Okay, so this is a pretty meta post and it’s no secret this blog and it’s sister sites run on WordPress (This isn’t sponsored by the way). Originating as a fork of b2/cafelog and a distant cousin to b2evolution, WordPress has grown to become one of if not possibly the largest blogging and content management platform on the modern web with over 75 million sites running on the platform.
The system comes in two forms – one residing on the popular WordPress.com, where you can sign up for a free account and run your blog on a centralised platform. The other comes as a standalone self-hosted package that you can store on your own web host or server. Each comes with their own different benefits.
The free platform is just that – free to sign up, free to start a blog or site, comes with a whole host of free features and you’re free to expand it with themes and plug ins you find online (with an in built directory for both in case you’re not a fan of searching online). Any updates to the code managed by the initial founder and his company Automattic (whom run the WordPress.com site) are automatically applied to your website and back-end, so there’s never any need or trouble to upgrade things. For those looking for something a little more than what the core WordPress engine can offer including top of the line service and development, there is a paid VIP option aimed at businesses too. On top of hosting your own site, your login allows you to become a user on other people’s sites too, following blogs that will show up in your central “Reader” feed when you log in, as well as the ability to like and comment on posts and pages just like you would on a social network or a news site.
If you’re not quite ready for the WordPress.com VIP hosting or would prefer a little more control over your website, why not look into a local developer such as Adtrak or 67 Web Design? (not sponsored, but highly recommended in the links to the right). These run the standalone version of WordPress and will manage a range of different aspects of the site on your behalf, from allowing you to publish and change your content, whilst taking care of patching and maintaining your installation, to the full kitchen sink of managing and editing your site with your supplied copy (of course to your final say) and ensuring it complies with the latest web standards, killer designs and Search Engine Optimisation to ensure you stand out from the competition.
Don’t think you need that, or want to get experience of running the whole show? (without necessarily having to write lines of code). Try out the free package on WordPress.org. The system runs on the PHP preprocessor and the MySQL/MariaDB databases out of the box and offers it’s famous 5 minute installation (provided your host is configured properly) to ensure you can go from downloaded/uploaded to running as quick as possible. Best of all, it offers most of the same great functionality that WordPress.com does out of the box, right there on your own space and with the code being open source, you have the ability to tweak the whole front and backend to the hilt to suit you and your user’s needs. Miss some of those cool features that are on the site though? Add the official “Jetpack” plugin and have this magic imported right into your hosted system, including the ability to tie your WordPress.com account into your login, and offer WordPress.com users to follow and comment on your blog in the same way with a single username and password (with the more advanced ones unlockable at a price).
However you choose to use WordPress, for the writers and site designers out there, you’ll find the interface really clean and straightforward, with the most important navigation always available on the left hand side (in icon or text/icon style), customisable, famliar interfaces for post/page/anything to do with writing and editing in allowing you to control and change only what you want to before you publish or update, a custom dashboard so you can see what matter’s most when you log in. The great thing too is that if you get stuck, all is not lost with thousands upon thousands of tutorials just a simple web search away, the WordPress forums and Slack Channels, the insane level of documentation on the inners workings on WordPress.org and of course the paid support from your local developer or the guys at Automattic if you’re on a WordPress.com or VIP plan.
So what do you think? Please feel free to write a comment down below and hey, if you want to make a story of it, why not give WordPress a try and make a start on that first ever post?