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Chamberlain Design

What is WordPress?

You’ll probably hear me talking a lot about WordPress on this blog, so I thought it would probably be a good idea to tell you what it is so you know what on earth I’m going on about.

WordPress logo

WordPress is basically a Content Management System, which means that a website built using WordPress has a back-end admin area where you can add, edit and delete content without having to learn any horrid code.  You just write your stuff and WordPress does the heavy lifting.  It also means you don’t have to keep calling up your web designer in order to change anything.

Of course the same goes with any other Content Management System like Drupal or Joomla, so what makes WordPress any better than the alternatives?

Advantages

User Friendly – It’s very easy to get the hang of using the WordPress admin area.  You want to add a page?  Sure, just click Pages > Add New.  Easy as pie…mmm…pie…mmm…where was I?  You can get to the admin area of your website  from any computer without any special software.  If you want more than one person to be able to edit the site, you can easily set up multiple users with different permissions.

Versatile – You can use WordPress to make any sort of website, from a simple blog to a massive E-commerce website to a magazine website.  The design is 100% customisable to match any existing branding and create a unique user experience.  If you need some functionality not possible out of the box, there are tons of plugins available.

Search Engine Optimisation – WordPress websites tend to rate quite highly on search engines like Google because of its clean and simple code.

Good Track Record – WordPress is used as to power more than two thirds of the top million sites and accounts for nearly a quarter of new sites.  You can find a list of big names who have used WordPress for their websites on the WordPress Showcase.

Free – Most importantly, it’s free.  It is not created, maintained or supported by a company run for profit, but instead by a vibrant and active development community.  WordPress is released under the GPLv2 (or later) license from the Free Software Foundation.

Disadvantages

Speed – WordPress was originally created for blogging but has now become so much more.  This does mean that a very large website can start to slow down.  However, this can be addressed by installing one of  various plugins.

Similarity – There is a danger for WordPress sites to all look rather similar.  This all comes down to the developers and themes that you use.  I like to think that this site doesn’t look like a typical WordPress site.

Security – No, don’t run away!  Come back here!  The trouble is that WordPress is so widely used that nasty people have spent a lot of time finding common loopholes.  You can combat this by doing a few simple things to be unpredictable and unique.  Also, don’t make your password ‘password’ – that doesn’t help.

Other Stuff

There is one potentially confusing thing about WordPress that I feel I should sort out.  WordPress and WordPress.com are not the same things at all.

I have been talking about WordPress, the free open-source CMS, which is available for download from WordPress.org and you have to arrange hosting yourself.

WordPress.com, on the other hand, is a commercial service which hosts a limited version of WordPress.  The basic service is free but you have to pay more to activate extra services.  I would not recommend WordPress.com due to the lack of customisation but it does simplify some things.

Just a small trivia tidbit to finish off: all the major version releases of WordPress are named after jazz musicians.  The core developers are obviously big fans of jazz.  Jazz hands!

If you have any other questions about WordPress, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try to answer it.

Cheers, see you next time!

22nd January 2015

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