WordPress is the most widely used content management system in the world, and it’s our CMS of choice. Over one billion sites use it, it is stable and secure and has a huge amount of add-on apps (called plugins) and templates (called themes) which are available to use at no cost. WordPress also benefits from being a blogging platform, which helps to extend the reach of your site and build your audience. By adding a newsletter service, people can subscribe to your blog and receive it as a newsletter whenever you add a new post. Your blog posts can even be linked to your social media accounts.
WordPress is very versatile and easy to maintain. Every time you make an update, the old version of the page is saved automatically so you can revert to it if you’ve made a mistake. You can set the site to backup automatically, so you never need to worry about losing data. If you want to change the appearance, you can use a plugin to do that or even switch themes for a completely new look.
The real advantage of using WordPress is that you own the site – you are not tied to a single hosting company, and are free to move it whenever you wish. You can use free WordPress hosting or managed hosting, and keep a backup of the site on your own computer.
Most plugins and themes have a free version, and some have a paid version if you need more features. Here’s a list of some of the more popular and useful Plugins:
Jetpack – probably the most useful, this gives you a lot of site statistics, enables access to multiple WordPress sites through a single web interface, automatically updates your site, and does some optimization. You need a WordPress.com account to use it (free to set up)
WP Super Cache – loads your pages faster
Yoast SEO – improves your site’s Search Engine Optimization
WooCommerce – the most popular eCommerce plugin, free and fully featured so you can start selling online immediately.
TinyMCE Advanced – this adds more features to the editor which you use to build pages and posts
Advanced Custom Fields – a powerful customisation plugin (needs some understanding of WordPress internals though)
MailChimp for WordPress – the companion to the popular emailing service
For complete list, have a look at https://wordpress.org/plugins/
Posts and Pages
Whereas a page is a traditional website page, which can be accessed from the site menu, a post is slightly different; it usually won’t appear on the main menu and all posts will display on a single page (often called ‘Blog’ or ‘News’) as short summaries and a thumbnail, with a link to the full post. If you allow it, anyone can reply to a post (subject to your approval before the reply is shown) and posts can be divided into categories, marked with tags, and will get archived after a while. Posts also show up in RSS feeds, so people can subscribe to your blog or news page through various different apps and web services.
WordPress.org vs WordPress.com
You will no doubt come across these two domains at some point. WordPress has a free, user-content driven site at WordPress.org, and a more commercially oriented one at WordPress.com. The latter provides free website hosting as well, although this is somewhat limited in how you can use it and performance can be a little slow. WordPress.com is also the site you access JetPack services through, so you will probably use both sites from time to time.
Converting an existing site
Website conversion can just be a matter of copying and pasting site content across from your old site to the new WordPress site, although generally it is a little more involved than that. It is often better to start with a conversion so you can keep your existing site content, rather than build a completely new site from scratch. Then you can make changes and additions at your leisure.
While you might find a theme that is close to what you need, some customization is almost always needed to give your site a unique look and maintain consistency with the services or products you offer. You may also have special requirements not met from the available plugins. We can build a ‘child’ theme and one or more custom plugins to meet any requirements you may have, in fact this website was built around a free WordPress theme – after all, if it’s good enough for our customers then it’s good enough for us!
If you are interested in a WordPress website or site conversion, or if you have an existing WordPress site which you need help with, please give us a call on 01970 890606