WordPress has come a long way since its debut in 2003.  More than 20 million downloads later, it has become not only a popular blogging platform, but has expanded into a full-featured content management system (CMS) that manages your content by publishing and editing it regularly.

The beauty of WordPress is that you can easily publish different types of content – text, photo galleries, portfolios, e-commerce, discussion forums, videos, social sharing and more.  Depending on the type of content you want to include in your WordPress site, you may also need plugins (scripts that extend the core features of WordPress).

And then there are themes (templates) – literally thousands of free ones, not to mention premium (paid) themes to help you get your website looking the way you want.

WordPress is also relatively straightforward to install, though you have to make sure your hosting service supports WordPress , specifically PHP and MySQL.  Not sure?  Check with your hosting service.

WordPress also has SEO (search engine optimization) benefits, both with and without plugins, that can help your site get found in a web search.

We strongly recommend that you read the “Getting Started With WordPress” tutorial put out by WordPress.   Which brings up another benefit – an extensive community of users and help forums that can give you answers, or least point you in the right direction when something isn’t working quite the way you expected.

But …. before you get all excited and determined to have a WordPress website, there are a few drawbacks to consider.

Probably the biggest drawback is security.  Because WordPress is so popular, there is a seemingly endless stream of themes and plugins that, either through sloppy coding or maliciousness, are vulnerable to hacking.  Probably the best known example is timthumb, an image scaling script installed on millions of WordPress sites that made them vulnerable.  It is ESSENTIAL that you keep WordPress up to date at all times.  We’ve had clients whose websites have been blacklisted because the site got taken over by spammers, all because they didn’t upgrade.  Expect to upgrade 2-3 times, or more, a year.

However, not all plugins and themes are upgraded as frequently as WordPress, which can result in weird bugs or even outright failure, whenever you do a WordPress update. Whenever I have to update a WordPress site, part of me holds my breath until it all works together.   Make sure you have a complete back up to re-install in case the upgrade breaks the site. (Trust me on this one.)

So is WordPress right for you?  If you invest the time to learn the WordPress basics, and install WordPress upgrades regularly, I’d say absolutely!