Here at Graphics Westchester we build beautiful websites on the WordPress CMS. You may be wondering, what is WordPress and why choose it over the multitude of website building software available? There isn’t a single answer to this question but this article will introduce you to the many benefits that WordPress offers!
In the early days of the web, most websites were coded in HTML almost exclusively. This is called a static website. Although this strategy leads to small, fast websites, there are many downsides to building a site this way. First, it is very hard to make changes. The owner would need to know at least some code in order to change a picture or some text on their website. If they didn’t, they’d have to pay someone to make any changes on the site. It also made it hard to extend upon an existing site. If the owner wanted a new page, a whole new document would need to be coded by a developer. Luckily we now have CMS’s, like WordPress, which solve these problems.
CMS stands for “content management system”. So what is a CMS? Essentially it allows you to edit content then have it applied to pre made templates for your site. When you have a site that is built on a content management system, you get an admin area that you can sign into. When signed in, you can edit and create pages and much more, while being sure that your site will look consistent and pleasing to the eye! This is a very basic explanation of what a CMS is. The largest benefit of a CMS is that there is a community of users that build themes and plugins that can greatly extend the functionality of your site. Need a shop, form, or mailing list signup? Someone’s probably made a plugin for that!
Before I get into why you should use WordPress, you should know the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. At Graphics Westchester, we use WordPress.org to create a website on your own hosting. WordPress.com lets you create a website on their servers and because of this, there are a lot of limitations of what you can do. When you go to WordPress.org you can download a version of WordPress CMS to install on your own servers. Most hosts now offer an easy install of the WordPress.org files so installing it is as easy as clicking a button!
WordPress began as a blogging platform but it has since become a powerful tool for creating websites. 74,652,825 websites are built on WordPress. Thats almost 19% of all websites! This is very important because it means that WordPress gets support from a huge community! Although there are many options for building websites, none can boast the kind of numbers WordPress can. With this many people using WordPress daily, bugs and vulnerabilities can be discovered quickly, which means your site can be kept safe by simply updating your site and plugins regularly! It also means that there is a great chance that someone has already done what you want to do. So creating new functionality on your site can be as easy as downloading a plugin.
WordPress gives you the ability to take charge of your own website. Instead of paying a developer to build and maintain your website, you can have them build you a custom theme, then you can update everything on your site yourself. In future WordPress 101 posts I will show you how easy it is to do anything from changing a few photos to creating your own webpages!