At its core, WordPress is the easiest, most popular way to create your own website or blog. In fact, WordPress powers more than 37.6 percent of all websites on the Internet. Yes–more than one of the four websites you visit is likely to be powered by WordPress. On a slightly more technical level, WordPress is an open-source content management system licensed under GPLv2, which means that anyone can freely use or modify WordPress software. A content management system is basically a tool that makes it easy to manage important aspects of your website–such as the look and feel–without needing to know anything about programming. The end result is that WordPress makes building a website accessible to anyone–even to people who are not developers.
WordPress was created as a standalone project in 2003 and originated as an offshoot of a previous project called b2/cafelog. WordPress is open-source software, so today it’s made up of a huge community of contributors. But if we were to trace the origins of WordPress back to its roots, its original creation was a collaboration between Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. Since then, Matt Mullenweg has largely become the face of WordPress. And he’s also the founder of Automattic, the company behind the WordPress.com for-profit service. WordPress’s history, from its founding as a blog platform back in 2003 to today is a long one. But it’s fair to say WordPress has continued to push the envelope as a content management system and, thanks to its huge community of contributors, it has become the most popular solution for creating any kind of website.
One of the main advantages of WordPress is that it is a free, open-source software. While you’re going to end up paying some for hosting, you’re never going to have to pay to use the WordPress software, which isn’t the case with alternatives like Squarespace. Beyond that, you can also find a lot of open-source (i.e., free) plugins and themes to change how your website looks and functions.
WordPress is already very extendable. Even if you’re not a developer, you can easily modify your website with WordPress’ vast ecosystem of themes and plugins.
Themes: these mainly change the way your website looks.
Plugins: these mainly change the way your website works. Plugins could be something small, like a contact form, or huge, like creating an eCommerce store.
There are currently over 50,000 free WordPress plugins and 5,000 free WordPress themes, as well as tons of premium options. Clearly, you have a lot of choices before designing anything yourself!
Website development companies often sell expensive packages where they ask for an upfront down payment and a recurring monthly maintenance payment. The problem is that WordPress isn’t all that hard to manage if you learn the ropes and get the proper training. The management of a website usually involves a few things:
You don’t personally need to check on the server for WordPress, so it’s more about getting a good host and seeing if the site is running at all times. Security and backups are handled either by plugins or by your managed WordPress hosting plan. Everything else on the list needs to be done occasionally.
To sum up, you can spend a lot of time and effort creating in other ways, yet WordPress is both widely versatile and cost efficient to allow anyone to use it.