After more than a decade of building websites, I have determined that the WordPress platform is an essential part of my online business, because it is so quick and easy to install on a new domain.
In this article, I am going to review the Top 5 Benefits of using WordPress as a Content Management System (CMS) and the Top 5 WordPress Plugins that you should consider using on your WordPress blog.
The reasons I like the WordPress blogging software are many, but I can sum up my interest in WordPress in five key benefits:
Quick and Easy Installation – Most of the more popular web hosting companies have included “Fantastico De Luxe” in the Admin Control Panel. By clicking the Fantastico icon, you are taken to a page that offers several pre-installed Content Management Systems (CMS), from which you can choose. WordPress is one of those pre-installed software applications, and you can install it by clicking the WordPress link and answering a few questions.
Website Themes – If I don’t like the appearance of WordPress, I can upload a new WP Theme to my website and be able to install my new theme from the WordPress Admin area with just a click. (http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/)
Website Functionality – Independent programmers have built more than 8,000 WordPress Plugins that will do almost anything that you want your website to do. If you find a WP Plugin you want, all you need to do is to download it, unzip it, then upload it to the appropriate directory on your website. Once the plugin has been uploaded to the Plugins directory, you simply need to activate the software in your WordPress Admin Panel. (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/)
Open Source – WordPress has put together a comprehensive set of documents on its website, to help anyone learn how to code specifically for the WordPress platform. The software has been designed in PHP, so anyone with minimal PHP can begin coding for WordPress immediately, after reading a few tutorials on its site: http://codex.wordpress.org/Main_Page
Self-Updating – In recent revisions, WordPress has added the ability for the WordPress software and any WordPress Plugins to notify you of the availability of software updates. In many cases, you will only need to click a link to have WordPress or any of its plugins to self-update.
Many coders may stomp a fit after reading this article, because many tell me that “there are better systems than WordPress”…
This article was not intended to tell you about ALL of the various blogging platforms… Or to argue the semantics of why one system might be better than another…
Instead, I wrote this article to tell you about all those things I love about WordPress…
I will leave the arguments about which blogging platform might be better, to people who have more time in their days than I do…
The Top Five WordPress Plugins
This list is based on WordPress Plugins that are accessible directly from WordPress (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/) and on the number of downloads that each plugin has had.
By a comfortable margin, the #1 most-frequently downloaded plugin from the WordPress website is, “All In One SEO Pack“. I have actually used this Plugin for more than one year.
It allows you to customize the meta information on each and every page of your WordPress-enabled website. The advantage that this offers of course is that instead of having default descriptions on every page of your blog, Google and the other search engines will have the option of seeing page specific descriptions on your website.
If you did not have this WordPress Plugin installed on your blog, WordPress would show your default global settings on every page of your blog, and as a result, Google and the other search engines may the value of your individual posts, within its algorithms.
The #2 most downloaded WordPress Plugin is called, “Google XML Sitemaps“, and as you can guess from its title, it will build an XML Sitemap for your website that is in the acceptable format for Google, Yahoo and MSN as defined at: http://sitemaps.org/ You can download the “Google XML Sitemaps” plugin
The #3 most popular WordPress Plugin is called, “Contact Form 7“. Once again, the name of the plugin tells the whole story:
The #4 most popular plugin for WordPress is called “Akismet“. Ironically, Akismet should be THE most popular, since it has been preloaded into the WordPress installation for a number of years now. Akismet is the comment spam killer. In order to use it, you must visit its website http://akismet.com and register, in order to receive your API key, which you will need to be able to operate this essential WordPress Plugin. Akismet is free for personal use. Commercial licenses are available for companies whose blogs do serve lots of traffic – corporate websites. You can download Akismet
The #5 most popular WordPress Plugin is called, ” WordPress.com Stats“. Many commercial webmasters simply fail to appreciate the true value of a website’s statistics. As far as I am concerned, your website’s statistics is essential business intelligence, permitting you to see not only how many people have gone to your site, but also which pages they viewed most often, how long they were on your site, how many pages they looked at when they came to your site, and how they found your blog in the first place. By studying this statistical information, you can quickly assess what you are doing right, so that you can do those things more frequently and eliminate those things that are not bringing success to your website. This application also needs a free API, in order to be able to use it, but that takes only a minute.
If you are like me, I would prefer to spend my time putting content on my websites that will more directly lead to more sales. I have zero interest in rebuilding the wheel, in order to get the job done…
Yes, I do have the skills to build websites from scratch and sometimes I do. But for the most part, I am more interested in creating the content that will close a sale, than in the glory of telling someone that I coded my entire website.
As a result, I am happy to let other people design systems that will allow me to focus on making money instead of on building websites…
That alone is the biggest reason I consider it worthwhile to use WordPress, for the initial launch of all of my new domains.
For quick and easy, functional and efficient, powerful and expandable, WordPress is the only Content Management System — a.k.a. blogging platform — that I will ever need to use.
Barry Prouty writes about the WordPress blogging platform. He covers topics such as WordPress Templates, WordPress Plugins, and the WordPress Codex (for programmers). For anyone looking for free “targeted” content for their blog and inbound links for their blog posts, check out the free Back Links Magnet WordPress Plugin at: http://www.backlinksmagnet.com/blog/