by John Eberhard
WordPress has a number of different applications and uses and I thought I would take this article to explain them.
Turning Your Site into a WordPress Blog
First of all, WordPress is a blogging system that you can install on your website to make it into a blog. A blog, for those who don’t know, is a special type of website where you post new content regularly, and as you post new things, the older content moves further down the page. See my client news blog for an example. http://realwebclientnews.com/
So you can install WordPress on your website and it will become a blog. The WordPress software system is free, and most hosting companies will set it up for you, either by clicking a few buttons online or by calling them. You can also download the latest version of WordPress from www.wordpress.org and then upload them to your site, but this is much more time consuming.
Once you install the WordPress software on your site, you can choose from hundreds of pre-designed WordPress “themes,” which are basically pre-packaged designs, for your blog. Once you select a theme, you can customize it to your liking, adding your company name and logo. You can also have a web designer create a totally customized design for your blog.
Putting up a blog this way means you will have to have a hosting account and pay a monthly hosting fee.
Using WordPress as Content Management System (CMS)
Over the last few years it has become more and more popular to use WordPress as a content management system (CMS). A CMS allows the web site owner, once the site has been designed and set up, to log into an online interface, and make changes to the site themselves, without involving a web designer.
WordPress was originally designed as a blogging system, but since its interface is relatively simple to use (compared to other CMSes) it has become popular to use it as a CMS.
You will still need a web designer to set up WordPress and customize it for you. Once again you can select a WordPress theme and have your designer add customizations, or you can have a web designer create a totally customized design and convert it into a WordPress format.
Once your site is set up in WordPress, the types of things you can change on your site are:
- Changing or adding text on one of the pages
- Adding pictures to a page
- Removing or changing a picture on a page
- Adding or removing pages (of course here you have to be careful not to delete pages that are part of your navigation system)
For more complex changes than the above, you will still need to bring in an experienced web designer.
A lot of people are going in this direction today, using WordPress as a CMS.
A couple of totally custom web sites that I built recently and then converted into WordPress format include http://bigtreesupply.com/ and http://www.truax.net/.
WordPress.com is a free blogging site where you can create an account, and set up a free blog. For example, you can see my articles blog: http://realwebmarketingnet.wordpress.com/
As you can see the web address will include your blog title, then …wordpress.com at the end. But the advantage of starting an account on WordPress.com is that it is free. You don’t have to pay a monthly hosting fee. You can also choose a theme from the large collection of free themes that WordPress has, and you can customize it somewhat.
There are several free blogging sites where you can set up a free blog, but WordPress.com is my personal favorite, because it is built on the WordPress architecture and so it is much easier to customize that any of the others (some of the other free blog sites are almost impossible to customize).
WordPress has hundreds of things called “plugins” that you can add to your site to give it more functionality. For example, you can add plugins that will allow you to add photo galleries, email forms, a feed from Facebook or Twitter, search engine optimization features, or add Google Analytics (web statistics) to your site or blog. WordPress plugins can add a lot of depth to your site.