When I started making websites way back in 2007, it was still common for websites to be designed manually. This meant coding, and lots of it.
I wasn’t necessarily interested in coding from scratch, as it certainly didn’t seem practical, nor scale-able. I mean, how can you grow if you have to basically start fresh with each project.
I couldn’t, I wouldn’t.
I knew there had to be a way to automate much of the process of building a website. My first discovery was the Joomla Content Management System. It was okay, though a bit clunky. Joomla worked well for me for a couple of years.
Then a client requested WordPress specifically, so I had no choice but to learn.
I’m glad I did.
WordPress is a number of ‘things’. First of all, it is a popular online blogging platform. You can sign up and post a casual blog/journal to the WordPress.com website, where it will join the ranks of many other casual and professional bloggers.
WordPress is also a self contained platform that can be used on your own secure hosting (like my own service, see here) to create a full scale website for your business.
It doesn’t have to be fancy – Though, it can be. It’s probably the most user friendly method of making a website. If you’ve ever tried it, you know what I mean.
Even when compared to newer ‘all in one’ services like Wix or Squarespace, WordPress excels in every way.
I prefer WordPress because it acts more like a “website operating system“. There are many aspects of the operating system that allow you to customize it to do exactly what you need it to do.
A lot of websites may not need any extra features, that’s great – Simplicity can have it’s advantages. However, your business may require plugins that add capabilities to the ‘operating system’ that aren’t there by default, like scheduling plugins, or image compression plugins. Plugins, you say? Read on!
What are WordPress Plugins?
WordPress plugins are sort of like ‘apps’ for your website. They can add all sorts of functionality or extra features.
For instance, one of my favorite plugins to use is called Visual Composer. Visual Composer makes making fancy pages even easier, as it allows you to lay out your page in drag and drop type blocks.
Like everything, there’s a hint of a learning curve, but there’s tons of documentation and videos available to help learn quickly.
Themes – Isn’t that Cheating?
No, no, no. A theme is the skin of your website. A theme or template just gives you a great starting point for your website. Sure, many folks often do not change too much about their WordPress theme, but that’s entirely up to you.
There’s many free themes, though they often come with upgrade options. For the price of free, you must begin to expect people to up sell you around every corner.
I’ll let you in on my secrete place for getting great WordPress themes AND plugins. Themeforest / Code Canyon by Envato. This is an online marketplace for all things digital/creative. Follow the rating system, check past comments and sales numbers to truly gauge how responsive – AND responsible the vendors are.
You can save a lot of time in exchange for a little money, and a little research on this handy site.
See Envato Marketplace here.
Flexibility is Key
All of these features and facts are part of the maximum flexibility that is WordPress. It’s why I love it, and will likely continue to use it in most of my creations on the web.
Do you plan on using WordPress for a site? Are you currently needing help with a WordPress or Joomla based website? Contact me to discuss what I can do to help you!