Why use Wordpress?
- If you're not a coder, then this is an easy way to publish a website. There are now plenty of alternatives, like Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, or Shopify, which may work even better, but if you don't want any multimedia or fancy designs, or if want to host it yourself, then Wordpress is still a viable option.
- Customizations are usually easy to add - with the help of plugins. There are many plugins, for anything from instagram slideshows to contact forms to price calculators.
- It's great for writers. If your site is focused on articles, blogs, news, papers, any kind of writing, Wordpress is a great content managemnt platform for that!
- You can hire a developer to customize just about everything. Wordpress is super popular, and has been around a long time. So, there are many experts all over the world who are familiar with customizing it. Make sure to hire someone that is not just experienced with web development in general, but with Wordpress plugins in general - so they can do a good job building or customizing the feature you want.
Why not Wordpress?
- For web developers / web software engineers, Wordpress might be too limiting. Unless you want to get into the business of building Wordpress powered sites for people, it is too much effort to learn the backend of the platform just to make your own themes and plugins.
- Customizing themes and functionality - is done through plugins. These plugins may not give you exactly what you're looking for, so you may have to compromise.
- Plugins are insecure. You'll have to limit yourself to the plugins built with security in mind. Wordpress sites get hacked a lot! A very easy way to hack a Wordpress site is by expoiting an insecure plugin. Unfortunately, it's very hard to tell which plugins are secure, unless you're a plugin developer yourself, and have read and understood all of the code.
- Adding photos, slideshows, videos, and other media is possible, but difficult to customize without building your own theme or plugin. You're limited to what your theme or plugin allows.
Wordpress.com is the commercial for-profit service. It's minimum $8/mo to publish a decent site. If you want custom plugins and themes, it will be $25/mo.
Wordpress.org is the free, self-hosted version. Find yourself a hosting provider which can start you off with a running Wordpress installation, so you don't have to do it yourself. Finding the right host is the most important part here. It will cost you $5 - $10 per month to get started, which is much cheaper than the $25 Wordpress.com charges to enable custom plugins and themes. If you don't need any custom plugins, and just want to publish your blogs/writing, stick with the commercial Wordpress.com $8 plan.