When we started blogging in 2008, Blogger or WordPress(.com) were the most common options available to newbie bloggers, with Blogger getting a major chunk of the pie. It was easy to get those blogs set-up – just open an account, give the specifications and either use a default theme or upload an custom template which was freely available on Internet. The servers were powered by Google, and one need not worry (or control) most aspects of how the blog would do in terms of performance.
I remember the first time when the limitations of blogger first struck when we wanted to add a gallery of photos and could not get a clean looking template. It was at this point for time, after spending a few hours on Internet search that we found WordPress. It has been almost 4 years now and this platform continues to amaze me with its simplicity and flexibility. I will not consider going anywhere else in near future.
What is WordPress ?
WordPress is a free community software, developed and curated by a dedicated bunch of developers who have made Internet a better place with their amazing dedication. Starting as a blogging platform 10 years back, it is not considered a full fledged content management system, and the most popular one at that. Today, almost 75 million websites run on WordPress, nearly 20% of all websites on the internet. Big brands like CNN, The New York Times, Reuters, Forbes and eBay are powered by WordPress.
Our relationship with WordPress is now more than three years old, there have been highs and lows, moments of extreme frustration and pure delight. Today WordPress not only powers our blog like 74.6 million other websites, but has also inspired our entrepreneurial venture.
If I have to give 5 qualities of WordPress which makes it our favourite, those will be as follows:
Unlike some other Content Management Systems, WordPress is not meant just for coders. The fact that it was developed primarily for bloggers who may or may not be programmers, makes it incredibly easy to use. While the installation takes just 5 minutes, creating a basic blog is something which does not need special skills. Its administrative interface is simple, intuitive and well laid out. One need not be awed by a steep learning curve when planning to go self-hosted with this easy to learn solution.
WordPress is amazingly versatile. I cannot think of a website which cannot be built over this CMS. It is very scalable, and the thousands of themes, hooks and plugins make it incredibly extendible. Be it a basic blog or a mega website attracting millions of visitors, this humble beast can handle everything. No wonder some of the biggest brands in publishing like The New York Times, Mashable and Reuters trust WordPress.
Starting with skinning options for the basic WordPress, today there are more than 2500 premium and thousands of free themes available all over the internet. Most people who use WordPress are neither coders not designers and it is there that it scores highly in terms of the rich plethora of themes on offer. The themes are easy to customize and with some amount of creativity, it is possible to make two websites built on the same theme look totally different from each other.
There days themes are created on an almost industrial scales and the theme making startups of 5 years ago have become mini-web giants in their own right.
Plugins are perhaps the most amazing concept of WordPress, taking its extendibility to incredible levels. Each plugin extends the functionality of the core to another level, be it caching, SEO, widgets, sliders or some other cool stuff. Some heavy duty plugins can turn your website into an eCommerce portal or even a Social network. At present the WordPress plugin directory has more than 27000 plugins and their numbers are growing steadily. Most of these plugins are free to use, but there are some premium plugins as well.
WordPress is inherently SEO friendly, even without its so many SEO plugins. It has been written in a very high quality code compliant with the W3C standards and has a semantic mark-up which finds a lot of favour among the crawler bots of the search engines. With the use of the SEO plugins, its SEO friendliness can be enhanced even further.
However one thing which I like most about is that it is free and open source. No copyrights, no royalty it is great freedom and power in the hands of someone who have only their creativity and determination to make it count in the world wide web.