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31

Aug
2016

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In Website Development
Wordpress

By SMFoster

Why I Develop With WordPress and Why You Should To

On 31, Aug 2016 | No Comments | In Website Development, Wordpress | By SMFoster

My first WordPress website was built with WordPress.com. I’ll be honest, at the time I really had no idea what I was doing. It was all new to me. Website design, development, and everything in between was something I’d never explored before and really had no background in – but in the end that didn’t stop me from moving forward with my first website.

When I was just out of college I was often asked by friends and family about my taste in music and where they could find a lot of the music I was listening to. Of course, I pointed them towards things like iTunes or YouTube. As time went on and I was asked more and more, I thought to myself, “What if I had a platform that I could share my music tastes with others – not just my friends and family – but anyone who might be interested?”

This is what prompted me to explore building a website in the first place. WordPress came up again and again, so I decided to do some more intense research. What made WordPress better than other offerings? Did I have the capabilities to do this and do it right? What would happen if I got stuck? In fairness many of my questions went unanswered.

At the time WordPress had only been around a few years – five in total if my math is right. Surely it had come a long way since its creation, but compared to the resources you can find on WordPress today it really is no contest. Today there are thousands of blogs and websites dedicated to WordPress. Not only that, there are thousands and thousands of WordPress developers, themes, plugins, and more.

To this day I’m glad I chose WordPress – it made my job easier back then and even easier today.

Getting Started With WordPress

When I first started developing websites with the WordPress platform someone asked me the question, “Why do you use WordPress?”. At the time I really didn’t have a good answer. Ultimately it was the only thing that I really knew; and granted something I didn’t know that well. HTML, CSS, Javascript, and especially PHP were completely foreign languages to me.

Today, the answer is pretty simple: Ease of Use.

I knew that if someone like me, who had absolutely zero working knowledge of websites, could build his own and make it look good in such a short time most anyone could do it on a basic level. Now, that’s not to say that the advanced WordPress developers aren’t needed. That is absolutely not the case. If it weren’t for them, many of us wouldn’t have the WordPress websites we do today. But I digress…

What was I good at early on? I basically knew how to install a template and fill it in with content. Even then, I wasn’t savvy enough to make some elements look the way I wanted, or how to choose a good theme that would let me do it without coding knowledge.

Over that first year I learned a ton. I grasped some basic to intermediate HTML & CSS, and even a small bit of PHP. I put my skills to the test each and every day and became more comfortable over time.

When I discovered WordPress.org – the self hosted solution from WordPress I became even more intrigued. What I didn’t have in my arsenal, however, was the knowledge to procure my own hosting, install WordPress, and manage all the things that it needed. In fact, I surely didn’t understand what it takes to manage a website.

My knowledge journey continued, and about another year later I considered myself ‘pretty good’ at WordPress.

Learning something and being good at it takes time and practice. As I become more familiar with hosting and websites in general I put my skills to the test. I would make small changes to WordPress templates, created child themes, and learned about design elements and programs that would help me attain the look and feel that I wanted. Overall, I was learning quickly.

The moral to the beginning of this story is this: WordPress made it easy for me to learn, and that’s why I love it.

Some other reasons why I develop with WordPress? Sure, why not…

Cuts Down Development Time

Having a CMS platform behind your website at the very start is a godsend. It just makes things so much easier and quicker. I can go from prototype to a functioning website in a matter of days or weeks depending on the size of the project.

Now, I used to use WordPress themes that already had a look and feel that I wanted, and just tweaked them or ‘filled in the blanks’. However, I soon learned that if I really wanted to build unique sites I had to start doing things differently.

I sought out themes that, even though they had a lot of ‘demo’ content, would allow me to build things I wanted to build without the hinderance of having the theme set to just a couple of layouts. Next, as I mentioned earlier, I learned a bit of PHP and Javascript and applied this to my working knowledge of HTML and CSS.

Soon I was creating website that were totally unique, and doing it in fairly quickly. Later, I was even developing my own theme elements and plugins to enhance my credentials.

In the end, WordPress helps me develop quickly and make changes on the fly so I can do more work in less time. Why wouldn’t you want to do the same?

WordPress Is Widely Used

Did you know that WordPress accounts for nearly a quarter of the websites online today? That’s amazing! Having such a large portion of people working to make the platform better is another reason I absolutely love working with WordPress.

The integration with thousands of third party services and the thousands of developers working to make WordPress better everyday makes the experience better for everyone from the co-founders on down to the new user.

WordPress Is Actually Pretty Secure

There is a lot of hype out there about how WordPress isn’t secure or that it has always been vulnerable. Sure, there have been a few chinks in the armor found over the years – but overall WordPress in and of itself is pretty secure.

Now, the topic of security is one I talk about often with my clients. I was always tell them when they ask about WordPress that “your website is as secure as you want it to be”. There are several layers that go into security including on the most basic level the server your login/passwords. WordPress creates a standard login page when you first install, and now creates a secure unique password for you upon install as well. However, many people don’t change the login URL, and do change their passwords to something to easy to guess. To answer your question, no, Password54321 is NOT a good password.

Ultimately, if you do a little research about the topic of security and WordPress you’ll find there are way to make your WordPress website as secure as any other on the web. As I continue to share my knowledge here I’ll have some useful tips for you as well.

It’s So Easy, A Caveman Could…

Ok, I started to really hate those commercials after a while, but they got their point across right?

Today I always, ALWAYS recommend to my clients that hire me to develop them a WordPress website that they have either myself or someone knowledgeable manage their site for them. In the end most people don’t have the time, or some small businesses don’t have the personnel, to properly manage their website and keep it updated. The truth is it’s extremely important not only for the sake of security but to show your customers and visitors that you take pride in your website. It’s also the first impression you have on someone a lot of the time.

Despite this, not everyone has the money to pay someone else to manage their website. The thing about WordPress is it’s easy enough to learn to do most of the things you need to. Creating new posts or pages is as simple as clicking a button. Adding images or video is simple, too. For most people, this kind of thing would be completely foreign if they had no knowledge of it previously, but WordPress makes it easy enough for someone with little to no background in websites to do some of the basic things on their own – and of course to learn some of the more advanced techniques without a ton of effort.

Anything Else, Oh Wise One?

To be honest I could go on and on about WordPress and the reasons I recommend it, but I’d have you here all day. I mean, if you want to stick around I’ll keep going…nah, I’m sure you’ve got other places to be right now, right?

This portfolio website of mine is still in its infancy. I have the basic foundation applied and will be adding some pretty neat features here in the near future. Not only that, I’m going to do what I can to share the WordPress knowledge that I’ve come to learn over the years.

I hope you’ll find it useful and will return again soon. Until then…

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