WordPress: It’s Not Just for Blogs Anymore

I’m a professional, and I get it. Not every project is going to work out. Sometimes clients balk and projects fizzle, and for all sorts of reasons. It’s all a part of the biz.

But what irks me is when projects die from silliness. Silliness because some corporate IT department somewhere rejected WordPress out-of-hand because of antiquated notions of security and/or what WordPress is designed to do. We’ve already covered how WordPress is no more (or no less) insecure than other website publishing platforms. But the other false narrative that I hear (a lot!) is that “WordPress is just a blogging platform,” often coupled with “use Medium instead.”

There’s a lot to unpack there.

“Just a Blogging Platform”

Let’s start with the “WordPress is just for blogs” piece. This hasn’t been true since I don’t know how long.1I guess if you want to pin a date on when WordPress outgrew its blogging shell, that would have to be 2010—nearly a decade ago—when new features were added to create more than just the default posts and pages typically seen in blogging platforms. As long ago as 2014, I was out in the community advocating how WordPress had grown into a multifunctional web publishing platform, such as this appearance on ShopTalk Show.

The reality is that over one-third of websites throughout the Internet run on WordPress. This is measured by examining the top 10 million websites, by traffic. Certainly, the top 10 million websites on the Internet are not mostly personal blogs. (You can read all about the trends and methodology of these numbers at W3Techs.) Academic institutions, corporate news portals, federal agencies, foundations, and major news organizations are just a few of the types of sites built on the WordPress platform.

WordPress has grown from its humble, personal-blog origins to become a robust, full-featured content management system, the equal to any expensive, proprietary content management solution on the market. The ability to easily create custom content types, data fields, and categorization give it a flexibility that is—by design—scalable to almost anything an organization needs it to be.

Such is the power of open source software. With hundreds to thousands of collaborators and contributors, projects that start small have the ability to grow beyond their meager origins. WordPress found a niche among people who appreciated easy-to-use content management for content authors, yet extensibility by developers. The extraordinary growth over the last ten years has been no accident; it’s the dedicated work of many, many people to bring a content management solution to the masses. Not just a blog.

“Use Medium Instead”

So often, I hear the refrain “use [the hot blogging tool of the day] instead.” Years ago, this was LiveJournal. Then it was Blogger. Today it is Medium. Tomorrow it’ll be… ????

When blogging alternatives are offered as a replacement for WordPress, it demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of what WordPress is, or can be. It also ignores one other crucial piece of the equation: owning your content.

With WordPress, you have the option of controlling your content, from the fundamental software level, and doing with it as you see fit. Don’t like your hosting provider? Switch! It’s really not that hard to move a WordPress site from one host to another. (Need help? Just ask!)

Other options don’t allow you to do that. They’re SaaS products (software as a service), and once you go down their road, you’re locked in.2Yes, WordPress has a SaaS product too, WordPress.com, but that’s not the same as the freely-available software that it’s built on, which is what we’re talking about here. Moving off of a SaaS product is much harder than switching a WordPress website’s hosting provider. Often it involves new themes and designs, and changes in functionality. You could also lose content if the first SaaS product is not 100% compatible with the content structure of the next SaaS product.

Additionally, monetization is not your call. You may want your content to be free to the world, but if a SaaS product decides to slap a paywall in front of it, there’s not much you can do. Or the SaaS product may decide that in order to see content, a visitor must log in with Facebook, or Google, or some other enormous third-party mega-corporation that you had no intention of becoming entangled with.

And if you wanted to monetize your content for yourself—either through a paywall or through advertising—your options could run the gamut from sharing revenue with the SaaS provider to not being able to monetize your content at all.

So You’re Saying Every Website Should Be WordPress, Right?

Not at all! WordPress is by no means the right solution for everyone’s website. But with over 3 million websites on the Internet using it, it might be the right solution for yours, even if your website isn’t “just a blog.”

Think WordPress might be the right fit for your website’s needs, but don’t know how to get started? Drop us a line. We’ll work with you to develop a WordPress site that’s tailored to your organization’s particular online needs.

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