WordPress Websites Kent
There are lots of different ways to build a website, and many different ‘platforms’ (technologies upon which a website is based), too. I have been creating websites for nearly 20 years, and have worked with many different technologies, but now work exclusively with the ‘WordPress’ platform, and with good reason.
WordPress is far and away the most popular website Content Management System (CMS) platform in use today, with 59% of CMS based websites using WordPress. Furthermore, 20% of ALL websites now use WordPress (that’s 67 million websites!), and over 100,000 new WordPress websites are being built – every single day!
So, what’s the big deal?
To start with, WordPress is free software. Technically speaking it is ‘Open Source Software’ (OSS) which means that its code is made available and licensed such that the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change and distribute the software at no cost to anyone and for any purpose (this basically means you can do what you like with it). Like most open source software, WordPress is developed in a collaborative manner, and for the greater good of all.
The WordPress platform is based around a ‘Content Management System’ (CMS). A CMS is basically web authoring software that resides on your web server, rather than on your computer, and provides a means to build websites without requiring any technical knowledge of the code or processes involved. This means that people can either build their own websites, or easily update them once the website has been constructed by someone else. Think of a CMS as a private website that enables you to build another public website.
WordPress provides a modular way to build websites. Once the main WordPress CMS has been installed, the first step is to choose and install a design ‘theme’ which will form the basis of your website. And being the most popular website platform out there, there are a seemingly endless number to choose from, either free or premium. And further down the line, when you feel it’s time to change the look of your website, you can do so by simply by installing a new theme, rather than having to re-create all the pages! But does this mean your website will look generic or template-based? Absolutely not! A theme is so much more than a template, with a vast amount of in-build flexibility, and – if necessary – literally any aspect of it can be further customised by your web developer according to your needs.
The WordPress software comes with many fantastic features, but expandability is the key here, and third party developers have so far created more than 24000 ‘plugins’, code modules to add additional functionality to your website. These plugins can provide anything from simple things such as social network integration, to fully featured bulletin board and e-commerce solutions. And best of all, most of these plugins are also free!
You all use Google or some other ‘search engine’ to help you find what you are looking for on the web, but how do the results get selected and ordered (ranked). Search engines ensure this remains a closely guarded secret to stop people cheating the system, but developers do know the sorts of things that are important, and the process of trying making a website rank well on Google and others is called ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ (SEO). WordPress websites are all fully SEO compliant out-of-the-box, which means that the way they are structured adheres to best practice for helping search engines find and rank them. In addition, there are several great plugins available, which make optimising your pages for required keyword searches straightforward.
Those are just some of the reasons I choose to work solely with WordPress now, but…
Are there any disadvantages to using WordPress?
The only disadvantage I can think of (if you wish to call it that), is that the popularity of WordPress can make it a target for cyber-attacks (in much the same way that PCs are the main target of computer viruses, simply because they are the most popular type of computer in use today). In many cases, these attacks are designed to make someone’s WordPress website the engine for automatically sending out spam emails; so called ‘Spambots’.
But would you avoid using the best tool for the job, simply because of the potential criminal activity of others? It’s a bit like asking whether you wouldn’t buy that nice new car you’ve promised yourself, just because it might get stolen. Of course not, you would simply take the appropriate precautions to ensure the crime doesn’t happen to you.
Fortunately, WordPress is being continuously developed to ensure new found threats are patched – in exactly the same way that your anti-virus software is always being updated. But it is important to keep your WordPress installation up-to-date with the latest code files. And fortunately again, WordPress makes this very easy, usually with just the click of a button (depending on which web host you use). And if you choose the right WordPress developer, you can be confident that they will incorporate appropriate security and backup measures to begin with, further reducing your chances of becoming a target.
DIY or Employ a Web Designer?
If all the above sounds straightforward and you have a technical bent, yes of course you can create your own WordPress website from the ground up. It will be a steep learning curve initially, but there will be a real sense of achievement when you are finished. Of course, you need to accept that you will not have the skills to work to the same standards as a professional, and this can often result in frustration, either if your finished website doesn’t look as nice as you would have liked, or if something goes wrong. This is why many people turn to a professional web designer, in the same way they will call a plumber to fix their central heating rather than do it themselves, but of course there’s nothing to stop you having a go.
Remember also though that a professional web designer will be aware of many issues of web design that you may not have even considered, and will also be equipped to deliver the look and feel of website commensurate with your business needs.
In additional to a full website design service, I also offer a compromise solution, whereby I undertake the initial technical work, leaving you to create your web pages using the WordPress CMS.