WordPress LogoWhat do the New York Times, TechCrunch and Yahoo have in common? They use WordPress – a free and open source blogging tool and content management system (CMS) that anyone can use to publish a website.

WordPress started out as a blogging platform in 2003 and now it’s the top content management system in the world.

Why is WordPress so popular?

The top 5 CMS are WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, vBullentin and Blogger

Percentages of websites using various content management systems

WordPress is used by 15.7% of all the websites, with a content management system market share of 53.9% according to W3techs.com.

But why is WordPress the top content management system in the world?

It’s free. But wait. There’s more…

The magic of WordPress is that it enables anyone to create a dynamic corporate website very quickly and fairly easily depending on how much customization you want.

WordPress has something for everyone

WordPress appeals to everyone from individuals who want to create personal websites, to online media giants like Mashable and Tech Crunch.

WordPress can be a do-it-yourself web development tool for non-designers and non-coders. Or you can extend WordPress by building your own templates, plugins and widgets. In either case your site is powered by the amazing open source PHP and MySQL based WordPress platform and supported by a vast community of WordPress developers.

How? WordPress has a template and plugin system that makes it very easy for people to build websites.

It sounds too good to be true. But seriously. 70 million plus people and businesses have published WordPress sites.

WordPress is so awesome that I’ve become obsessed with it. I used to build our websites stafflink.ca and blog.stafflink.ca.

Two Flavours of WordPress: WordPress.org and WordPress.com

One of the first questions people ask me when getting started with WordPress is the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

WordPress.com is like WordPress-lite. It gives you free web hosting, but it has limited options for customization. With WordPress.com you have access to over 160 great looking templates, with more being added all the time. It’s great for people who are setting up a website for the first time.

WordPress.org is the full version of WordPress. You need to find your own web hosting for your website but it gives you full access to the code and you have thousands of templates and plugins to choose from.

Ten Reasons I Love WordPress

  1. It’s revolutionary. With WordPress anyone who knows a little HTML and CSS can put up a dynamic business website extremely fast.
  2. Open source.Its continuously improving thanks to a huge community of developers lead by WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg.
  3. Community support. Numerous sites like WPBeginner.com , WPTavern.com and WPRecipe.com offer tutorials, tips and reviews. WordPress.org has extremely helpful community forums where you can get an answer to almost any WordPress-related issue.
  4. You’re in good company. NYTimes, Ebay, Yahoo, Ford, SmashingMag, Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, Sony, Samsung, Playstation and Wired all have WordPress sites.
  5. Easy to install.WordPress.org is famous for the 5-minute installation. (It took me quite a bit longer the first time). Or you can use an autoinstaller like Fantastico that is available for free on many web hosts.
  6. Templates.WordPress enables you to style your website automatically with a huge selection of free and premium design templates.
  7. Plugins.Get a free plugin for almost anything: social media , backups, caching, security, mobile integration.
  8. Widgets. Drag and drop elements to build your sidebars and footer.
  9. Documentation. The WordPress Codex is fully searchable and meticulously maintained by a dedicated development community.
  10. It’s Free! Take advantage of all of this awesomeness for free. Really. I know. It seems too good to be true.

Next Step to Setting Up Your WordPress Blog

Websites with free guides to help you set up your first WordPress blog:

  1. WPBeginner.com
  2. Blogging.org
  3. FirstSiteGuide.com

WPBeginner is my personal go-to site when I’m looking for guidance with my own WordPress sites. Blogging.org and FirstSiteGuide.com were recommended to me by readers. I haven’t had personal experience with them but what I’ve seen of their sites looks promising.

Please add a comment to tell us about your experience with setting up a WordPress blog and your favourite sites for getting help.