Although WordPress is best known as a blogging platform, it’s ability to function as a standard Content Management System (CMS) has been recognized and implemented by tens-of-thousands of web developers world wide.
If you are wondering why professionally designed websites are being developed around a FREE blogging platform, read on!
The Short Answer
When WordPress is used as the backend CMS for a website, the site administrator has the ability to manage the content of the site. If properly developed, virtually all the text content of tne website can be managed through an intuitive, web based user interface. A dynamic, database driven website is available to virtually everyone.
Five Minute Installation
WordPress claims that if you use their famous “Five Minute Installation” procedure, you can have your new blog up and running quickly. In my experience it takes less than five minutes to do a basic install, but it’s a great tag line nonetheless!
Going Beyond Blog Posts
I think most people know that WordPress can be easily implemented as a blog. The ability to add blog posts, in a forward rolling chronology, is one of the strengths of WordPress. However, WordPress also gives you the ability to write Pages. A WordPress Page is designed to handle more static site content, and falls outside the chronology of the blog posts. Within minutes of installation, you can be writing multiple Pages of content and publishing them live to your new website. Most traditional blogs use static pages such as:
- About Me
- Contact Me
- Frequently Asked Questions
Earlier this year I completed a web design project for the LifePlan Financial Advisory Group. I used WordPress as a CMS for this project even though the client had no particular use for the blog features of the software. After further discussion with the client regarding fresh content and search engine placement, they did decide to add a blog area to the site where they intend to do a series of book reviews for their clients.
Easy to Use Administration Interface
The admin panel is simple, clean, user friendly and designed to get maximum productivity from a simply designed interface.
WordPress comes with a simply designed and intuitive admin panel. Within this interface, the site administrator can control most aspects of development. Want to write a new post? No problem, the admin panel is the place to go. Want to design and publish a new Page? Yup – head to the admin panel and start writing. The admin panel is simple, clean, user friendly and designed to get maximum productivity from a simply designed interface. There is a WYSIWYG editor included with WordPress which allows you control most of your site content without ever seeing any of the design code.
Custom Designed WordPress Themes
WordPress gives you the ability to change the theme of your website. Since the site content and appearance are separated, and CSS is used to control the layout and appearance, all the site adminsitrator needs to do is choose a new “theme” for their site to give it a completely different appearance. You guessed it – the theme can be changed from with the admin panel!
There are literally thousands of free WordPress themes available for your use. Tens of thousands of them, in fact. With a basic knowledge of CSS, you can modify your theme in any way you choose, or hire a web developer do design a custom theme for you.
In addtion to custom themes, there are thousands of free plugins available that enhance the usability of WordPress, as well as custom features that can make your website more search engine accessible.
Sparkling Clean Code
Another great feature of the WordPress platform is that the code produced by the system is standards compliant. This doesn’t mean much to many people, but in reality WordPress produces code that meets the standards set by the W3C, which is the most widely recognized source of site standards. By following standard coding practices, your WordPress website will be available to the widest range of web browsers and devices.
In fact, this post you are reading was generated by WordPress and the code is Valid XHTML to the Strict Level as determined by the W3C.
I think WordPress is a terrific piece of software. Out-of-the-box, WordPress can handle the needs of most straightforward websites. But the real magic behind WordPress is the ability to extend it to handle larger, more complicated and more involved websites. With the help of a web developer, WordPress can accomplish most tasks for most projects. Consider it for your next website project and see if it’s for you.