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CMS Series: The Perks of WordPress

You’ve heard of WordPress. The personal publishing system began in 2003 as a web blog. Today, it powers over 32 percent of all sites on the web and is used by over 60 million people.

Whether you’re a blogger, developer, small business owner or web administrator for a large corporation, WordPress makes it easy to build, update and maintain a website for the non-developer.

The most basic way to use WordPress is to go to wordpress.com and sign up for a free account. This comes with a custom domain name (i.e. customdomain.wordpress.com), basic hosting and storage, and access to some WordPress themes and plugins. This option is mainly for basic web blogs, but you can upgrade at any time (with a yearly subscription) to add personalized domains (i.e. yourdomain.com), site backups, spam protection, malware scanning, site monetization, SEO tools and more.

The next step up would be to purchase a hosting package and use the WordPress “famous five-minute installation.”

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Image: WP Mayor

WordPress is known for its ease of installation and under normal circumstances, it takes about five minutes or less to complete. There are five steps in the famous five-minute installation: Download the WordPress package; create a database and database user; edit the wp-config.php file with the new database and user information; upload the WordPress files to a web server; and run the WordPress installation by accessing your site in a browser.

Of course, most hosting packages these days offer a “one-click WordPress install” that does most of the famous five-minute installation for you.

Once the installation is complete, you can browse through the over 3,000 free WordPress themes to find one that fits your needs.

In the backend, which has a great user experience, you can add pages, menus, widgets, images, users and adjust your site settings. Plus, you can install any of the over 45,000 plugins available to extend your site with features like online stores, galleries, mailing lists, forums, analytics and more.

WordPress_MP6_dashboard

Finally, since WordPress is built as open source software, developers who have some knowledge of PHP, HTML, CSS, and Javascript, can build custom themes, plugins and widgets to be used within WordPress. This means that a WordPress site can be completely customized for your brand.

Of course, WordPress doesn’t come without some drawbacks. Since the front-facing side of WordPress is based on templates and themes, it is possible that a site may look similar to many others when using a theme right out of the box.

Being an open source software is both a good thing, and a not-so-good thing. This means that many themes and plugins are maintained by individuals who may not be dedicated to keeping them updated or providing trouble-shooting help.

But WordPress offers a solution to this in their ratings systems. User can rate themes and plugins through WordPress.org and leave comments about them. Thus, the higher the rating, usually the better the theme or plugin.

WordPress is so much more than just a web blogging platform. It has something to offer brands – in every industry – that have need of creating a web presence, from basic to advanced. With so many features, add-ons and its ease of use, it’s no wonder that there an estimated 75,000,000 sites built with WordPress.

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