Latest posts by Bryan (see all)
- We’re Moving – Plugin Updates and Shop Migration - February 18, 2015
- Smart Watches are a Brilliant Productivity Tool, Not Just for Nerds - October 26, 2014
- Why Your Demo Site Sucks, and What to Do About It - July 4, 2014
For anyone not familiar with the most popular website platform today, allow me to enlighten you. WordPress is a Content Management System or CMS. One advantage of a CMS is that it allows people who don’t know HTML to update the content of their website without having to worry about breaking anything. This can save a small business owner from having to pay a webmaster on a regular basis. You might need to spend a little money getting it set up initially, but in the long run, it can be much more cost effective than the alternatives.
To be clear. WordPress is free, installation is easy – you don’t need to be technically inclined to install it. With some web hosts, such as Hostgator, it’s a two-click installation. There are hundreds of free themes and plugins available out there, though you may want to pay a little for a premium theme or for a developer to customize your theme so it’s a bit more unique.
WordPress is ubiquitous. It runs almost 70 million sites wordwide – granted, about half of those are hosted by WordPress.com, but the other half are self-hosted. Not all of these are personal blogs, a significant percentage of the best sites on the web are powered by WordPress. Some of the businesses that use WordPress for their website are CNN, NFL, Network Solutions, TechCrunch, and Ripley’s (Believe it or not!). For a longer list of businesses running websites on WordPress, click here. The point is that not only is WordPress easy to use, it’s also very flexible.’
This flexibility comes largely from its modular design. There are a base set of features that come with WordPress out of the box, such as a WYSIWYG editor, a handful of basic widgets, two different content types (you can add static pages as well as blog posts), user registration, an RSS feed, multiple authors, and multiple security levels. The styling and structure of your content is handled by WordPress Themes, and you can add functionality using WordPress Plugins. This is not a hard and fast distinction, as there are many Themes which also add functionality, and there are many Plugins which also affect styling, but generally speaking, Themes are primarily for the layout, and Plugins are generally for adding (or removing) functionality.
Possibly the number one reason that WordPress is so ubiquitous is the community support. The Documentation is fairly thorough, but it can be a little daunting to navigate, so if you’ve perused the documentation and you still have questions (or if you’re just not sure where in the documentation to start), then post a question in the Forums. Most basic questions get answered in a matter of hours. It might take longer if you have difficulty getting across what you’re looking for, but most users are happy to help.