I spend most of my time working with organisations and their Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence projects, however, of late I have been looking at building a little website in my free time. It would have easily been 10 years since my last foray into web design, where I used HTML, CSS and dabbled with PHP, and it seems the internet world has moved on somewhat.
Everyone seemed to be saying WordPress, while I looked like a stunned mullet. So what is WordPress exactly you might ask…? Well, I’ve schooled myself somewhat and here is my simplified overview:
WordPress is a great open-source content management tool which can be used to quickly and easily develop websites. What makes WordPress really standout is that it’s more-or-less click and drag based, so as a new user there isn’t the code learning curve previously faced (you can mess with the code if want to, but it’s not required). Equally astounding is that 25% (more than 60 million) of the internet’s websites are WordPress based – so you know they must have something right. WordPress is also limitless in its capabilities – if you can think of something you need, it certainly can be done!
Now that creating a great website can be easily achieved, its time to consider the costs:
Whilst WordPress is free and it is possible to have an entirely free site if you want your own non-.WordPress domain name there are some costs. These come in the form of your domain name and hosting. While hosting yourself is possible, utilizing a reputable hosting provider who has all the integration nicely pre-packaged saves a ton of time and headaches. The pricing for both seems to be fairly competitive these days too, there’s a myriad of vendors out there – we are spoiled for choice.
Other costs that can be incurred are for Themes and Plug-Ins which in their own right require a little explanation:
In a nutshell, WordPress was developed as a blogging platform tool, which is great if you want to build a blog-style site, however not so great if you want to say build an eCommerce store. Enter Themes. Themes allow you to change things like layout and functionality (for example: add shopping carts and product categories). A great list of Themes for both blogging and eCommerce user experiences can be found below:
As WordPress has been around for quite a while the user community has spotted lacking functionality and developed Plug-Ins for the platform, at the time of writing this blog there were 53,871 Plug-Ins available which complete numerous operations (for example currency conversion, social media buttons, and the ability to back up your website).
Some Plug-Ins are free, while others have a cost attached. Some recommended examples of these can be found below:
WordPress is a brilliantly powerful tool and with all those Plug-Ins it has never been easier to make pretty much any website you can think of. The building and admin side is easy to learn and there are plenty of resources if you get stuck. That’s all for this blog, as I get deeper into WordPress and it’s various add-ons I will follow this up.
Thomas – MacGyver of code
Thomas blogs about reporting platforms, data warehousing and the systems behind them.
You can read Thomas’s other blog posts here.
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