Why WordPress? The number one CMS may be your perfect cup of tea. Here is why.

ECO13.me is proudly powered by WordPress: the number one CMS. It is a truly amazing piece of free website software. Here is why WordPress may also be the perfect CMS for your website.

“The view of the majority is always right,” so they say. And obviously that is not true. Yet it is with good reason that WordPress is used by almost 25% of all websites. And it is likely that the gap will widen even more. The reason is simple. WordPress is free software. It is extremely versatile. And it is developed and supported by a huge community.

Why WordPress?

Why WordPress is free

In the early days of the internet content management systems were way too expensive for the average Joe. Web developers made their own CMS. It was not anything like WordPress today. Open source changed all this. It changed the internet. Open source is free for all. Web developers can add to it, instead of building websites from the ground up. It enables them to build better websites. And so, we get a better internet.

WordPress saw the light of day in 2003 as blog software. Thanks to the fact that it is open source, many developers can add to it. They made numerous plugins and themes. Highly skilled developers also improved the WordPress core. Today WordPress is a top notch CMS. Thousands of developers contribute to it one way or another, thus guaranteeing continuity and ever more flexibility. Still it is and will always be free. Free as in speech, because it is open source.

Over 60 million people have chosen WordPress
to power the place on the web they call “home”
We’d love you to join the family.
WordPress

Why WordPress is extremely versatile

Why WordPress - Showcase: Bloomberg ProfessionalWordPress is awesome right out of the box. Yet also very friendly to developers. They can turn WordPress websites into anything they can imagine. Some craft stunning themes. Others develop amazing plugins. Many release their work as open source. And there is a huge commercial market.

Even when you are not a developer, whatever website you have in mind, or whatever feature you are Why WordPress - Showcase: Project Himalayalooking for, it is very likely that it lies within easy reach. And not only that. Chance is huge that Why WordPress - Showcase: SickDesigner.comWordPress is the best way to achieve it.

You can use WordPress to create blogs, webshops, portfolios, directories, forums, question corners, rating sites, membership sites, … and even a website platform.

three levels of awe

Why WordPress - Showcase: Google VenturesWordPress has three levels of awe. The first is the WordPress core. Words fail to describe how utterly amazing this piece of software is. And obviously it is what makes the second and third awes possible.

The second is design. Right from the start a major WordPress goal was to enable anyone to craft beautiful websites. It is not that obvious yet, but surely WordPress made the internet more beautiful. It is probably one of the reason behind its success.

Click on the screenshots to the right to find some beautiful websites powered by WordPress. More great examples can be found in the WordPress Showcase.

What makes WordPress totally exceptional are the features. Basic ones are part of the WordPress core. Others can be added with plugins. Think of anything you might ever want to do with your website. Then take a look in the Plugin Directory to find out if it is possible with a free plugin. You will be amazed.

Needless to say that even more is possible with premium plugins and themes.

A side note on plugins – The many amazing features are attractive. Yet it is highly recommended to use only those plugins you cannot live without. The more plugins, the more code needs to load and the slower your website becomes.

Why WordPress is ultra user friendly

WordPress has a neat and user friendly “WordPress Administration“. It got a welcome facelift in 2013. Other notable features that improve user friendliness are the editor, the customizer and the media library.

State to the art media library

The media library in WordPress is both beautiful and easy in use. You see a thumbnail for all images. You can drag and drop images to upload. You can add “alt text“. This is important for SEO. It gets included whenever you add an image in your content. And you can also add a link to images. One thing missing there is the option to open the link in a new browser window. You however can change that in the editor.

WordPress media library - Drag & drop to upload

When you upload an image, WordPress always generates multiple versions: large, medium and small (thumbnails). So, when you want to embed a small image, you have one available. You can link to the media file easily. With the use of a lightbox plugin, images then open in a pop-up window above the page or post. Click the image above to see it happen.

The image sizes are set in the WordPress settings. These may vary depending on the theme. For example in our theme here the width of regular posts is maximum 780 pixels. So, the large images are maximum 780 pixels wide.

In the WordPress media library you can also create galleries. The look and feel may vary depending on the theme. Yet the way to add galleries is always the same:

  1. Click on “Create Gallery” in the left sidebar.

WordPress Media Library - Create a gallery - Select images

  1. Select the image you want to add.
  2. Click the “create a new gallery” button.

WordPress Media Library - Create a gallery - Change settings

  1. Change the settings according to your likings.
  2. And click the “insert gallery” button.

Et voilà:

@ ECO13.me – The image name also has an SEO value. It is thus recommended to add keywords. At ECO13.me however, we save backups in a gzip file. The length of filenames is limited. You will not notice this when you upload, but we will notice it when the backup software throws an error. So, to make sure your images are included in backups, please do not make the filenames too long.

Powerful WYSIWYG editor

Wordpress default editor vs TinyMCE AdvancedThe editor in WordPress is TinyMCE. This is a famous open source editor. It has two frames: an HTML editor (Text) and a WYSIWYG editor (Visual).

The default visual editor is basic. There are plugins available to turn it into a full fetched office editor. At ECO13.me TinyMCE Advanced is active by default.

TinyMCE is not as obvious as an office editor yet, but WordPress makes it ever more user friendly.

oEmbed: embedding made easy

In December 2009, with the release of WordPress 2.9, WordPress made it super easy to embed video in posts and pages. All you need to do is paste the URL on its own line. By now you can do the same with tweets and with other media from popular oEmbed providers.

In September 2014, with the release of WordPress 4.0, oEmbed became a visual experience in the editor. When you paste the URL, the embedded content “automagically” appears.

Side note – oEmbed is the easiest way to embed media. It is not always the most recommended way. oEmbed may load more JavaScript than necessary. For example, when the Twitter JavaScript is already included in the footer of your website, you do not need to load it again. You can prevent this by using the URL parameter omit_script=true. Obviously, this makes it less user friendly.

Distraction free writing

Since WordPress 4.1 you can put the editor in “distraction-free mode”.

Sometimes, you just need to concentrate on putting your thoughts into words. Try turning on distraction-free writing mode. When you start typing, all the distractions will fade away, letting you focus solely on your writing. All your editing tools instantly return when you need them.
– Matt Mullenweg

To activate it you can click on the icon in the upper right corner of the editor.

Why WordPress - editor - distraction-free vs full screen mode

In the editor at ECO13.me the “full screen mode” can be usefull when writing on a small screen. To activate click on the same icon, yet at the left side in the editor menu.

Expanding editor

In WordPress 4.0 a major improvement was made to the editor frame. If you did not experience the older versions, you will not know how spoiled you are now. Both the editor and the editor screen used to have a scrollbar. Now the editor automatically expands as you write. And as you can see in the images above, there is only one scrollbar.

A disadvantage is that it requires more scrolling to get back to the top. Still, it is a great improvement.

Writing and editing is smoother and more immersive with an editor that expands to fit your content as you write, and keeps the formatting tools available at all times.
Matt Mullenweg

Images made easy

The WordPress editor guarantees a smooth image editing experience. There is a lot you can do from within the editor. It starts with uploads. You do not need to open the media library to upload an image. You can simply drag and drop it in the editor. The image library will open automatically.

Once in the editor you can click and drag the image corners to change the size. Watch the introduction video for WordPress 3.9 for an illustration. Meanwhile you will discover more improvements that make WordPress awesome.

@ ECO13.me – The media file size is currently limited to 2,6MB. You can upload jpg, jpeg, png, gif, mp3, ogg wma, m4a, flv and pdf files. For video, audio and pdf it is recommended to use specialised services, like YouTube, SoundCloud, Slideshare and so on. This, like anything, is open to debate though.

WordPress Customizer: live preview

In June 2012, with the release of WordPress 3.4, WordPress introduced the Customizer. It allows to preview changes to the look and feel of your website.

Initially the Customizer was only used for themes. And only for those that support it. By now, however, many themes do, and you can even use it to preview themes, to add widgets and since WordPress 4.3 also to create new menus.

The Customizer is a framework for live-previewing any change to WordPress. It provides a simple and consistent interface for users to customize various aspects of their theme and their site, from colors and layouts to widgets, menus, and more. Themes and plugins alike can add custom options to the Customizer.
WordPress

WordPress Customizer - theme YET:13

WordPress Customizer - theme preview

The above makes switching themes look easy, but many are rather difficult to comprehend. The Customizer may improve this. Yet when choosing a theme it is best to look at the theme documentation to get the most out of it.

Why WordPress embraces SEO

To make a website search engine friendly, the most important factor is the content. Nothing can beat good content. However, when hundreds of websites provide good content on the same topic, the one with the best search engine optimisation (SEO) will be found the first. To that matter WordPress is king.

WordPress, straight out of the box, comes ready to embrace search engines. Its features and functions guide a search engine through the posts, pages, and categories to help the search engine crawl your site and gather the information it needs.
WordPress

One factor that has an impact on search engine rankings is the URL. You should make sure that it contains the keywords you want to score with.

Why WordPress? Pretty permalinksThis article, for example, is about WordPress. So you see the keyword in the URL. “WordPress” however, is an impossible keyword. There is way too much competition. So, we need to be more specific. “Why WordPress” is still quite impossible, but soit, if this page ever gets a good ranking, it is a good sign.

The point is: WordPress makes it easy to use pretty permalinks. Since WordPress 4.2 pretty permalinks are the default setting if mod_rewrite is enabled on the server. For blog posts it includes the year, the month and the day.

/%year%/%monthnum%/%day%/%postname%/

This is not necessary. You can change this to “post name” (or whatever suits you best) in the permalink settings. And when you write a new post or page, you can easily change the URL according to your needs.

Why WordPress - edit pretty permalink

pinging

By default, each time you create or edit a post in your blog WordPress “pings” Ping-o-Matic to inform that your blog got updated. Ping-O-Matic then spreads the word to different search engines. In the WordPress writing settings you can add more services.

@ECO13.me – ECO13.me sites currently ping 26 update service by default. The list, however, needs to get updated to make sure all services are still active. And to verify that none are missing, or double. This is on the not so urgent to do list.

pingback

A default setting in WordPress is also to send a “pingback” to articles you link to in your blog. When that blog accepts pingbacks the author gets notified. Usually a link back to your blog post appears in the comment section of the blog.

The SEO value is a bit doubtful though. The link has a “nofollow” attribute. Else it would be considered a reciprocal link, which would be considered unacceptable link building. So, it only helps people to find your content on the page you link to.

If you do not wish to send or receive pingbacks, you can change this behaviour in the discussion settings.

Why WordPress - discussion setting: send and receive pingbacks

title tag

WordPress automatically adds a title tag to the head of your posts and pages. This shows up as title in search results and on social networks. By default it is the same as the real title. Since titles usually tell us what a post or page is all about, this is good enough. However…

  • Subtitles are not included in the title tag.
  • For search results the default title may be too long to be good.
  • It could be useful to use a different title on social networks.

That is why SEO plugins are no luxury.

The title element of a web page is meant to be an accurate and concise description of a page’s content. This element is critical to both user experience and search engine optimization. It creates value in three specific areas: relevancy, browsing, and in the search engine results pages.
Moz

alt text

As said, WordPress makes it easy to add “alt text” to images. You can do so in the media library. It is highly recommended to do it consistently upon upload. When you add an image to a post or page, the alt text will then be included automatically. If you use images more than once, however, it can be useful to add different keywords to the alt text. In this post, for example, the alt text starts with “Why WordPress”.

WordPress makes it easy to change the alt text in posts:

  • Click on an image.
  • Click on the edit icon (pencil).
  • Change the “Alternative text”.
  • And click the “update” button.

Why WordPress - editor - change the alt text

SEO plugins

Out of the box WordPress is only reasonably good for SEO. WordPress keeps it basic, probably because not all sites are meant to go public. Likely also because SEO is a never ending story. It is better to leave this to the specialists. That is where SEO plugins come into play.

If you want your WordPress website to be found easily in search rankings, you need to use at least one. All in One SEO Pack and Yoast SEO are the most recommended ones.

Some important features are the ability:

  • to change the title tag,
  • to add meta tags,
  • to optimise your pages and posts for social networks
  • and to create a site map.

Read the plugin descriptions for more details.

@ ECO13.me – Yoast SEO is installed at ECO13.me. You still need to activate the plugin and add a few settings. Most are good to go, but some are personal, like links to your social network.

Why WordPress themes are amazing

You may know it, or you may have guessed by now. The design of a WordPress website is determined by the theme. A theme basically is code that contains all style elements. Most themes add some other functionality too. It is like that for every CMS.

What makes WordPress stand out is the large number and the wide variety of themes. This is particularly hepful when you do not have the budget for a custom made theme. You still can get a rather unique style, that fits the identity of your organisation, project or personality.

En plus, many themes have settings to change the look and feel of the theme. And since the Customizer is gaining momentum, this becomes a whole lot easier.

YET:13 theme with different colours at ECO13.me Testdrive

Why WordPress is unlimited

WordPress can be used by anyone who knows how to use an editor. The many features and settings may be overwhelming at first, but you can ignore almost everything and learn more along the way. WordPress enables you to create a beautiful, functional, SEO friendly website, without any knowledge of code.

And the more you know, the more you will want to know. You can continue to improve your WordPress skills for many years and you still will not know everything about WordPress. Learning WordPress is like walking a long, yet rewarding discovery trail with a smooth (learning) curve and surprises after every bend. You can take it easy, or challenging. The choice is yours. Yet unless you get started, you do not know what you are missing.

@ ECO13.me – The fact that there is a lot to learn about WordPress is a decisive reason for managed WordPress solutions like ECO13.me. With an ECO13.me site you basically get a headstart: you do not need to take care of hosting, security, backups and so on, while retaining most advantages of a self hosted WordPress installation at a price that is neglectable.

Why WordPress support rocks

If you get started with WordPress now, you have one big advantage: many got started before you. The WordPress community is huge. On one side there are people who write tutorials. So, if you have a question about WordPress, you can simply search for an answer. On the other side there are people who help in the support forums. If you do not find an answer, or if you run into a problem, you can (often) find help there.

@ ECO13.me – At ECO13.me we take advantage of the huge pile of information to provide efficient yet minimal support in an effort to keep the price as low as it gets. Still, you can rest assured that help is always just around the corner. That is a big advantage compared to a self hosted WordPress installation.

Why you should use WordPress
conclusion

It would not be hard to accolade WordPress for another day or two. Yet I hope you are starting to get the picture on why WordPress is by far the most successful CMS. And on what gets people hooked. If you have a website project in mind, or if you are looking to improve your website, certainly give WordPress a try.

Since you are still reading WordPress is most likely the right choice for you.
You have a couple of options:

  • You can get hosting and install WordPress yourself. This is not difficult. It gives you the most freedom. But make sure to look into WordPress security and to always keep your installation up to date. It is easier to get started, than to keep going.
  • You can create a free website at WordPress.com. This is the official WordPress platform. You will face more restriction. For example, you cannot monetize your free site. You cannot turn it into anything you can image. You will pay for extras like using plugins, a premium theme and your own domain. If your budget allows to get the most out of it, however, or if you simply want a free website, WordPress.com is a good choice.
  • You can craft your WordPress website here at ECO13.me. You will have close to all the freedoms of a self hosted installation. You can focus on your content and on the look and feel of your website. You will benefit from the platform features. You will get all available premium plugins and themes at once, for a tiny price. Meanwhile you support open source development and the transition towards a grass green internet.

Beware though: ECO13.me is currently still beta. You can try it out for free for at least 130 days. We however do not offer any guarantees just yet. You may stumble upon bugs. And we will be forever grateful if you report these.

Thank you for your interest!

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