WordPress is one of the most popular website content manage systems in the world, but is it good for professional websites? With an estimated 75 million sites using WordPress, there is no shortage in popularity. There is a good chance you will encounter a WordPress site on most search engine search pages.
Is WordPress Good For Professional Websites? WordPress is an amazing content management system (CMS) to build your professional website. Fortune 500 companies such as Walt Disney, Forbes, Microsoft all use WordPress to power sites. It’s open-source framework allows for incredible scalability, cost-control, and customization. It’s built with incredible out-of-the-box SEO and unbelievable tools for WordPress design.
WordPress is surely an amazing platform to build professional websites and blogs. We recommend WordPress to most businesses, but it’s not for everyone. Let’s walk through WordPress pros and cons to see if WordPress is a fit for your website.
Is WordPress good for professional websites?
WordPress is an amazing platform to build great professional websites. Not only does is manage all your content (content management system), but it also gives you enormous creative control. Let’s talk about some of the benefits of using WordPress.
Matt Mullenweg, Founder of WordPress has made it his life mission to create a truly timeless website platform. He once stated:
“It’s my responsibility to meet as many users as possible and direct the software project in a way that reflects their interests. Last year, I probably met 2,000 or 3,000 people who make their living from WordPress.”Matt Mullenweg
We are huge fans of Matt and his vision. The growth of WordPress has been unprecedented. And the best part is WordPress hasn’t alienated its huge user-base. Thousands of people are making their living from WordPress and Matt and his team understand this intimately.
Top Reasons to use WordPress for Professional Websites
- Open Source: Being an open source content system means that developers around the world can build WordPress add-ons to enhance the experience. There are currently 50,000+ plugins you can download inside of WordPress to add features to your website. Whether you need to add a shopping cart (WooCommerce), forms for customers to fill out (Contact Form 7), SEO assistance (All in One SEO Pack), or secure your site (WordFence)—you are great hands. Also, if your site really grows in popularity, the open source code enables you to hire a developer to create custom components for your site.
- Themes: If you aren’t a great designer or you need a head start, WordPress developers have created millions of pre-designed themes to get your site up without any design chops. There are plenty of themes that look just as good as custom websites costing thousands of dollars more. You can start with a great free themes like OceanWP or Astra or you can opt for a premium theme like Astra Pro or Divi. There are even themes for specific uses like Amazon affiliate websites, product stores, hobby sites, blogs, professional websites, and more.
- Tutorial Rich: WordPress may not be the easiest platform to use, but the learning curve isn’t bad. And, it’s a million times easier to learn WordPress than it is to learn how to code custom sites. The good news is the amount of YouTube, Udemy, and other online courses for mastering WordPress is unreal. My suggestion is to stick with YouTube for now. There are millions of videos on setting up WordPress and mastering specific themes and plugins. There is no need to feel intimidated with WordPress. We even have a quick guide for you here to get you started.
- Inexpensive: Sure, there are other web platforms like WIX or SpaceSpace that are easy to get up and running quickly, but you’ll be limited by their internal technology development (not open source) and you’ll be prisoner to their pricing if you want to keep your site long-term. With WordPress, you can choose what you’d like to spend during each phase of your business. You can start with cheaper website hosting (<$3/month) and a free theme to get your started. As your website grows, you can access better hosting and move to a premium theme with more options. The sky is truly the limit with WordPress.
- Validated: Here is the deal, WordPress is has been powering websites all over the web since 2003. WordPress isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The WordPress parent company (Automattic) tops $120 million in revenue with almost 1000 employees and a CEO approval of 90/100 from Owler. Not to mention, countless Fortune 500 companies are using WordPress for their websites (more on that below).
As you can see, WordPress is amazing. If you aren’t a developer but think you might need flexibility for your website moving forward, WordPress is your best option. You won’t be trapped into a closed framework, you can control your expenses over time, and you can build a beautiful site in less than a day to launch your site in record time.
What’s not to like? WordPress is awesome.
What popular websites use WordPress?
If you’ve ever contemplated using WordPress because you don’t think it’s “professional” enough for your website, you’d be wrong. Honest, but true.
There are billion dollar companies that use WordPress to power their websites. If that doesn’t prove its worth, I don’t know what does. They have the money to use something else and they still use WordPress.
At one point, I wasn’t sure whether or not WordPress was right for my business. And then a developer friend told me he often chooses WordPress for his client sites. That seemed strange to me because he’s an incredible developer.
He said it was fast, easy, and flexible. He also pointed to the fact that it’s built on flexible code that he can modify to his liking. Makes sense, but who else uses WordPress? I needed more convincing…
After some research, I quickly learned that my friend wasn’t alone in his WordPress recommendation. HUGE corporations use WordPress everyday to power their million and billion dollar companies. You wouldn’t believe who uses WordPress when you start researching.
Popular companies that use WordPress
- Facebook Newsroom
- Sony Music
- MTV news
- BBC America
- The New Yorker
- Bloomberg Professional
- Microsoft News Center
- Walt Disney
- Best Buy
This list is in no way exhaustive. It’s just a small group of enormous companies that are leveraging WordPress for their corporate websites. I too was surprised when I went down the rabbit hole.
There are hundreds more companies I could list to give WordPress more clout. Here’s a few more: Time Inc, Forbes, The New York Times, Beyonce, The Rolling Stones, and Usain Bolt.
Sorry, I’ll stop name dropping.
Pro tip: How do I know these companies are using WordPress? It’s pretty simple. I use a cool Chrome Extension called Wappalyzer. Any website that I visit, I can click on Wappalyzer and it will tell me what web platform technology they are using.
When I visit a site and think it looks great, I’ll take a peak under the hood. To my surprise, it’s often WordPress with a sweet theme and premium plugins.
Take for example when I visit the Etsy blog. I think it looks great, feels clean, and it’s lightening fast. It must be custom right?
I click on Wappalyzer, and boom—it’s WordPress and a WordPress plugin for SEO called Yoast. Being that Etsy is on track for $800 million in revenue, they have more than enough to money to build a custom blog—yet they continue to use WordPress. There must be something to it ay?
You can’t go wrong with WordPress for websites. Too many industry titans are using it. You can feel 100% comfortable that if you start a website on WordPress today, it can grow with you for the foreseeable future. If you fear that you’ll need something custom in the future, there are plenty of freelancers on UpWork who can build a custom feature for you without a problem.
In truth, you probably have little reason to outgrow WordPress ever.
Why WordPress might not be good for professional websites
There are more reasons to use WordPress than we can list out in this blog, but there are a few reasons why you may not want to use WordPress. While we are raving WordPress fans here at BSM, we understand it’s not right in every situation.
Why WordPress might not work for your Website
- Security: While WordPress does have secure plugins, there are vulnerabilities that can happen and do happen. Because WordPress is ubiquitous in the world of web building, if a hacker finds a single loophole in WordPress, they can exploit millions of websites quickly. Hackers can get into WordPress through poor hosting security, poor login credentials, outdated software (not updating), PHP vulnerabilities, and poorly built plugins. This happens a lot. We aren’t trying to scare you away from WordPress, but you should be aware that open source platforms like WordPress are more vulnerable than closed platforms like SquareSpace.
- Hosting issues: Not all hosting is the same. It’s pretty easy to get lured into cheap hosting and a cheap domain name only to find out your website visitors are waiting 10 seconds to load each page. Most cheap hosting plans are “shared”. This means that you’ll be sharing the same server as other websites. Not only does this become a security problem, but if a website on your shared server has a huge traffic spike, then your performance could be affected as well.
- Update annoyance: WordPress requires updating. It stinks, but it’s a reality. Your theme will release new updates, WordPress itself will release updates, each plugin will have updates, PHP code will update versions, and your hosting company might have updates. Many of these don’t update automatically. So, you’ll need to stay on top of it. When sites aren’t updated, they become vulnerable and buggy.
- Plugin carnage: Plugins make WordPress limitless. Plugins also make WordPress a nightmare. Download a bad plugin that hasn’t been updated in 2 years and it could break your entire site. Not all plugins play nice together either. That’s a fact. If you Google “Plugin breaks WordPress,” you’ll see a couple thousand examples of plugin disasters.
- Learning curve: WordPress isn’t hard to learn, but it’s certainly not the easiest. The user experience is so-so. When I first started learning WordPress, I was confused. I’d learn how to modify something and feel great. And then I’d try a new theme and that same functionality would be somewhere completely different. The open-framework can be maddening at times. You’ll need to spend considerable time learning your way around WordPress, building webpages, and adding quality plugins that don’t break your site.
- Support: What support? There isn’t much support. It’s open and free and it would cost a lot of money to support all the free WordPress sites out there. Unless you are purchasing premium themes and premium plugins, you are probably on your own. If your site breaks, you’ll need to figure it out or pay a web agency. If something is wrong with WordPress itself, you can use support here.
- Speed: There are blazing fast themes, and there are SLOW themes. There are crazy fast hosting companies, and then there are SLOW hosting companies. Some plugins zip and zoom while others CRAWL. There are many reasons why your WordPress site can slow down which can be frustrating. It takes trial and error to figure these things out. You can test your website speed at GTMetrix to get a feel for your site speed.
- E-Commerce is tedious: Launching a store isn’t easy with WordPress. You might see people rave about WooCommerce and other shopping cart plugins, but it’s not easy. And if you are a beginner, it can be grueling. Remember, it’s open source, so you may need to configure landing pages, shoppings pages, cart pages, checkout pages, and transition pages. Inside of the pages you’ll need form configuration, privacy language, and payment processor integration. On the backend, you’ll need to configure a mail client and auto-responders. It’s a lot.
Can I mitigate these limitation?
Yes. There are ways to ensure a better experience, but there is a learning curve—it’s the way of WordPress life.
Let’s go through a couple way to work around some of these limitations. We have a ton of trial and error experience, fortunately and unfortunately.
Security: Download a security plugin like WordFence. It works great and can grow with your business. There is a terrific free version and an even better premium version.
Hosting issues: Hosting quality is all over the board. There are some real crummy hosting services out there. Choose a quality host PLEASE. Instead of opting for cheap shared hosting, choose a dedicated hosting plan. In-Motion dedicated hosting plan is a really good one.
Update annoyance: Updating your website is a major pain with themes, plugins, and such. We use ManageWP to help us auto-update our site. It shows us every plugin that isn’t updated. We can also set the website to update plugins automatically. It’s a great tool. Not to mention, ManageWP has a great backup tool for your data. It’s a few bucks per month and well worth the price.
Plugin carnage: Oh boy, where do we start. Because we can’t talk about every great plugin and list all the crappy ones, we will say this: make sure any plugin you download has A LOT of other downloads from other users (social proof), has been updated recently (within the last month), compatible with your theme (it will say), and whenever possible—go with a premium theme that has support. Plugins will wreck your website faster than anything else. Handle with care. When in doubt, spend a little money.
Learning curve: The learning curve can be sped up, but not eliminated. Head over to YouTube and type “WordPress for beginners + “current year”). You’ll have all the material you need to get started. You can also use our quick guide for reference.
Support: Get a hosting service that has great support. SiteGround and GreenGeeks have famously good customer service. Get a theme from a reputable company with great customer service. Envatemarket is a great place to read reviews and see customer feedback first hand. Keep an eye on limited support wording: 1 year, add-on support, email only, etc. Lastly, any plugins that are fundamental to your website and business, consider premium plugins with support.
Speed: This one can be tricky, but it’s essential. Get a lighting fast theme (we like Astra Pro) and a lighting fast server (we like SiteGround, GreenGeeks, Kinsta or Hostinger). Limit your plugins to a minimum and opt for high quality plugins. Use a great caching plugin (WPRocket for premium and W3 Total Cache for free), and compress all your content—especially images (TinyPNG is awesome). I’ve talked about most of these plugins, themes, and hosting here.
E-Commerce is tedious: If you want the greatest flexibility moving forward, WordPress might be right. Prepare to roll up your sleeves and get dirty. But, if you want to launch tomorrow, Shopify might be your best bet. They will handle most of the heavy lifting for you. Shopify is great for websites that are product-centric. If you have items to sell and you don’t want to learn a platform, Shopify is the easiest route.
As you can see, WordPress might not be right for your website. There are reasons you may want to go somewhere else.
We believe you should always consider WordPress as a possibility, but doing your homework is crucial when it comes to content management systems.
Is WordPress a good site builder?
WordPress is an AMAZING site building platform. To be fair, it hasn’t always been this way. WordPress had humble beginnings; and that’s putting it nicely. Early WP users felt like…
But that’s all changed! WordPress has developed into an UNBELIEVABLE website builder. Once you get the hang of WordPress and master a theme or two, you can fly.
With content in hand, I’ve built client websites in 3 to 4 hours. These same websites would take me 7 to 8 DAYS in the early versions of WordPress.
In fact, if your website is simple with only a few pages, you could have a custom website up and running in less than an hour. This isn’t an exaggeration, it’s definitely possible with some WordPress skills.
What makes WordPress a great site builder?
Draft history: WordPress is fairly forgiving if you mess something up when building your site. Not only can your server save recent changes, but WordPress can help you undo recent changes if you need to. This takes a little practice, but it works fairly well.
Site builders: The biggest advancement in WordPress by far are site builders. 10 years ago, WordPress sites were more or less unimpressive. Great for blogging and simple sites, not so good for average folks looking to build a professional website.
Then, theme companies like Avada, Divi, and StudioPress began adding more features to build a site with fewer clicks. This really elevated what WordPress was capable of—rivaling professional sites in design and aesthetics.
The problem was some of these theme builder tools weren’t that easy to use. Powerful? Yes. Simple? No so much.
Fast forward to today and you have “what you see is what you get” site builders that make building beautiful sites a breeze. We use site builder tools on all of our sites. In fact, we use this stack. They speed up our site building 1000%. That’s not an exaggeration.
Site builders have given people like us artistic tools that are easy to use. Drag and drop editors like Beaver Builder and Elementor have been true game changers. Adding new images, videos, colors, borders, text, and dynamic elements has never been easier.
Customizer: The native WordPress customizer and theme customizer control is amazing. You can change fonts, colors, headers, footers, and styling rules site-wide. This is amazing because you don’t need any development chops to make sweeping site changes.
Want a new font? No problem, click a few buttons. Want a new logo with new company colors? 5 minutes tops. The customizer is great.
Plugins: While this goes in line with site builders, there are other tools that help build great looking websites. Specific tools for sliders, widgets, video displays, tiles, image compression, security, and forms all make building websites on WordPress a simple process.
And as you master these tools, things get even more exciting. With tens of thousands of plugins at your disposal, there is literally nothing you can’t do. We mention a few good ones here.
Honestly, we love designing websites in WordPress. We haven’t always felt this way. 10 years ago, it was a miserable experience. 5 years ago, it was better, but slow and clunky. Today, you can built gorgeous websites in less than a day that will surprise your family and friends alike.
Is WordPress good for big websites?
WordPress is great for big information sites, news sites, businesss sites, and blogs. On the other hand, WordPress isn’t as good for big websites that need huge custom development teams to manage the flow of data.
For example, a big news site could use WordPress successfully without any hiccups. Forbes, TechCruch, BBC America, and even the official Star Wars blog uses WordPress. These websites experience influxes traffic and publish tons of content each day. WordPress works great.
Is WordPress good for SEO?
WordPress comes with incredible SEO right out-of-the-box. It handles proper HTML markup for you, provides SEO friendly meta data, makes title tags and headings super easy to manage, optimizes images for browsers and mobile, and makes content creation crazy simple.
WordPress also makes it easy to further optimize for SEO with plugins and themes. Tools such as All In One SEO, YOAST, and mobile responsive themes further improve SEO opportunities. WordPress is great for SEO without the need to customize much, or anything at all.