Created in 2003, WordPress has hugely outgrown its original mission as a simple platform for blogging enthusiasts. Now one of the most popular pieces of open-source software on the internet, WordPress has evolved, and been embraced as, the most accessible and user friendly content management systems (CMS) for websites. Catering for all users, from amateur enthusiast with no IT skills, to huge multinational communications operations, the platform has proven itself to be scalable, and extremely professional.
The WordPress software is written in PHP, and is included on most servers and hosting packages as an easy optional install. The design and layout of the site produced, is dictated by whichever WP Theme is chosen. There are thousands available for free, and for added customisation and slick features, premium themes can be bought for around £20-£40. All of the data contained within a website is organised by WordPress into a MYSQL database. This means that a new theme can be selected easily, in order to change the entire site immediately. Additionally, there are thousands of ways of extending your site’s functionality with “Plugins” which are developed by enthusiasts worldwide, and most made available for free. This site alone has some 25 active Plugins, which I have selected and installed to suit my preferences. If you wanted, and with the right theme and plugins, you can produce an e-commerce website with a fully functional store, which can accept secure payment by all credit cards. You may otherwise choose to setup your own recruitment job board as a commercial concern, or for your employment agency or your own vacancies. The possibilities aren’t quite endless, but they’re working on that.
Later this month, WordPress 3.0 will be released as a free install. Included in this major upgrade release are additional functions which means it is undoubtedly the most powerful, flexible and accessible website platform available. So not only is it a no-brainer for anyone considering setting up their own blog, but it is increasingly the automatic choice for companies who need to be able to manage the content on their own website, without constantly referring to a web designer. Anyone who can use MS Word, can easily create website content in pages which include pictures, audio, video, and are superbly well organised for SEO with search engines like Google. Every new page is automatically added to the menu system, and all articles, or blog posts, can be added, categorised and tagged for easy organisation. Not only this, but all site content can be easily searched by users as standard. The easy integration with all forms of social media – Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin etc, make this platform an essential tool for thousands of organisations, businesses, individuals and even your local MP!
As well as this site, I have produced several other WordPress websites, including www.NORAuk.com. Both of these sites are based on sophisticated, yet inexpensive, themes which were then customised. Youtube is chock-a-block with instructional videos. There are thousands of resources, which will show in any Google search, but I would recommend starting with these;
I’d be happy to give some pointers to anyone who wants to know how to get started.