WordPress.org Website Builder Review for 2020

The WordPress website builder is the most popular in the world. Each and every one of us has looked at thousands of front-end WordPress sites in our lifetime, The chances are that most of those sites were built using a frontend editor like the WordPress site builder.

With a user-friendly interface designed even for people who have never seen a line of code, the WordPress system has become one of the best website builders of all time. It’s not really a secret as to how this website builder has come to be one of the more popular solutions on the market.

If you've started your research with WordPress, you may have noticed that two WordPress options are available. One of them is called WordPress.org and the other WordPress.com. Confusing, right? Don’t worry.

Well, today we're going to be talking about WordPress.org, since it's the best website builder for people interested in making legitimate business websites.

Understanding WordPress.Org

Importantly, there's more to WordPress than most people think. In this article, we're not talking about the simplistic WordPress.com blog hosting service with it's paired down features for beginners. If you're looking for a site-building solution that's easier to set up, specifically intended for newbies, or great for blogging, then you want to switch over to our review on WordPress.com.

From this point onwards, when we refer to WordPress, we'll generally be talking about the WordPress.org platform. This solution comes from the team that made WordPress.com, but it's a very different kind of tool to the basic content management system that you get from WordPress.com.

WordPress.org is mainly for those who want full control over their website, tons of plugins and some cool options in terms of making money.

What's the Difference Between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?

WordPress.com

  • Limited support for themes
  • No plugins are allowed
  • Completely free
  • Minimal options for monetization
  • No maintenance required
  • You get traffic from the WordPress.com network

WordPress.org

  • Complete theme support
  • Plugins are allowed
  • Expenses for hosting, themes, premium plugins and domains
  • Tons of options for monetization
  • A decent amount of maintenance required
  • You must build your own traffic

How Many Sites Have Been Made With This Website Builder?

Over 74 million websites are using WordPress.org at the time of this article. It’s the most popular front-end website builder on the market, with plenty of page templates to get you started.

WordPress.org: When a Simple Website Builder Just Isn’t Enough

While a WordPress.com website builder offers a more simple and straightforward approach to design your online presence for bloggers and beginners, WordPress.org is a little different. The main difference between WordPress.org and a hosted solution like Wix or Weebly for instance is that you're going to be able to really delve down into the complicated stuff.

Although you don’t need to know your way around a line of code to get started with WordPress.com, you will need to go beyond the simplicity of drag and drop website builders and pre-made web pages with WordPress.org.

On the one hand, the fact that you're able to get “under the hood” of your page builder means that you can make more changes to your overall online experience. On the other hand, the technical elements of WordPress.org may also make the platform a little daunting to newbies.

👉 Perhaps some of the companies most in need of this kind of extensibility include:

  • Companies in need of a particularly impressive design, with all of the latest technical features like sticky bars, dynamic scrolling, and so on.
  • You want to offer things like premium membership spaces for VIP clients, or you'd like to put some of your content behind a paywall.
  • You're a real estate agent giving your clients a reliable way to search for specific pieces of real-estate based on their location.
  • You need to implement really strong SEO features and other components to make your WordPress website stand out in a particularly competitive market.

Notably, WordPress.org is an open-source solution packed with shortcodes and page layouts that allow you to DIY your way to the ultimate web pages. Although it can be a little more complicated than some of the other alternatives on the market, there are solutions like Elementor, Beaver Builder, Divi Builder and more that can help to make it easier for you to build the perfect website.

That means that it gives today's businesses a lot of freedom. You can use this website builder for virtually any purposes, without having to worry about censorship or site violation.

A lot of people refer to WordPress.org as free. However, although using the service is free, remember that you're still going to have to pay for things like a registered domain name and web hosting. You may also need to pay for things like premium themes and extensions that come with additional costs depending on how you plan to use your digital platform.

With that in mind, let's move on to look at the features of the WordPress.org website builder.

WordPress.org Features

wordpress_backend

As the most popular site builder in the world, it's interesting looking into the features that make it so intriguing. Furthermore, you'll notice that many of the other builders have constructed their dashboards to look similar to WordPress.

Anyways, what are some of the features you can expect from WordPress.org?

To start, most hosting platforms include one-click installations for WordPress, so although it used to be a pain to complete an installation, it's pretty easy now.

In addition, you receive some of the more powerful blogging tools, like comments, HTML editing, access to source code, user management, short codes, page templates, and WordPress widgets too.

Implementing ads and trying out other money making tactics are provided through the WordPress.org interface, but the main reasons WordPress.org is so popular is because of control and the plugins. We'll talk about the plugins below, but in general you have no limits when building your website. Security, cleanliness, hosting, speed and everything is completely up to you.

WordPress.org Ease of Use

The ease of use is another standout feature for the WordPress.org website builder. The backend is super clean, with tabs on the left for things like Media, Pages, Posts, Comments and more.

Installing a theme or plugin generally takes a simple click of the button, and thanks to hosting accounts, you no longer have to go the manual route for installing WordPress onto a server. Overall, WordPress has a slight learning curve for the extreme beginner, but so does every website builder.

While WordPress.com is more specifically designed for the blogger who wants to branch out and open their own website, WordPress.org seems to be more tailored to business sites, membership sites, and other online properties that need more advanced features.

WordPress.org comes with a lot of sophisticated tools, as well as the option to get deep-down control over things like CSS and HTML files. Although all of this will sound complicated from a beginner's perspective, that doesn't mean that WordPress.org is challenging to use. If you have some basic coding knowledge, you'll find WordPress.org to be very simple and intuitive.

One of the best things about WordPress.org is that it keeps all your design, content and functionality features separate. This means that you can access a greater degree of data portability. In simple terms, with this WordPress website builder, you can add content to your system regardless of which design you're using and modify your design without having an impact on the content. Keeping everything separate reduces your risk of a functionality problem.

WordPress.org also allows you to add useful styling widgets and components to your landing page and wordpress pages. For instance, one of the best wordpress page builders on the market for page layout and front-end editing is divi builder. This WordPress editor and visual composer comes with a simple drag and drop interface that’s sure to help anyone thrive online.

Adding Content to WordPress.org

To help highlight the basic functionality of WordPress as a page builder, let's take a look at some of the actions you can do with this site. For instance, adding content to WordPress.org is pretty simple. The solution stores your content in a database, with images and other media files located in a specific folder. You can use the post editor to add content to your site, and this looks pretty simple and straightforward:

The WordPress website post editor is a very simple WYSIWYG solution, with a handful of formatting features built-in. At present, there are two kinds of forms to choose from, the visual editor, with WYSIWYG technology, and the text editor. The text editor is a plain text tool which you can use to add formatting with basic HTML coding.

There's no fancy drag-and-drop functionality built-in like you might get with other website builders, but you can always add plugins that offer this kind of capability if you like. As mentioned above, Divi builder is an excellent option for those in search of drag and drop website builders. There are also other options available for your page templates and front-end editing like:

  • Beaver builder
  • Thrive architect
  • Visual composer
  • WP Bakery
  • Elementor pro
  • Brizy
  • Site origin
  • Elemetor

All of the options above will help you to bypass  the complex short codes and components of making a new page on WordPress. WordPress users can tap into the easy real-time styling features of a frontend editor like Elementor to make custom post types, landing pages, and more, with a user-friendly drag and drop interface.

Using the Best Page Builders for WordPress.org

If you’re not the most advanced web developer out there, and the concept of building a website from scratch overwhelms you – but you still want the granular performance of WordPress.org, page builders could be the solution. User-friendly options like Brizy and Elementor pro help to take some of the headaches out of designing DIY contact forms and landing pages by giving you everything you need for styling with a drag and drop interface.

Even some web developers prefer to use these real-time systems for creating new pages and custom post types on their WordPress website. A visual composer like thrive architect or Divi builder can help you to dive a little deeper into your new pages to create something that really speaks to your target audience.

The best WordPress page builders help you to see how small changes to your coding can transform your website in realtime, making it more efficient and compelling for WordPress users. What’s more, many of these builders will work seamlessly with the other WordPress widgets and tools on your site.

Whether you choose something like Site origin, Divi Builder, Beaver builder, or Elementor, you’ll find that a front-end wordpress page builder plugin can simplify your online experience. What’s more, many of these WordPress editors already come with free versions available, so you can test them out before you commit to any extra costs.

Updating Your WordPress Website design

Content isn't the only thing you'll need to think about when making the most out of your WordPress site builder. You'll also want to create a stunning appearance for your website too. Fortunately, WordPress makes that a lot easier by introducing plenty of pre-set templates called Themes. There are literally thousands of Themes available in the market, so you shouldn't have trouble finding one that suits you.

Each of the WordPress page builder themes available today comes with basic template files you can use to display different sections of your site, as well as a basic style sheet. Depending on the kind of theme you want to use, you might also find that there are additional settings available to help you customize your experience.

Elementor, Divi builder, Thrive architect and Beaver builder are all examples of visual composers that come with plenty of useful page templates to choose from.

Notably, WordPress themes are available in both free and paid versions. You can find thousands of premium themes available online from professional designers if you want to get something unique. Alternatively, you can also create your own custom WordPress theme from scratch, although this does require some technical knowledge. If you do plan on building your own theme, it might help to check out a tool like Divi to access a theme without having to pay for a graphic designer. These websites give you the option to drag and drop your way to a better aesthetic for your site.

As mentioned above, there are other options with free versions of front end editors available for your page layouts too. Some of the best WordPress page builders include Beaver Builder, Elementor, Visual Composer, thrive architect, and Brizy. Of course, you’ll need to test everything from WP bakery to Divi builder to find the best website builders for your needs.

Adding Plugins to your WordPress website

The themes and content development tools of WordPress.org make it an excellent choice for a lot of people in search of a high-quality website builder. However, there is one other thing that makes WordPress stand out too – and that's its huge selection of plugins and addons. The popularity of WordPress as the go-to content management system for countless brands also means that thousands of developers have designed add-ons specifically to work with WordPress.

You can find thousands of plugins on WordPress.org, and they're all intended to bring greater functionality to your site. Depending on what you want to accomplish with your new website, you can implement eCommerce shopping baskets, CRM integrations, and even SEO tools. There are even bigger plugins like WooCommerce that come with other sub-level add-ons specifically for certain kinds of companies, like membership brands.

Learning how to use WordPress themes is one of the best ways to upgrade your experience with WordPress websites.

👉 Some of the best and most popular tools include:

  • MonsterInsights: Track your stats using Google analytics
  • Yoast SEO: Check your WordPress SEO as you write
  • WP Super Cache: Use a Cache to speed up website performance
  • OptinMonster: Drive more leads with email subscribers
  • WP Forms: Add forms and popups to your site

Plugins are probably one of the main reasons why companies choose WordPress.org as their website creator over competitors like Wix and Weebly.

WordPress.org Pricing

WordPress.org is opensource, meaning that it's built by a collection of developers, and you don't have to pay a dime for the download.

However, that doesn't mean that your entire website is going to be free.

In fact, as a website builder, WordPress.org gives you more control than most of the solutions out there. However, this means you must pay for hosting, domain names and whatever other items you'd like to implement on your website.

👉 Let's outline the general costs involved with WordPress.org:

  • The WordPress download – $0
  • A WordPress theme – From $0 to $75 (one-time payment)
  • Hosting – From $3.49 to $35 per month (we recommend SiteGround or WP Engine)
  • Domain name – Usually around $10 per year
  • Plugins – Most of them are free, but premium plugins could cost you anywhere from a $5 one time fee to a $30 monthly charge.

You also may have to pay a developer to build your site as you scale up your business. The cost for this is tough to hammer down, but if you run a small business, think about getting a freelancer or running the site yourself. Larger businesses are better equipped to hire a salaried employee.

WordPress.org Templates and Design

themes

The options are endless for WordPress themes. Basically, you can choose from the free repository or purchase a fairly inexpensive theme from a third party premium seller. We recommend buying a premium theme, since you get support and better coded themes.

👉 Some of our favorite places to buy themes from include:

Your website design depends completely on the WordPress theme you choose to implement with this website builder. But that's what's cool about WordPress: You can find a beautiful theme for just about any industry. Looking for a doctor, band or sporting theme? You shouldn't have any problem finding one that suits your business.

What Kind of Websites Can I Make with WordPress?

Ultimately, deciding whether WordPress.org is the right builder for you will mean thinking about the kind of sites you want to develop with this technology. One of the best things about WordPress, and a reason why it's one of the most popular tools on the market today is that it's incredibly flexible. If you have the know-how and the right resources, then there's nothing to stop you from building just about any kind of website you can think of.

WordPress.org is great for starting a blog or small business website – although it's much easier to use WordPress.com for those purposes. On the other hand, if you're looking for a tool to help you design a membership website, create your online store, or just run a marketplace like Amazon, then you'll definitely need the technical savviness of WordPressl.org. Additionally, This website builder is particularly useful if you plan on selling courses or webinars online.

👉 Here are just some of the main types of site customers build with WordPress:

  • Blogs and personal websites: When WordPress.org first emerged as a digital page builder, it was generally used as a blogging platform. It wasn't until a little while later that people began to see the WordPress website builder as a powerful CMS too. Over more than a decade, WordPress.org has significantly improved its functionality. There are various new features and enhancements to consider for today's users. However, blogging and personal website components are still strong on the platform. If you're looking for website builders that will help you to polish and enhance your personal website quickly, WordPress.org could be a great choice.
  • Business websites: WordPress website builders have long been one of the simplest and most popular ways to build highly effective and professional-looking business websites. It's so powerful that countless big-name brands are now using WordPress to power their organizations. This solution gives today's users easy tools for quickly launching a website and extending that site's functionality as your business grows. WordPress is quickly becoming a must-have solution for building e-Commerce sites. There are even plugins like WooCommerce, WPEcommerce and more that help to convert your site into a fully-functional solution more rapidly. Today's businesses can use the WordPress page builder to sell products, accept payments, manage their inventory and more, all under the same platform.
  • Boards and directories: WordPress.org can be an excellent solution for modern brands that want to access extra sources of income by developing their own directories and job boards. There's a growing demand for niche job boards in the marketplace today, and WordPress allows you to create pages like these with ease. Additionally, you can find a host of fantastic WordPress business directory plugins online too. These plugins allow business users to create web directories that aren't limited specifically to business users.

Depending on the WordPress widgets and web developer tools that you’re using, you might find that you can create custom post types and unique page layouts for your website, using your frontend editor. There are many things that you can do with things like Elementor Pro, WP Bakery, Divi builder and more to transform the look and feel of your website with unique styling. The more you dive into a website editor like visual composer, the more you can see just how much you can really do with this kind of site.

Let's dive a little deeper into some of the functionality that WordPress offers when it comes to creating specific websites for eCommerce, marketing, and even customer support.

WordPress.org Ecommerce

woo

Although we would recommend Shopify for the ultimate beginner, WordPress actually has a pretty easy option for making your own ecommerce store.

WordPress by itself is not going to give you much for selling online, but if you integrate with the WooCommerce plugin, you will have the ability to sell physical and digital products online.

WooCommerce is free, and it works best when you find a theme that is designed just for that plugin. Although it runs with any WordPress theme, you're better off locating one that's for WooCommerce.

WordPress.org SEO and Marketing

plugins

For marketing on WordPress.org, you'll typically turn to one of the many WordPress plugins. You can find anything from social media buttons to email marketing tools. These plugins are better than anything you will find on the market, but be wary of ones that open up security holes.

As for SEO, the search engines are going to get pinged automatically when you make an update. You'll also notice that clean URLs and meta data comes up automatically. However, if you'd like to customize SEO on a individual page basis, we recommend going for the SEO by Yoast plugin. It requires a little bit of knowledge, but most people can read through the documentation to figure out how to work it.

WordPress.org Customer Support

wordpress_forums

WordPress.org customer support is non-existent. However, some would argue that it's the best in the world.

What do I mean by that? Basically, you don't get any dedicated support team you can call, but tons of blogs cover WordPress, and the WordPress forum is littered with detailed information to guide you along.

The Benefits of Using WordPress.org

So, why should you use a WordPress website builder over all the other options available on the market today? Well, depending on who you ask, there are a lot of different reasons. For instance, one of the leading benefits of WordPress in general as a page builder is the fact that it gives you complete control over the way that you develop and grow your website. This free-to-use option gives you absolute ownership over your website files and crucial data, and you're not tied to a specific web hosting company. You can move your site whenever and wherever you like when you think that the time is right for something new.

WordPress.org also gives today's users access to a huge selection of ways to upgrade and extend their website through Add-ons, plugins, and extensions. That means that whether you're looking to create an eCommerce site that allows you to take daily payments or a membership site, you can find the plugins that you need. The vast library of professional applications means you can make virtually anything you like.

Since WordPress.org gives today's users absolute control over their website, you're not required to deal with highly complex solutions if you don't want to. You have the option to keep your site simple and add new features as and when your business grows, meaning that you choose your path of development. What's more, you can make your website incredibly fast using behind-the-scenes tools and attract new users with SEO best practices too.

As a page builder, WordPress is highly effective and easy to customize, with endless designs and templates to choose from, each with a range of different personalization options included. In other words, WordPress.org makes building a website that's unique to your brand as easy as possible. What's more, because of its popularity, WordPress is sure to integrate with all of the third-party tools that you know you're going to rely on as your company grows. This means that you can continue to use your CRM tools, marketing software, SEO solutions, and more without worrying about issues with integrations.

Should You Be Using WordPress.org?

Although WordPress.org has a lot of great benefits to offer, it's important to remember that this website builder, like all of the options on the market today, isn't perfect. There are disadvantages to choosing WordPress.org as your go-to solution. For instance, although being entirely in charge of your own website can be an advantage, it also has the potential to be a disadvantage too.

Having complete control over your website means that you're the only person responsible for things like security, maintaining your data backups, and installing regular updates. While you can automate many of the maintenance tasks associated with running and managing WordPress, they will still require a lot of attention from you and your team unless you're using a managed WordPress hosting company to help you handle your back-end responsibilities.

Another downside to WordPress as a website builder is that it's not a drag-and-drop option. Ultimately, although WordPress.org can be very easy to use for many people, it does take some getting used to. You might need to find some additional time in your schedule to learn the basics, particularly if you're used to using drag-and-drop builders.

The good news is that you don't necessarily have to learn coding, but some basic knowledge of CSS and HTML can come in handy. If you plan on using WordPress consistently to develop your online presence, it's probably a good idea to learn the basics of coding too.

If you’re willing to expand your frontend editing options with solutions like Beaver Builder, Divi Builder, visual composer, thrive architect, WPBakery, or Brizy, then you can overcome some of the complexities that come with not having a drag and drop solution for your web pages.

So, who should be using WordPress as their website builder?

Well, the great thing about this tool is that it's very adaptable. Used correctly, WordPress.org can adjust according to your individual needs, regardless of what kind of website you're trying to build. Ultimately, this solution can be as simple and easy as you need it to be, or as sophisticated and advanced as required to develop a more unique site experience. Because you're completely in control, you can make things as simple as you like, control the costs, and run your website as efficiently as you like.

To decide whether WordPress.org is right for you and your business, you're going to need to ask yourself some basic questions. For instance, do you want to make a professional-looking site without spending a lot of money? If so, then WordPress.org could be the ideal choice, just remember that it takes some getting used to.

👉 Other questions to consider include:

  • Can you follow tutorials to learn the basics of WordPress.org, or do you need something that you can jump into immediately?
  • Do you want complete control and freedom hen dealing with your website, or do you need someone else to manage the back-end for you?
  • Are you looking for a website builder that comes with a lot of available add-ons and plugins, or do you need something that's pre-built to suit your needs from day one?
  • Do you prefer the simplicity of a drag-and-drop page builder, or are you happy to learn something new if it means working with a flexible tool?

Conclusion

WordPress is recommended as a website builder for intermediates and advanced users. Although it's not that hard to teach yourself as a beginner, you may be a little intimidated. If that's the case, we recommend going with something like WIX or Weebly.

Ultimately, WordPress.org is a great platform for building attractive and appealing websites for almost any business. If you love the idea of working with a flexible and highly popular page builder, then you can accomplish great things with WordPress. However, this solution won't be right for everyone. For instance, if you just want to run a blog and you don't want to use any third-party services or make money, then WordPress.org might be too complicated for what you need.

Additionally, if you never want to deal with coding or back-end technology, then WordPress.org probably isn't the right choice, as it does require you to get actively involved with developing your online presence. If you're looking for something fundamental, then there are better platforms out there for you.However, remember that you can get involved with some of the website builder tools that make complex building a little simpler, like Elementor or Thrive Architect.

Ultimately, the best thing you can do is go and play around with WordPress.org for a while. Since using this solution is free if you're already paying for hosting and your domain name elsewhere, there's nothing to stop you from going and checking out the features. You could even use some basic guides and tutorials to learn how to use WordPress.org and see whether it feels right based on what you need from a website page builder.

Testing out this tool will give you an insight into the kind of technology you're going to feel comfortable with going forward.We’d also recommend giving some of the free options of tools like Beaver Builder, Siteorigin, Divi Builder, Visual Composer, Thrive architect, WPBaker, Elementor Pro, and Brizy a go. Tools like Elementor and Beaver Builder will really simplify the process of getting used to designing new pages and contact forms on your website.

Just because WordPress.org is a popular choice doesn't make it the only option for your website building needs.

 

WordPress.org
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