WordPress collectively powers 35% of the internet and dominates the content management system (CMS) market with a roughly 60% share. Its popularity stems from its simple design, robust security, and flexibility. With such a massive reach, people naturally have questions about its features, design, and capabilities. In fact, the keyword “WordPress” is googled 34 million times each month.
Luckily, we’re here to answer your questions and help you choose the right CMS for your website. Without further ado, let’s get into some of the top questions about WordPress:
What’s the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com ?
WordPress.org is the popular self-hosted platform you’ve heard so many great things about. It’s 100% free and open-sourced, making it available for anyone to use. All you need is web hosting and a domain name. It’s 100% customisable by switching themes, adding plugins, and customising the code. It’s flexible enough to host online stores, run a blog with paid ads, or create a membership website.
WordPress.com is a hosting service provided by WordPress co-founder, Matt Mullenweg. The pricing tiers range from free to over $5,000 a month. The free version gives you up to 3GB of space before having to switch to a paid plan. It’s primarily used for hobby bloggers, and one of the main drawbacks of the free plan is that WordPress.com puts ads all over your site that you don’t see any return on. There’s also no way to add custom themes, use plugins, or use a custom domain without “.wordpress.com” tacked onto the end.
Is it better to use WordPress template/theme or to build a custom theme with a WordPress CMS?
Whether you’re rebuilding an existing website or starting fresh, you’ve always got to weigh the pros and cons of using a pre-made theme and creating a custom theme. Here’s the breakdown of each option so you can make a more informed decision:
Custom theme pros:
- Highly scalable and conducive to complete customisation to provide a truly unique customer experience
- Unique in both design and functionality which can elevate the company’s brand
- Lighter and faster to load since they only contain features specific to the company’s site
- Cleaner admin interface without the bloat of unused features
- SEO-friendly since you can customise the site to be crawler friendly and load optimally
Custom theme cons:
- Requires a greater investment of time, effort, and resources to build
- Adding new features or changing the look requires developer aid
Pre-made theme pros:
- Many out of the box feature ready to go
- More budget-friendly since you can get some for free or cheap
- Shorter development time
Pre-made theme cons:
- Contains excessive features you likely won’t use which slow your website and lowers site performance
- Constrained to the limitations of the theme’s built-in features
- Difficult to customise the theme’s look, feel, and functionality
- Less support since you won’t have the aid of a developer or design team to take care of every aspect of your build
- Less secure since a security specialist didn’t install the right themes, troubleshoot, and debug issues
Are WordPress websites safe?
The short answer is — yes. WordPress employs a team of “50 security experts” that work around the clock to make sure your site is protected. However, no website is completely safe, and that includes WordPress sites. Every website needs a well-configured web server complete with IP blacklisting, a strong firewall, and tight file-sharing permissions. If that sounds complicated to you, it may be wise to hire a professional developer or agency to assist you.
You should always use strong passwords for all WordPress accounts. Also, limit login attempts to prevent brute force attacks. While you’re at it, keep your software up-to-date.
Sucuri found that out of all WordPress sites hacked, roughly 40% were running out-of-date core WordPress software at the time of the incident. The same goes for plugins: a survey conducted by Wordfence showed over 60% of website hackings were attributed to plugin or theme vulnerability.
At Windsorborn, we use Wordfence (further discussed below) to make sure our sites are secure, and we also offer care packages that include website maintenance to ensure everything is up-to-date and running properly.
Which WordPress plugins are the best?
Similar to picking a theme, finding the best plugin will depend on what your specific needs are as well as your budget. The trick here is finding one with rave reviews, that fits your needs, and that is regularly updated.
That being said, there are a couple of must-have plugins that most sites would benefit from using. UpdraftPlus, for example, will backup your WordPress site so you can easily restore your site if it gets hacked or crashes. Wordfence is like a bouncer for your WordPress site, keeping out hackers and unwanted visitors.
Gravity Forms is a must-have for websites looking to survey their audience, put polls out, upload file forms, take support requests, online orders, or any other need for a form you can surmise. Advanced Custom Fields is aptly named since it gives you complete control over your WordPress edit screens so you can add fields with just a few clicks.
What makes WordPress SEO friendly?
User experience is a big one. WordPress themes and plugins work together to make websites user-friendly, professional, and attractive, which reduces your bounce rate. It also allows for customised SEO-optimised permalinks. Metadata is easily managed in WordPress as well, especially with a plugin like Yoast SEO.
If you want to level up your WordPress site to drive even more search engine optimised traffic, it’s worth exploring a custom theme. Themes are great out of the box, but custom themes give you complete control over how the site is rendered, meaning you can fully optimise every element for SEO including microdata, structured HTML, and SEO friendly asset loading techniques. A custom theme is going to deliver better results, but only in the hands of an experienced development team.
Where are images stored in WordPress?
WordPress is a wonderful platform for managing your images online. Go to the admin panel on the left and click Media » Add New. From there, you can upload images, audios, videos, and other supported file types.
Images get stored natively on the website’s server, but with the right plugin mix, you can host images through cloud services like Amazon S3.
Who visited my WordPress site?
Tracking visitor traffic such as what pages attract them the most, where they come from, and how much time they spend on the site is all performed via analytics. The most common analytics tool is Google Analytics. Once linked to your WordPress site, you can easily visualise traffic and other analytics via Google Analytics plugins.
Why is WordPress the best CMS?
Whether or not WordPress is the best still remains a matter of opinion. WordPress is the most high-profile open source CMS around, and people flock to it because it’s simple to use, highly customisable, SEO-friendly and has an enormous ecosystem of plugins to make your website stand out. However, there are plenty of worthy contenders like Drupal and Joomla worth considering. In the end, it comes down to doing your homework or finding a trusted partner like Windsorborn who can help guide your CMS decision.
We’ve answered the most popular questions around the web about WordPress, but our assistance doesn’t have to stop there. Your website presence is the face of your brand, meaning you need a website that is highly personalised and custom fit to your needs. Contact us if you’re in need of a professionally built website that not only looks fantastic but gets you results.