WordPress is an impressive content management system (CMS) built upon a PHP / MySQL foundation. By all counts, it is the most utilized CMS in the world, installed on some 60 million plus websites and used by over 20% of the top 10 million websites.
WordPress enables people to maintain and manage website content through a web-based “backend” system. It provides relatively simple mechanisms for creating blog posts and static pages, then organizing those posts and pages into categories and menus. It also provides a nice media library tool useful for managing the image assets in use within your site. The media library handles technical overhead like thumbnail generation.
For developers, WordPress delivers well-documented mechanisms for extending its core functionality through a theming architecture, a plugin architecture, function overrides, and action hooks & filters. This flexibility has given birth to a huge community of developers who have contributed themes and plugins that help people customize their site and get more functionality out of it. And of course, expert WordPress developers can use this functionality to build wholly unique themes and features for their clients and employers.
- Provides a working CMS “out of the box”
- Simple customizations are pretty easy to do
- Lots of themes and plugins to satisfy common needs
- Relatively fast, especially with performance plugins
- Great for SEO with SEO plugins
- Non-technical people can maintain and manage the site content
- Great for news, opinion, magazine, and small business marketing sites where the focus is on content
- It’s free and open source!
- Its flexibility enables inexperienced developers to implement bad practices that can make upgrades difficult or impossible
- Not well suited for use with highly custom sites where unique functionality is the focus
- Not well suited for use in situations with many different structured document types
- Does not naturally take advantage of many of the latest techniques and technologies in web development
Is WordPress Right for Me?
Great question, and, of course, it depends. The question of which platform to develop your project on is an important one, and should be carefully considered with respect to the vision for your site.
If you expect your site’s success will be driven primarily by the content you (or your writers) produce, and that content will have a relatively simple organizational structure, then WordPress is probably a great platform for your site.
On the other hand, if you expect the primary value of your site to be in its unique features, or you have complex data structures, or expect lots of growth in unpredictable ways, then you may want to consult with some experts and consider alternative platforms.
Endertech’s WordPress Tips & Tricks
Use the Yoast SEO Plugin
- For most sites, SEO is a very important consideration. You need to be producing content for your site that searchers will find relevant, and you need to structure the content so that search engines know what the page is about. The Yoast SEO plugin provides both tools and a lot of helpful guidance to assist in these matters.
Use the W3 Total Cache Plugin
- Performance is a critical component of your site’s success. People are used to the speed of Google and other top echelon sites, and can quickly get frustrated with slow performing sites. Many of the techniques for achieving top speeds are quite sophisticated, and the W3 Total Cache Plugin does a great job of simplifying their implementation and providing an interface for switching various performance features on and off.
Use Child Themes
- Many amateur developers, just trying to do things quick and easy, will hack away at installed themes and core files to get the desired look or function for a WordPress site. This is the wrong approach. The proper way to extend a theme is by following the established process for creating a Child Theme. This pattern will prevent you from hacking on core files, and enable the underlying WordPress installation to be safely updated.
Don’t Hack the Core
- Similar to using Child Themes… don’t modify core WordPress files. This breaks future compatibility, and can introduce serious security concerns. Extend functions within your Child Theme, or create your own plugins for most advanced functionality. Be aware that the best WordPress plugins often times provide hooks you can use to override default functionality with minimal effort.