By: Chad Bell
More and more websites these days are being designed entirely in WordPress. WordPress is a free platform that makes it easy for anyone to create and update content for their site without any technical knowledge. Originally intended to be used primarily for blogging, it has since evolved to be capable of handling fairly advanced sites.
Despite its powerful features, WordPress is designed with ease of use in mind. Once your site is running, you simply log in and manage your content from the administration panel. There you can create blog posts, edit the content of pages, upload photos, and much more. This is a significant change from the way websites were maintained in the past. Previously, sites developed using platforms such as Flash or Dreamweaver required even the smallest change to be performed by the web designer, which could significantly add to the cost of running a site.
What really makes WordPress shine is its extensibility. Plug-ins can be used to add additional functionality to the core WordPress functions. Examples include social media integration, enhanced photo management and presentation, calendar applications, online reservations, and eCommerce. Built from the ground up, WordPress is great for SEO and provides plug-ins to get you noticed by Google.
Though its ease of use for both developers and users have long made it a popular choice for websites, WordPress was not previously considered as full featured as other platforms such as Joomla and Drupal. However, with the recently released Version 3.0, WordPress reaches into territory once reserved for more advanced platforms. Major new features such as customizable menus and custom post options give WordPress the ability to function as complete Content Management System (CMS). An example of a CMS in action would be a real estate website. A realtor could simply fill in a customized form with fields for city, neighborhood, square footage, then upload photos, organize and edit listings, and remove sold units.
Although a default WordPress installation is usable, to make a site really stand out often requires a customized job. From layout to coding, web developers function to create professional designs to match the goals of your site. And perhaps more importantly, to bridge the gap between the originality of customized features and their combined ease of use.