The Wonders of WordPress
About 24 months ago I didn’t believe it when a friend told me that they’d heard WordPress would become the primary choice for developing websites in the future. My understanding of WordPress at the time was that it was a blogging platform that could now be used to create different types of websites by using templates.
Having spent years teaching myself to develop websites from the ground up using all the required coding, I was very cynical that a ‘template-based’ platform could be the future of web development. However, as it turns out, my perception of WordPress at the time didn’t take into account the possibilities that this powerful medium could provide a skilled web developer.
So What is WordPress?
WordPress is a piece of web-based software that incorporates a content management system alongside the file structure required to produce a website.
This means that a developer like myself can make a website on WordPress that provides my client with an easy-to-use system so that they can manage the site themselves.
Additionally, WordPress is a free, open-source platform, which means the tools to develop additional functionality to work with it are widely available. This has led to the creation of thousands of different plug-ins (many free to use, some with a small fee) which can be installed onto the main software.
For Example, one of the most popular plug-ins is Woocommerce. This provides all the functionality to turn a website into an ecommerce website; with product pages, shopping cart, customer and delivery details, all of which can be managed by the client from the admin area of WordPress.
Plug-Ins like this are one of the key contributors to the success of the WordPress platform. Many of them provide functionality which if it had to be developed from scratch would take a skilled developer or team of developers many hours to construct. Consequently it has enabled freelance developers like myself to construct ecommerce websites and other sites with complex functionality at reduced time and cost than was previously possible.
I was quite disparaging of WordPress as a template based web software when I first became aware of it. However the reality is far removed from typical web templates like the cheap ‘1&1 my website’ and similar services.
First of all, WordPress ‘themes’ are professionally constructed, generally great looking themes. They offer responsive design (work perfectly on all devices) and many customisation options to make your website original. Skilled developers like myself can construct child themes which will keep the functionality of the original but can then use HTML/CSS and PHP code to completely reconstruct a website to the clients requirements.
My WordPress Experience.
I first began using WordPress myself about 8 months ago. In that time I have become comfortable with it’s methods of working to the point that it is the software I use to construct 80% of my websites now. I have taught myself how to construct my own themes from scratch, which means I can produce an entirely bespoke website design which incorporates all the functionality WordPress has to offer. Many of my websites will be constructed as child themes which means I can adapt an existing theme to produce an advanced, responsive website with original design and a wide range of specific functions.
The nature of WordPress as an open source platform means that it is futureproof, easy to use and capable of enabling nearly every function you would want from a website. There are some limitations and some very specific website functionality would still require bespoke development. However, for small to medium enterprises, it can provide an elegant website solution in the hands of a skilled designer/developer.
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