Wait, what is WordPress?
WordPress is a free (to download, use, customize, and redistribute) blogging platform and content management system that is open source and fairly easy to use. In fact, it is the most widely used blogging platform used in the world today. According to BuiltWith, close to 50% of CMS-implemented websites run WordPress. Drupal comes in second, taking up only 13% of the real estate.
Over the years, it has transformed from the blogging tool that it once was. It even has plugin and theme directories with more than 30,000 free add-ons. You can also buy premium add-ons and themes from vendors such as StudioPress or CodeCanyon.
Why is WordPress a Great Solution?
The great thing about WordPress, aside from the customization options, is that it is cost-efficient for businesses. A complete site structure is available immediately upon download and install. This saves time and client dollars right off the bat. From there, a developer can take any website design and customize the layout and structure of the theme.
As mentioned before, WordPress themes are structured with template files. Unlimited templates can be created for your site if it requires different layouts for certain pages. These templates are then applied on a page-by-page basis. There can even be separate template files for blog archives, categories, and posts!
Here’s how Widgets, Plugins, and Custom Post Types are wonderful tools to take your site’s customization even further:
Widgets and Plugins
Upon installation of WordPress, you will have access to several default widgets to add sidebars, header areas, and footer areas. These widgets can easily be added to widgetized areas using the built-in drag and drop feature. Chances are, if the default widgets don’t meet your needs, you will be able to find something better in the plugin directory on wordpress.org or through third-party developers. In some cases, downloaded plugins will also come with their own widgets that can be added to these areas as well.
Custom Post Types
WordPress uses different post types to display content. Pages, [blog] posts, and navigation menus are all classified as “post types.”
Custom post types can be registered with a function and are used in a wide variety of content. They are actually the same as the post types mentioned above, but have a unique value in the database. Once created, the new custom post type will appear on the dashboard for easy access. Custom post types could be used for a separate blog, a portfolio section, or anything else that you can think of.
Users & Usability
You may want to give several employees or team members access to your web site to create pages or post articles. WordPress lets you create separate accounts for each person. This is great for managing admin users and authors of posts. Roles can be assigned so that different types of users have different accessibility levels. For instance, an admin user will have full access to everything in the back-end. Authors, on the other hand, will only be able to manage and edit their own posts. For more about WordPress user roles, see Roles and Capabilities.
For the common user, navigating the WordPress dashboard is simple and intuitive. You don’t need to be a programmer to perform basic tasks such as creating a page or blog post, updating content, or adding a navigation item. Even adding images can be done quickly and with ease! To top it off, all these tasks are accessible from any computer or mobile device (via browser or iOS/Android app).
Will WordPress Work for Ecommerce?
Although WordPress was not specifically developed for ecommerce, it is a viable solution. With the number of ecommerce themes and plugins available, both free and paid, your new WordPress site can become an online store in a matter of minutes. Many of the ecommerce plugins, like WooCommerce, allow developers to fully customize the look and feel of category and product pages to match your site. Even payment processing can be simplified with various payment gateway options including PayPal, AmazonPayments, Authorize.net, and many others.
Will WordPress Work for You?
No matter how big (or small) the site, WordPress and its endless add-ons can be your solution. Whether you purchase a theme or have one custom-developed for you; blogging, building static content or managing ecommerce products will be a breeze with the user-friendly interface that WordPress provides. If you would like to discuss your new custom WordPress site, give us a call at (800) 405-2947 or view our web services.