In a nutshell – cost, time and ease of use. Development of a website using WordPress is quick (compared to older methods), because of it’s modular nature, and is therefore relatively inexpensive.
Once operational it’s a very very easy system for the website operators (probably you !) to use, whether publishing a blog, running an e-commerce site or perhaps teaching with an e-learning site.
These are the reasons why we at DonCharisma.com recommend WordPress for almost all websites that we build.
Firstly we will clear up some common questions and distinctions, which will help your understanding of web development with WordPress …
What’s The Difference Between A Web Developer and Web Designer ?
Web development and web design are often confused – they are two separate things, and two separate functions !
The web designer and the web developer, both have a place with a WordPress website. In fact they could be the same person for a small site.
With WordPress here’s the differences between web design and web development :
- Web design is concerned more with aesthetics and things like look and feel, more the arena of a graphic designer. In WordPress terms this is more about the “theme” that’s chosen and how it’s configured than anything else.
- Web development is more concerned with the nuts and bolts. The code and programming that makes it do what it does. In WordPress terms this is the “plugins” – they extend, change, add to the functionality of the WordPress website.
There is some cross-over between the web designer and the web developer using WordPress, but they are different things.
What’s The Difference Between A WordPress.com And A WordPress.org Website ?
Also we should make the distinction here between a WordPress.com (WP.COM) website, and a WordPress.org (WP.ORG) website.
The (free) WordPress software that drives a WordPress website, is the same software used on both WP.COM and WP.ORG websites.
The differences between a WP.COM website and a WP.ORG website are :
- A WP.COM website is free and is hosted by WP.COM, usually something like mywebsite.wordpress.com. WP.COM primarily provide free blogs. However they do also encourage businesses too, so websites for businesses can be established with WP.COM. Upgrades can be paid for to add extra features, and premium themes. However flexibility is limited, because WP.COM don’t allow you to change the code. Which leads us nicely to WP.ORG …
- A WP.ORG website is also free for the software, and is often called a “self-hosted” WordPress site. The self-hosted part means that one must host one’s website somewhere, and this is usually done with a web hosting company. These days a WordPress installation is often done with a “one-click” installer, so usually it’s fairly straightforward to install. Then add a theme for aesthetic and how the website functions. Then add plugins to add features like enhanced security, e-commerce, spam protection, etc etc ad infinitum – There are thousands of WordPress plugins to do almost anything, really it’s a vast array of features, often available for free.
Most people who “just need a blog” or a simple website, could use WP.COM for this purpose. WP.COM does not allow things like affiliate marketing, advertising or e-commerce, so these are examples of where a WP.ORG/self-hosted website would be required.
In the rest of this article we will be talking about WP.ORG/self-hosted websites, as they offer the most flexibility. It is the route which most serious web development using WordPress takes anyway.
Why Choose (And Use) WordPress For Web Development ?
The long version !
Typically in the past websites were developed by creating HTML pages. This is a very cumbersome and time consuming way to build anything more than a one page website. Changes to something like the font on 1000s of pages, well it’d just be too much work. In WordPress if we wanted to change a font it’d be either a change of theme or a modification to the CSS, which would take minutes rather than months.
Also enter PHP, the programming language used in WordPress, and MySQL the database system used by WordPress. In layman’s terms, posts and pages for a WordPress website are stored in the database. PHP then does all the “clever stuff” which produces the website, with help from the MySQL database. Basically when someone requests a page from a WordPress website, the website produces that page for them dynamically, that is – at that instant.
A WordPress site can be used as a blog, which is what it was originally designed for OR a CMS. CMS means Content Management System, which is a fancy way of saying one’s posts and pages are stored in a database.
WordPress is straightforward to install, it’s standard code that’s maintained, and has commercial backing. We also understand that around 80% of websites on the web are based on WordPress – so extremely popular.
The web design in WordPress is mostly done through choosing a theme that suits the purpose. We’ll cover this in more detail in another article.
The web development in WordPress is relatively straightforward :
- Install WordPress on the web host.
- Select plugins for security, anti-spam, e-commerce, e-learning, WP.COM integration (Jetpack) etc.
- Configure above plugins, and configure the website.
- (Add content)
Many of our customers could setup a WordPress website themselves – it’s fairly straightforward, just time and patience needed really. Not everyone has the skill, the time or the patience to do it themselves, so this is were we at DonCharisma.com come in by :
- Reducing the time to build the website – we’ve done it countless times before.
- Expert knowledge on what plugins are the best to use, and what are the right plugins to use for each purpose.
- Web design if required, from choosing a theme to graphic design.
- SEO, promoting and marketing the finished site.
- Maintenance and support.
An Example – An e-School/e-Learning Website
A client recently asked us for help in modernising their existing site. Their site was dated and had therefore been vulnerable to attacks from hackers, so security was an issue.
A clean fresh modern look and feel was also requested – WordPress fit’s perfectly. Here’s what we did for them :
- We helped our client choose a web hosting company.
- We setup WordPress on their web host for them.
- We installed plugins for security, anti-spam, Jetpack for WP.COM integration etc.
- We installed an e-learning plugin which allows the site to used for teaching. The e-learning plugin we chose incorporates the e-commerce side of collecting payments from students, so an all-in-one for an e-school.
- We configured the e-learning plugin with one of the client’s courses – so they could see how it was done and get them started.
- We tested and linked PayPal for receiving payments.
- We provided help documentation, detailing the process necessary to add more courses to the website, how to run and maintain the website.
- We installed a forum plugin, and configured for our client.
- We installed and configured social media plugins, for integration in Facebook, Twitter etc.
- We installed and configured a plugin for sending out newsletters, via our client’s chosen service.
We estimate that the end costs for our client were a fraction of the cost of their previous website. Their previous website also took many months to complete (not built by us). We setup their new WordPress website in a couple of weeks including waiting on emails, other delays (outside our control) and weekends !
Our client now has a fully functioning e-school/e-learning website, which is highly secure against hackers, has a modern look and feel, easy to maintain, backup and update. Job done, thank you WordPress.
Other Types Of Websites
WordPress has plugins for just about every scenario it’s possible to dream of !
Here’s some examples :
- e-commerce (eg WooCommerce) for online shops
- e-learning (eg LearnDash)
- blogs (obviously)
- directories – perhaps a business directory or web directory
- dating sites
- brochure websites – showcase yourself, your products or your business
Or by purpose :
- Business – launch a business website, build your brand, promote your business, or sell your products/services.
- Informative site – creating a website to offer instructions or anything you can think of.
- Reviews – build a website to review products, movies, music, whatever you like.
- Personal sites – perhaps a family website, or a self-promotion site.
- Photo gallery or shop – create a photo gallery or portfolio of your work, sell your art or photos.
There are thousands of plugins designed to customise any installation of WordPress. If you can think of it there’s probably already a free (or paid) plugin to do what you want to do on the web. Literally virtually anything is possible.
If you have a purpose which doesn’t already have a plugin to do it, then we have the facility to build one for you. The only limits are your budget and imagination.
Where We Wouldn’t Use WordPress
There’s only a few scenarios where we probably wouldn’t recommend WordPress :
- Very large or very heavy traffic websites
- A specific scenario where a custom built website would perform better, or cost less for the client
- Our client insists on a different CMS such as Joomla, Drupal or TYPO3
- Our client needed redevelopment of an existing installation which isn’t WordPress based
Final Note – SEO With WordPress Websites
Search engine optimisation is very very important for any website wishing to get found, and receive traffic from search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. WordPress is very these days very “search engine friendly” right out of the box. The major search engines recognise the structure and nuances of a WordPress website – well they have to really with so many websites based on WordPress.
There are also a number of great plugins available for WordPress which enable fine tuning and putting one’s website ahead of the competition.
So WordPress is great for SEO !
WordPress is in our opinion the best of breed for developing small to medium sized websites. It’s relatively inexpensive to develop due to the modularisation of the plugins (and themes). It’s fairly straightforward to install, maintain and use. In fact we use it for *ALL* our own websites, and wouldn’t even consider using anything else.
WordPress – it’s simply the best, no question, no contest.
(c) DonCharisma.com 2014 and DonCharisma.org 2014
DonCharisma.com for web design and web development – you dream it we built it … because – “anything is possible with Charisma”
Resources & Sources
Photos – morgueFile
WordPress Logos – WordPress.com and WordPress.org
Everything else – (c) DonCharisma.org and DonCharisma.com 2014