WordPress Rules!

So, you’ve decided to launch a blog or real estate website? Chances are you’re not doing it alone. That being the case, your next choice should be about which CMS (content management system) you’ll use to simplify all the activities you’d rather not have to be an expert on. Of the platforms out there WordPress has emerged as the clear leader. Here are four reasons why.

1. Popularity

WordPress is currently the most popular CMS in use on the Internet. All in all, almost 15 percent of all websites are on the Internet today are powered by WordPress, and 22 percent of new websites are choosing it. Why is this a good thing? Well, first of all, WordPress is open source, which means that the hundreds of thousands of developers who use it can contribute to improving its quality. This is why WordPress can release software updates more often than most technology companies, helping to keep your site secure.

WordPress’s popularity among regular site owners has a similar benefit. The more site owners there are using it, the more feedback the software receives, and the quicker bugs are fixed. Finally, the market for plugin developers and theme designers is robust and profitable. As of August 2011, WordPress has over 17,000 plugins and 1,500 free themes. Because so many people are competing to create great high-quality themes and plugins, you end up with a superior product.

2. Ease of Use

First, it’s incredibly simple to get started on WordPress. You can get your initial website up in about five minutes, which often includes setting up the hosting account, depending on the provider. Once you’re up and running, it’s incredibly simple to add content in the form of blog posts, pages, photos, listings, videos, music, etc. You name it, if it can be consumed on the Internet, you can add it to your WordPress site. Do this consistently and you’ll develop inbound links, improving your organic search results like the pros do.

Speaking of search results, WordPress is ready to play nice with search engines right out of the box. Its setup makes it easy for Google to crawl your website and collect information for its database. When it comes to blogging, WordPress can make you an SEO superstar with meta tags, customizable URL slugs, permalinks, trackbacks, and pinging—all designed to provide interactivity with other blogs (and their readers) and make your content accessible to search engines. Finally, there are plenty of free or low cost third-party plugins designed specifically for search engine optimization.

3. Power

Some people assume that because it’s a ready-made content management system, WordPress is meant for people and companies that don’t have the cash or the expertise to build a “real” website from scratch. But beneath WordPress’s user-friendly chassis is a seriously powerful engine that can handle just about anything you or your customers can dish out. In fact, some of the world’s most successful companies and highly trafficked websites use the WordPress platform as their foundation, including Mashable, The New York Times, CNN, Forbes, TechCrunch, Reuters, General Motors, UPS, eBay, Volkswagen, and Sony.

Although the core WordPress system is pretty basic, there are a great many ways to add on: custom web design and functionality, data integrations, user management tools, syndication tools, commenting systems, media management tools, web hosting, etc. You’ll have to pay for many of these additions, but because the core system is free, it’ll reduce your overall price tag.

4. Versatility

WordPress has tons of developers working on tons plugins, and many of these perform functions that are especially useful for real estate professionals. WordPress’s many features give you the ability to perform and provide a wide variety of real estate-specific tasks and services for your customers, including:

  • Show property listing data
  • Integrate map data
  • Share with social media
  • Post on Craigslist
  • Syndicate content
  • Syndicate listing data
  • Create forums and favorites lists
  • Set and show pricing levels
  • Enable subscriptions
  • Show geotargeted information
  • Provide CRM integration
  • Capture leads
  • Integrate payment gateways and invoices
  • Import and export data
  • Use coupon or discount codes

Naturally, you can use all of these capabilities to build different kinds of websites—which is a good thing, since there isn’t just one type of real estate site—and thanks to WordPress Multi Site, maintaining them all from a single administration panel.

Re-designing and existing website? read this guide to Maintaining your SEO During a Redesign. Need more reasons to use WordPress for your website? Go ahead and take it for a spin—after all, it only takes five minutes to see results.