The wonders of WordPress
I couldn’t possibly set out to write 12 blog posts (one for each of the 12 days after Christmas) without devoting one to something I really enjoy working with. I also enjoy teaching other people how to set up quality CMS websites, so this post is going to be about the wonders of WordPress.
Developed as a blogging platform back in 2003, WordPress has grown in popularity as the choice for small businesses who want to develop a website. Here are some of the benefits:
- WordPress ships with an integrated blog, which is better for SEO purposes than having a blog linked to elsewhere
- You can publish content to your website/blog from wherever you have an internet connection, at home, in the office or via your SmartPhone.
- The coding and structure of WordPress is first-rate and subject to continual development.
- WordPress makes it a breeze to add social sharing options to pages and posts.
- WordPress is suitable for all sizes of websites, from one to many hundreds of pages.
- You can set up access to your site by multiple users, with you setting the level of access and permissions granted re. dealing with content.
- Adding photos and video is really easy with step by step instructions to help you.
- You can monitor your site visitor behaviour using Google Analytics, integration with WordPress is very straight-forward.
- You can run a shop (e-commerce) from within WordPress itself.
To be fair, I don’t think there are issues with WordPress, but I know for a fact there are WordPress issues suffered by people who use it.
WordPress renders database driven websites and blogs, which basically means that there’s more power to be had under the bonnet of the machine and flexible options on how it displays on-screen to the user.
For example, a user can request to view all that’s been written on a subject, via selecting one of the categories from a list (e.g. colour red). The page they’re viewing, as the user, then renders all content that’s been assigned the category ‘red’.
On-site and off-site requirements
I describe WordPress as having a performance engine, which needs special care or it’s likely to break down. The special care that’s needed is partly ‘on site’, but also ‘off site’ – I’ll explain.
On-site, there’s requirement for updating of various elements, which website/blog owners are alerted about. However, too many owners just don’t do the updates on a regular basis, which can cause major malfunctions.
Off-site, there are requirements related to hosting, the main one being avoidance of hosting a WordPress installation on a cheap shared server, or an expensive one come to that! Why? Because on a shared server your WordPress installation could be compromised by someone else on the shared server not doing what they should re. their website security.
I teach courses on how to work with WordPress and on every course there’s an attendee with a story of their site, or a site belonging to someone they know of, being hacked. Hacking is not so much about some person having a grudge against you, but rather just a case of ‘it just happens’ because the security of the website is not tight enough, the seals leak and the baddies get in (my very simplified explanation for the purposes of this post).
What you can do to avoid issues with WordPress
First, be honest about how competent you are with technical stuff. If you don’t have a ‘tame’ developer you can call on if things go wrong, then consider using one of the Freemium options like Weebly, Wix or even Google sites. The beauty of these solutions being that they can provide you with a powerful database driven website and blog, but you don’t have to worry about hosting security and attendant issues.
Another option is to consider starting with WordPress…! Now this is where it can get a little confusing. There are actually two versions of WordPress, .com and .org. Did you know that?
Let me explain. WordPress.org (the one many people experience issues with) requires the owner of the platform installation (i.e. the website/blog) to have a hosting account, whether that’s on a shared, virtual or dedicated server)
WordPress.com on the other hand is hosted by WordPress and is completely free to use, with added functionality such as setting up a shop incurring a charge. WordPress.com works in the same way as Wix and Weebly – entry level is free, extra functionality costs.
Using both WordPress.com and WordPress.org
Yes, it’s possible to do both and actually something I’m recommending to more and more businesses.
One of the beauties of starting on WordPress.com is that the Dashboard (where you drive from) is just about identical to that on WordPress.org, which means you don’t have to learn two different CMS (Content Management Systems).
However, the main beauty to my mind is that you can build a credible web presence for free, without worries about hosting security or cost. Then, once you’ve mastered the system it’s possible to migrate all your content to a self-hosted (where you set up and pay) WordPress.org website.
I consider this ability to move content seamlessly from WordPress.com to WordPress.org puts it head and shoulders above the Freemium competition of platforms such as Weebly and Wix.
Want to learn how to work with WordPress?
I’m delivering a WordPress course on Tuesday 5th February in Leicester, for the eBusiness club. There is a cost involved, but for under £250 you’ll get a website set up in a day and go home with a manual of how to drive the car.
You can read about the experience of people who’ve set up sites on WordPress after attending the course.
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