WordPress has been around for a long long time but I only started using it to any real extent around 1yr and a half ago. But how i wish I had began before then! I had clients asking me about CMS sites, shops, blogs etc and I had to keep turning the work down as I had to rely on other “techy type” people or simply did not have the time. If I had not been afraid and just started with WordPress I could have said yes to pretty much all briefs presented to me.
I admit – I am now passionate about using WordPress. Many know what it is and have used it, yet there are plenty of people who don’t even know what it is. I have been asked many times, “What is WordPress?” when a client asks about a CMS (Content Management System) site and I always reply “yes, with WordPress”.
I can tell you first hand WordPress is incredibly easy to set up a blog, a fully editable site, a shop, a forum you name it! But for those of you like me who are a bit unsure I thought I would present you with a blog post of why I like no LOVE WordPress.
- It is FREE. WordPress is open source. Not many may know what open source means but what matters is this – it means free. Forever. End of story. There is no trick. This is one main reason millions love it.
- It is very easy to install. It is famed for it’s 5-minute install. It can be done manually by you or automatically for you. Which leads me to the next reason.
- It is supported by almost ALL hosting providers. Many web hosts offer tools to automatically install WordPress for you, which can be as easy to install on your website as the click of a button, quite literally.
- A blog can be set up at WordPress.com or self-hosted. Setting up your blog at WordPress.com is simple and free. However, you might want the premium version or your own hosting to map your own unique domain name to your WordPress site. For example, you can have yourdomain.com instead of yourdomain.wordpress.com. This will also make customization broader and easier.
- No coding knowledge is required (unless your comfortable). You never have to hack the source code of the CMS. But if you know PHP you can find comfort in knowing that you can change it around if you had to. It’s written in PHP, which makes it very customizable & easy for hosts to make friends with. You can style themes (coming later), plugins pretty much anything you like. You can edit all theme and plugin files if they are not quite what you want (although most of the time they are). For me WordPress plugins and themes do 80% maybe even 90% of the work for me, especially the technical work and then I finesse them, style them to fit with a brand, get them to respond how I want and such like. Cool ey!
- Writing New Posts & Pages is easy. It is as easy as creating a Word document & clicking Publish. There is also a wide array of formatting tools included at your own disposal. You can tweak your posts even after they’ve been published. Even if you make mistakes, don’t let that stop you. You will learn as you go. With many themes you install with ease there are hundreds of shortcodes included for adding in accordions, icons, nice lists, info boxes you name it!
- There are MANY paid & free themes to choose from. A huge market has erupted around paid WordPress themes. There are websites such as Organic Themes, Woothemes, & Elegant Themes dedicated solely to creating WordPress themes for you. And many by individuals at Themeforest who can simply submit their theme design for sale. Themes can range from free to a few bucks for the web illiterate person to get started with a cheap yet stunning web site. This is a big reason many people use WordPress over other CMSs. There are hundreds of free themes over at the WordPress Theme Directory. You can also download free themes at other sites such as Smashing Magazine. After you download your theme of choice, installing it to your website is super easy.
- There are countless plugins. WordPress is so easily extendible that with a mere plugin you have an eCommerce site or even an entire social network. Other plugins include database backups, which allow you to schedule blog backups & have them automatically sent to you by email or stored in the server.
- It is backed by a large community. WordPress has been built based on the feedback of amazing support, users, & especially by those who rely on WordPress as their main source of income. It’s vital having this kind of support in the community.
- WordPress is for the simple & the complex. It can pass as a great use for a traditional blogging, or as a large CMS for things like movie reviews, magazines, & stores.
- It keeps getting better. When it began, WordPress was solely used as a traditional blogging platform. Then there were many niche-specific theme designs for portfolios, blogs, or magazines. Now with the rise of admin option pages built in, niche themes are no longer needed since you can quickly set up a large website & customize it with little effort. This means one theme tailored via the options panel to be anything you want: portfolio, magazine-style website full of content, or a simple, traditional blog the size of a tadpole. It also comes with the Automatic Upgrade, which makes updating your WordPress installation super easy.
- They are created to be easily syndicated. Blog Feeds are already set up inside WordPress & are easy to subscribe to. If you don’t know what a feed is, it is a slimmed-down version of a blog which you can subscribe to using email or a RSS reader.
- WordPress works well for SEO. There are hundreds of things you can do to optimize your website for search engine optimization all within WordPress. Permalinks can be changed, titles can be optimized for SEO, and Google sees what posts are related through links to other posts within your site. With the comment feature included, it brings in followers from other sites. And before you know it, everything links up, which is what Search Engines love to see. You may have also heard it said that Content is King, so you can scatter keywords throughout your post wisely. And, what do ya know, SEO plugins such as the popular All in One SEO come in to make the job even easier for you!
I may have skipped a couple of other reasons that others love WordPress but for me these are key reasons to why I use WordPress.
Of course as much as anybody can use WordPress I do not recommend everyone just goes out there gets some hosting and try and install WordPress and before you know it you are a web developer. Sorry guys it doesn’t work like that. As much as I encourage learning and experimentation, do leave some stuff to us professionals ;)
For those developers thinking about using WordPress I strongly suggest you jump in and I am positive you will be surprised by the power and ease of it. It has enabled me to offer good competitive rates without having to “waste” a lot of my development time and still produce high quality work and answers the clients brief. Then the client themselves can take care of future content leaving you time to continue development and learning, WIN!