What is WordPress & Why Is It Used

Introduction

Hello my name is Alex, i’m starting out doing some work for Bytewire, and as part of my initial personal development I am getting familiar with WordPress. Having never used WordPress before, it’s a jaunt into a new space of the web for me. I’m going to document my research and development in the form of regular blog posts on bytewire.co.uk (right here) as to perhaps help others following a similar path to me. Check back regularly to follow my series of blogs.

My aim is to investigate WordPress with a view to finding out what it is, what you can do with it, how it differs to other similar software out there & why so many developers are starting to use this state of the art web based Content Management System. I hope to be able to answer all of these questions by conducting online research into the subject as I am looking forward to getting more hands on with it in the future with regard to website development:

What Is WordPress?

WordPress is a highly developed and intuitive website development platform which originally started solely as a blogging tool in 2003. Users could make use of this piece of software to post blogs to their websites to increase the functionality and user interactivity of their given sites, however over the years WordPress has become so much more than just a blogging platform and is used to create professional looking websites without heavy knowledge of XHTML, PHP, CSS and other web development languages, although some exposure to each would stand you in good stead. If you know how to use Ms Word using WordPress to administer your site can be just as simple a process.

Free

WordPress is free and the only cost to the user is hosting the software on a web server, prices for hosting vary, however to enjoy full functionality of WordPress paying a monthly subscription is recommended and this can vary from £3.99 upwards per month, the software comes packed with lots of free website templates also giving a wide appeal to many users, plug-ins can be used with this software also to increase the functionality of websites built using this CMS software.

Themes & Functionality

Compared to others CMS software like Joomla & Drupal, WordPress offers the widest range of free website templates so there is something out there for everyone tastes. In addition to Blogs and Websites WordPress can be used to create online E-commerce stores thanks to WordPress plug-ins of which there are over 18,000 and because of its ease of use even beginners can get their head round this simple content management system in very little time.

Easy Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

WordPress is also easy to optimize with Search Engine Optimisation with title, meta & heading tags meaning your website is more likely to be shown at the top of google results pages increasing traffic flow to your site which in turn will add to your overall profitability.

Differences to Other Web Development Software

In standard web development software such as Dreamweaver a developer creates a template shell and saves each individual page as a separate file, then uploads all the content, if changes need to be made, the file containing the content needs to be altered then uploaded again, if your budget is constrained hiring a developer to make changes every time can be costly.

WordPress is different, instead of storing all content into files; it stores it in a database which in turn is stored on a server. Whereas a static page contains both the structure and content the WordPress theme wraps the content of each page into theme files meaning you can change, edit, delete and add new content using a single set of template files.

Is WordPress For Me?

  • Do you have a small website around 2 – 3 pages long that you want more control over?
  • Does the content of your website change often and need regular updating?
  • Does you want to add/manage a blog on your existing website to increase visibility?
  • Do you want to create a website without the hassle of having to learn difficult coding languages?
  • Do you want a large database of website themes to choose from to model your business structure on?
  • Do you want a free Content Management system supported by millions of developers with added functionality in terms of plug-ins, widgets etc?

If the answer to any of the above is YES then WordPress is definitely for you.

Widgets

Widgets in WordPress offer users drag and drop sidebar content placement and users can rearrange widgets without prior knowledge of PHP & HTML coding.

Mobile

WordPress applications exist for nearly all current mobile devices such as android phones, iPhone range, and Blackberry range along with many others. This gives users a nice platform in order to create web applications specific for mobile devices.

Social Media/Spam Protection

WordPress is completely compatible with all forms of social media like Facebook, You tube and Twitter so linking to these sites is easy and convenient this coupled with excellent out of the box spam protection means that you can manage and eliminate comment spam on your blog.

Future of WordPress

WordPress is by far the easiest content management system to use and its support for many web applications and plug ins means that the software will only continue to grow and become more feature rich as time goes on. Below I have outlined a few reasons why WordPress is the future of website development:

  1. Millions of People already view information from WordPress websites on a daily basis:
    WordPress blogs are everywhere and around 200 million people view WordPress blogs daily with these numbers growing rapidly, along with this over a billion pages are viewed that have been created or edited with WordPress in one way or another.
  2. WordPress Can be Installed on your Own Web Hosting Service with Full Control of Your Domain Name & Content: With other blogging solutions you have limited control over the look and feel of your web blogs, also your blogs can be taken down if its deemed to be inappropriate in some way, also many plug-ins and widgets are not supported, WordPress support for these features means you can total control of everything.
  3. WordPress is Free and Supported by an Open Source Community of Millions: The fact that WordPress in free means that people are flocking to it, its ease of use especially for beginners compared to Joomla and Drupal set it at the forefront of web development software and overtime with continued improvement WordPress set the tone to be the future of the Internet

Conclusion

In conclusion having used WordPress myself for over a week now I would say that using the software is extremely simple & anyone can quickly get their head round it. One of the great advantages is that an extensive knowledge of website coding to simply create the content for a website is not necessary as a lot of the work is done for you through default templates that can be customised as per your needs, although some exposure to HTML & CSS would be beneficial.

The user interface is pretty easy to understand and even a novice can explore & get to grips with it very quickly, this coupled with the fact that the default 2010 & 2011 themes can be customised and expanded upon makes it simple for those with a minimal technical background to get their blog up and running.

Also the vast array of themes and plugins available free to you means that you can tailor your website to your business needs at any time with minimal effort as and when needed. I would say just jump in and give it a try because you won’t be disappointed!.


Blog written by alexc

I am Alex Clark and I am currently a Junior Developer at Bytewire, my aim is to familiarise myself with current & emerging web development languages such as XHTML, PHP, CSS & Javascript in order to build websites & web specific applications. I hope to gain hands on experience and overtime become proficient at website development and I seek a long term career in the industry.


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