Anyone who has investigated how to go about building a website would find with a simple google search that there are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of tools available on the web created to help. From extremely complicated enterprise level systems which cost thousands of dollars to extremely simple bare bones systems freely available and everything in between. Choosing the best tool for the job soon becomes a huge undertaking all on it’s own.
Just another Web Content Management System?
WordPress is one of many web publishing platforms, though it’s an open source(FREE) Content Management System(CMS) designed to make setting up and managing your own personal or professional website an enjoyable and exciting experience and not a chore. WordPress is currently the CMS of choice of the vast majority of mainstream web designers and developers as well as a host of other online publishers.
WordPress has 2 main variants to it’s Content Management System, the free to setup wordpress.com multi-blogging platform where anyone can, in a few clicks register their own free website and start publishing within minutes.
100’s of thousands of Bloggers already use this platform to get their messages out there for free. For Those keen on having more control, complete ownership and essentially free reign to build whatever they want with the system, wordpress.org makes the entire web application available for download to then install on one’s own server to run a self hosted WordPress website.
The software is Open Source, which essentially means it’s free. What’s more is there are tons of freely available templates(Called Themes) available online to create a unique looking and functioning website, be it a blog style layout or something a little different to the norm. Also freely available are literally thousands of free functional add-ons(Called Plugins) which can be integrated to make your WordPress site do everything except make a cappucino.
Besides all the free resources to help build that perfect website, loads of even higher end, “Premium” Themes and Plugins which can be purchased at an extremely low price to build something really awesome with. Whether you want to write an ebook, teach online courses, sell products or build a community WordPress is perfectly placed to solve the problem in a more user friendly, cost effective and time efficient manner than just about any other platform out there.
In their own words the organisation describes it’s product in the following way:
WordPress is a powerful personal publishing platform, and it comes with a great set of features designed to make your experience as a publisher on the Internet as easy, pleasant and appealing as possible. We are proud to offer you a freely distributed, standards-compliant, fast, light and free personal publishing platform, with sensible default settings and features, and an extremely customizable core.
For more detail on how the platform came into being way back in 2003 read the About Page on the wordpress.org site.
What could One do with WordPress
Literally in minutes one could setup a personal web diary(blog), a corporate website, an ecommerce store, a simple social network or even a team collaboration space with freely available tools. It’s never been easier to get up and running online for whatever your focus. These are just some of the ways people are leveraging WordPress as their web publishing tool of choice.
In fact some have even used WordPress to build an online contact manager, project management system, staff intranet, Online Video Channel, Newsletter Management system to name a few extra alternative uses.
The following Article on WPShout quotes some of the most Famous WordPress Developers on why they have made it their CMS of Choice. Here’s a Sample Quote by one of the world’s most well known and respected web designers
WordPress is the best, that’s simple! Just because it is easier to modify, manage and build anything with it. The fantastic community is also a very good point. WordPress changed my way to work on the internet.
What WordPress is not
A Design application?
Many who hear about WordPress by word of mouth tend to think that actual design can be done using the WordPress system, and while it is certainly possible for a well versed WordPress developer to build and design a website form scratch from within the system, it’s not ideally suited for this kind of process. Typically your website should be designed in software which is specifically created for that purpose like Adobe Photoshop or Fireworks or a host of other interface design applications. The Designed graphical interface is then dissected and coded into the WordPress Theme(templates) which are installed into the CMS to give your site it’s custom look & feel.
A Web coding program
While coding within the WordPress system has definitely improved, especially with some plugins which enhance the existing coding capabilities, it would also probably be best especially for the beginner to code up the templates in an application specifically designed to streamline this process. Applications like Adobe Dreaweaver, Coda, Esspresso, Textmate or Text Edit or any other plain text editor can be used to code the WordPress template files.
A mind reading system which can spit out any kind of website in seconds
There’s no replacement for actually knowing what you;re doing when building a custom WordPress site, though the availability of highly versatile themes, theme frameworks, even theme builders does bring along with WordPress the ability to build something without actually knowing any of the code which runs the system. Knowing the code just makes it so much easier to build something even more unique and tailored to your needs.