I’m not going to discuss any of the alternatives to Wordpress in this post because I’ve not tried any.
And the reason I picked Wordpress over Squarespace or Wix is kind of embarrassing.
Everyone told me to choose Wordpress. It’s the best. It’s the most powerful. It has the best support.
Is all this true?
I don’t know, to be honest. It does what I need it to do.
Everyone also told me to switch asap from Hostgator to Siteground, which I did. In my experience, both companies did the exact same thing. Sorry, Hostgator.
Now that I know about affiliate programmes (Siteground’ll chuck you £60 if someone makes a sale through your link), I’d probably have conducted my own research, but the advice has served me well.
I’m not a technophobe (well, I kinda am), I’m just…not here to talk about content management systems. I learned one, and it’s fine.
So if you’re a writer who wants to start a blog, here’s a quick rundown of the things I like and don’t like about Wordpress:
It’s extremely popular
By which I mean literally of third of the websites use Wordpress. A third of all websites ever.
Which means that statistically speaking, someone out there started a website knowing less than you about websites. It was probably me.
And therefore, someone has encountered the same issue as you and asked the question. If you google a Wordpress query, there’ll probably be an answer for you. And if there isn’t, one of the nice people on Quora or Reddit will help you out.
A quick word about Siteground: if you message them about a technical issue you’re having, they don’t tell you how to how to fix it, they just do it themselves. I know I’ll never learn that way, but I don’t care.
It’s very customisable
Regardless of your budget. There are loads of free themes, and masses of designers that work with Wordpress. You can potentially make your website look however you want (or pay someone to do it for you).
Obvs the bigger the budget, the more you can customise, but being able to customise your website is little more than a hindrance when you’re getting your blog off the ground.
Plugins get a lot of bad press for slowing your website down, but they’re a lifesaver for someone like me that has no idea what they’re doing. If I need to check for broken links, I scour the plugin shop until I find one that fits the bill (and they have helpful names like ‘broken link checker’) and install it. When I don’t need it anymore, I delete it. Yay.
It’s fairly intuitive
I say fairly. I didn’t find it that easy to learn, but then again, I struggle with Facebook. There’s a lot of trial and error, but there’s also so much help and advice out there.
It’s updated all the time
Which means it’s always being kept up to date. Apparently Wordpress is automatically good for SEO, but if a third of websites are using it, it can’t make that much of a difference, surely?
You can get SEO plugins though, which are useful for getting to grips with formatting, but not at all necessary.
Fun story: I have Yoast but can’t remember why. It’s definitely there for a reason. Hmm.
I ignore their traffic light system because the keyword one is a bit outdated — it really likes an exact keyword match, which makes for some very strange and forced opening paragraphs. The readability one really cares too much that I’ve started three sentences in a row with the word ‘I’.
The Gutenberg block editor means I no longer need page builder plugins like Elementor, and it’s only set to get faster and more powerful. We hope.
You don’t even need to pay for hosting or a domain if you’re broke as hell. Get started on wordpress.com and move over to self-hosted when you either have the money or when you’re sure you want to pursue your blog.
It’s a skill
Yup. You can put ‘proficient on Wordpress’ or ‘can create a basic website’ on your resume. And what’s weirder is that you can. I learned Wordpress at such a slow rate that I forgot I knew more than most people.
When you spend the majority of your time online with people that know far more than you, you forget that most people irl haven’t a clue how to build a website.
Issa skill. And a useful one at that. Add in Photoshop (or, you know, Canva) and you have some covetable skills that you didn’t have to pay to acquire, and could give you an edge over the competition.
There’s a significant learning curve
With great power comes a fookin massive learning curve. And I’m a slow learner. I’m great at retaining information, but it takes a while for the information to pass through into my brain.
I think there’s some kind of shield around my brain that only allows certain, largely useless, information to pass through, and then NEVER LETS IT OUT.
I’m genuinely worried that my brain will fill up, and then I’ll never be able to remember any new information. Add that to fact that my feet have shrunk from a size 7 to a 5 and I’m rather apprehensive about the future.
Luckily there are a tonne of videos and blog posts that’ll help you navigate Wordpress. I recommend you just give it a go and google issues when you get stuck.
It’s being updated all the time
And yeah, that’s a good thing.
But also, I’m not here for the content management system.
I just want to write some word about some plants.
So when Gutenberg came out I went straight to the plugin shop and got the ‘classic editor’ one, along with thousands of other old ladies who don’t like change.
I’ve since braved Gutenberg, and it’s great, actually.
There are plugins like Stackable that mean you can create your truly customizable drag-and-drop site without either forking out for Divi (a little pricey for me) or dealing with the potential that Elementor will stop updating their plugin, or start charging for it.
For the sake of learning how to use the block editor (which took all of about 20 minutes), I removed that risk, and have one less plugin.
And that’s it
My crappy review of Wordpress, for people that want to start a blog, but can’t make that first decision. The beauty of Wordpress is that you can move your site from a free, crappy, site, to a beautiful, professionally designed masterpiece, with relative ease.
It may not feel easy at the time, but it’s possible to do it yourself, and a professional could do it for you easy peasy.
But when it comes to migrating from Squarespace or Wix it can become a bit more complicated, and you have to learn a whole new system.
There are also fewer options when it comes to customisation, and other random issues, such as rich pins, that aren’t as simple if you’re not using Wordpress.
Don’t believe the Wix and Squarespace ads. Wordpress is where it’s at.