WordPress is best known as a popular blogging tool, but it can also be used to manage the standing pages of your website (home page, “About Us” page, etc.). For years, I worked with my own homegrown content management system, and I learned a lot in the process. But today I recommend WordPress to clients more often than not. Building websites around WordPress has made me more effective as a web developer, and it can make your website more efficient and effective for your business.
As a blogging tool, WordPress allows you to post date-sensitive material (a product announcement, a campaign launch, a press release) and have it presented in reverse chronological order, so you’re always promoting your newest news first. This may sound like a small thing, but I see many websites that are undermined by out of date content.
By making it easier to post updates, WordPress helps you keep your website current. I believe this is extremely important. One of the worst impressions you can make on the web is to make it look like you and your organization are out of date or out of touch. If you are dependent on a professional web consultant to make every small change, you’re more likely to let that slip.
Here is an example, as the public sees it:
And as the website administrator would see it:
This is the WordPress piece – a web-based user interface that lets you edit the basic content of your website and mark text bold or italic, add links, upload images and videos, etc. It provides a solid foundation for keeping your website up to date and dynamic, and there are all sorts of neat plugins available for search optimization, social media interaction, and other enhancements.
On top of that, I have developed my own plugins for tasks such as displaying events and recording RSVPs, processing PayPal payments and donations, and reporting on these activities. If WordPress does not provide the functionality I want, I can bend it to my will. That gives me tremendous flexibility to deliver unique features for your website.
As plugins do for functionality, WordPress templates or “themes” provide great starting points for the design of your website. I can adapt one of the many free themes, develop my own from scratch, or work with one you choose from a commercial service such as TemplateMonster.com.
WordPress certainly isn’t the only option, nor is it the only technology I work with. But for many websites, and many business purposes, it is a very good choice.