-used features in plain sight.
3. Efficient coding
Thanks to its refined code structure, WordPress will run in just about any hosting environment. It doesn’t matter if you’re paying $5 or $500 per month for hosting, WordPress will function in either case so long as its basic software requirements are met. Great care is taken when adding new features to ensure that nothing unnecessary or burdensome is included in the core WordPress code.
As a developer, I can easily locate and review internal functions when looking to add features or change a default behavior thanks to the well-organized nature of WordPress’ code.
Out of the box, WordPress provides powerful tools for both blogging and basic content management. Add to that 11,845 plugins1, 1,278 free themes2, and hundreds of premium themes, and the possible uses of WordPress are innumerable. Extending WordPress’ native functionality is made simple and possible thanks to its Plugin API, which provides a variety of ways to alter and expand its behavior to meet almost any need.
Key to WordPress’ success is the vibrancy of its community. From the members who develop and release the plugins and themes available at WordPress.org, to those who provide assistance in the WordPress.org forums and on the mailing lists, to those who organize WordCamps and WordPress meetups, support for new and experienced users alike is abundant. New features and the ongoing success of the platform are both directly attributable to the individuals who’ve dedicated themselves to using, supporting, and evangelizing WordPress.