Jeremy Hickman, WordPress Website Designer 1200 627
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About the author

Jeremy Hickman is a freelance Web Designer and WordPress expert from West Sussex in the UK. With over 20 years' experience as a web designer, he also has a good level of development, marketing and SEO knowledge across both WordPress and HubSpot platforms.

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There’s a pretty good chance you’ve heard of WordPress even if you’re not sure what it is.  In this article we explore what WordPress is and the benefits of using it to power your website.

WordPress is a website Content Management System (CMS).  It has evolved from a tool used to publish blogs to become a fully-featured CMS that can be used to create any sort of website.

WordPress is popular with web designers and users because it is versatile and easy to use.  Since its launch in 2003 WordPress has grown to be the most popular CMS in the world. Nearly half of all websites today are built on WordPress.

Since its launch in 2003 it has grown to be the most popular CMS in the world.  Nearly half of all websites today are built on WordPress.

What does WordPress cost?

WordPress is open-source software.  This means that it doesn’t cost anything to download or use it.

There are a number of commercially available additions available for WordPress to add functionality (plugins) or provide styling (themes) for your website.  Whilst many of these are free, some are not. The core functionality of WordPress is always free.

WordPress is open-source

Open-source software is software with source code that anyone can inspect, modify or change, and redistribute without needing any specific permission.  This arrangement encourages people to contribute their ideas to improve the software, adding features or fixing things that don’t work properly.

Contrast this with most software which usually only the person, team or organisation that created it is allowed to alter or distribute.  This type of software is called ‘proprietary’ or ‘closed-source’ software. 

What can I use WordPress for?

You can use WordPress to create a variety of websites.  Your imagination is the only thing that limits you.  The following list gives some examples of websites that could be build using WordPress but the options are endless:

  • Personal blogs
  • Professional portfolios
  • Business websites
  • Online shops for physical or digital product
  • Sites with content that you need to be a member or subscriber to view 

Because it is a CMS WordPress makes it easy to add content. You manage your content with an easy-to-use dashboard.

Managing your content through a CMS makes it much easier to look after your website yourself.  Without a CMS you would need to code your content directly into the HTML of your web pages.  Unless you have technical knowledge you’d have to pay a web designer each time you want to change an image or alter a passage of text.

You will find that WordPress can handle your content requirements with ease.  It supports text, images and videos and makes it easy to insert content into your pages.

A variety of templates, collectively known as a theme, displays your content on your website.  A theme dictates the styling of your website, including the colours, fonts, and layout.

You will find numerous helpful tutorials and guides online due to WordPress’ community-supported ethos.

Image depicting website security

Is WordPress secure?

Being the most popular CMS today means WordPress can be the unwelcome target of hackers.  Security is a concern for most businesses and a secure website will give you peace of mind. To ensure the safety of your data, hackers and data breaches need to be kept at bay.

WordPress includes a number of features that will help to safeguard your website.  It will log out users that have been idle for a period of time, and provides for two-factor authentication.

The open-source license of WordPress allows for the community to make constant improvements to the software. Through software updates, new features are introduced, bugs are fixed, and security enhancements are delivered periodically.

It is essential that you install the software updates in a timely manner to implement new security features.  Having an effective website support arrangement in place is a good idea. This will relieve you from having to keep an eye on this area yourself.  You’ll avoid exposing your site to risk if you forget to carry out the updates, or carry them out too late.

You may want to consider WordPress-specific hosting for your website. WP Engine provide managed hosting specifically for WordPress sites with the emphasis on security and reliability.

How can I add new functions to a WordPress website?

The core functionality of WordPress is comprehensive, yet there will be times when your specific requirements require something different.  You can add additional functionality via a huge library of plugins.  There is a huge variety of free and open-source plugins to choose from.  You might need to pay for specialist or premium plugins for more specific needs.

Your WordPress web designer will be able to develop custom functionality that isn’t currently available through a plugin.  Their programming knowledge and the approachability of WordPress should mean it is possible to make a bespoke solution for you.

As with everything, you can have too much of a good thing. For the novice with limited coding knowledge there is a temptation to install dozens of plugins to solve even simple requirements. This can make your website less reliable.  A professional web developer will have a better way to give you the functionality you need, without relying on too many plugins.

Popular plugins for WordPress websites

Some popular plugins include:

  • Yoast SEO
    Helps you boost your search rankings by allowing you to enter key information in an easy interface in the WordPress dashboard.  A traffic light system will guide you, allowing you to see the impact of your optimizations..
  • wooCommerce
    A comprehensive e-Commerce system.  wooCommerce allows you to add physical and digital products to your website, and process payments online. 
  • Advanced Custom Fields (ACF)
    ACF allows you additional pieces of information (fields) to website pages, by altering or adding to the standard WordPress interface.
  • Contact Form 7
    You may want a form on your website to allow potential customers to contact you.  Contact Form 7 makes it easy for you to build a form for your website containing the fields you want.  You will receive an email with the information the viewer inputs into the form..

WordPress Themes

Whilst you enter the content for your web pages into the WordPress dashboard, the way this is shown to the world on your website is determined by a theme.  A theme is a collection of templates and other assets that make your website look a certain way.

It is possible to download free or paid-for themes.  Using an off-the-shelf theme means that will be limited to predetermined layouts and options available within that theme.  Invariably these options won’t precisely match your requirements, leading to much frustration. There are some very good reasons why you should avoid DIY WordPress themes.

Hiring a professional to make a bespoke WordPress theme for you will always yield a better result.  Your web designer will talk to you about your specific requirements for design and functionality.  You’ll avoid the time and effort of trying (and failing) to force an off-the-shelf theme to look how you want.  You won’t need dozens of plugins to give you the functionality you need.  You’ll end up with a site that looks and works how you want, and will be reliable and secure.


WordPress is a fantastic platform for your website. It is easy to use, and can be reliable and secure if used correctly.  You’ll find it simple to add new or amend existing content on your site yourself.  This means you’ll avoid the overhead of hiring a professional every time you want to make a small change.

If you would like to discuss your website requirements, reach out today for a no-obligation free initial discussion.

Client testimonials

So much tech know-how is needed to make a website function properly.  While many off-the-shelf products are available for a cost-effective price, what you save in money, you lose in website performance and speed - key factors for your search rankings.  Going for one of those well-marketed products is a false economy, and I am glad we saw the light and hired Jeremy.

William Hanson

Executive Director

The English Manner

Jeremy is extremely knowledgeable and has gone over and above to advise us on technical, design and UX elements of our site. He is very responsive, flexible and has managed to bring our design to life brilliantly and with expertise.

Sarah Phillips

Senior Manager, Marketing & PR

The Local Data Company

We have had many compliments on our website and it’s now incredibly user friendly as well. I would recommend Jeremy for all of your web development needs.

Levi Sanderson


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