What makes WordPress the preferred choice for CMS websites?

For businesses looking to create, manage and modify content on their websites without the need for specialised technical knowledge, WordPress is by far the most popular Content Management System (CMS). 

Used by around 41% of the web, it has a market share of approximately 65% of the world’s CMS-based sites, compared to the nearest rival with a 5% market share. The number of WordPress websites in 2021 is 708 million.*

Some of the key benefits of WordPress include:

  • Established technology that will continue to be supported for the foreseeable future.
  • A multitude of possibilities to integrate with other online tools, sites and social media (such as MailChimp, Salesforce, Hubspot, etc).
  • Many established tools for extending functionality or adding new features (e.g. membership, shopping, etc), or these can be developed to match specific requirements.
  • Comparatively easy to inherit sites from other developers.

WordPress is also free and open-source which makes it a cost-effective solution to many website requirements.


Designs and themes

There is an abundance of ready-made themes available for WordPress that can be used to create a functional and appealing website relatively quickly. For many clients, however, it’s often preferable to create a custom theme.

*Website designed by Friend Studio and developed by Alternative View Studios

This has many benefits, including:

  • A unique design that embraces company branding and content.
  • Tailored templates that keep presentation consistent throughout the site, making it easier to maintain the content or to create new pages.
  • A leaner codebase (a collection of source code used to build a particular software system, application, or software component) that only includes what is necessary for the site.

Content management and editing

WordPress’s user-friendly admin interface and popularity make it familiar to many content editors; its editing options can be customised to accommodate a range of approaches to content management.

When setting up the admin sections of a site it is important to achieve a balance between flexibility and usability. Usually, the best approach is to create a clear and logical content structure which then utilises standardised component templates to construct pages. This allows for a rich variety of presentation options while maintaining consistent design and functionality considerations, making it intuitive for non-technical editors to achieve strong, coherent layouts quickly and easily.

Where necessary, it can also be useful to add help or information pages within the WordPress interface itself for easy reference or to provide training sessions with content editors.

When creating a new version of an existing site there are tools that can be used to transfer data across from previous sites (including WordPress or other platforms). This can help save time, especially when there is a lot of existing content.


Development, testing and responsive design

A vital aspect of modern websites is ensuring the presentation and functionality works effectively across all available devices and screen sizes.

*Website designed by Friend Studio and developed by Alternative View Studios

Consideration of different screen sizes and interactions should be present from the design stage and revised throughout the site build and testing process. As well as testing on actual phones and tablets, services such as BrowserStack can be invaluable in allowing fast and effective testing across a wide range of hardware, operating systems and browsers.

Separate versions of the website (e.g. development and staging) are useful to continue development of a site without deploying new features until they are complete or for editors to experiment without affecting the live site. Version control (e.g. git) is also useful to maintain code revisions and to automate deployments where needed.


Optimisation and accessibility

Following the approaches outlined above will ensure a project runs smoothly and make it easier to optimise a site so that it loads quickly and performs well.

For example:

  • Only loading the tools and resources necessary for the site.
  • Optimising images to maintain clean design layouts and efficient file sizes.
  • Combining and minifying CSS and JavaScript assets.

Following key accessibility guidelines will also make sure a website is available to the widest possible audience and to maximise user experience.

Tools such as Google Lighthouse can provide objective feedback across a range of areas to ensure that a site is performing as effectively as possible.

WordPress also makes it easy to follow Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) best practices and for editors to prepare and assess their content for discovery and search ranking.


Security

WordPress attracts a lot of attention from hackers and spammers because of its popularity so it’s recommended security issues are reported quickly to ensure any problems can be fixed quickly and transparently.

WordPress can be as secure as any other CMS as long as security recommendations are followed:

  • Considering security during the setup process –  setting database table prefixes and using one database user per database, setting file permissions appropriately, disabling file editing and installing a security plugin.
  • Good user protocol – account naming, enforcing strong passwords and limiting the number of administrators.
  • Site maintenance – regular updates and backups and keeping plugin use to a minimum of well-maintained add-ons.
  • Installing an SSL certificate.

Maintenance, updates and enhancements

It is important to regularly monitor, backup and update WordPress sites to ensure they continue to function smoothly and receive the latest security and functionality patches.

The best approach is to schedule maintenance time at specified intervals. During this process, available updates can be reviewed, documented and tested on a development and/or staging version of the site before making any changes to the live site. This systematic approach means that if any fixes are needed they can be carried out with minimum disruption.

Regular maintenance may also include a limited number of development hours to add new features or enhancements as needed.


Conclusion

By following best practice guidelines, an experienced team can put together an attractive and functional website that satisfies all kinds of requirements with a strong design and easily updated content.

*Source: Manaferra 


Example WordPress websites

Take a look at some of the WordPress websites we have recently developed:

Closed Loop Partners
BDA Partners
Liverpool CAMHS
Youth Connect 5

Want to find out more?

We’ve been doing this for 20 years, working with international clients including BBC, Cambridge University Press, News UK, Medical Aid Films and Friend. Your creative projects will be in good hands with Alternative View Studios.

Call us on 020 8374 4760 or email on hello@avstudios.com

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