In the beginning, there was WordPress. And it was good. So good, in fact, that a quarter of the world’s websites are currently powered by the WordPress.com site-building platform. While its .org stablemate hosts over 2.5 billion blogs, WordPress.com enables people of widely varying technical abilities to construct customized and affordable websites.
For beginners, it’s best to think of WordPress as a digital version of Lego. The component parts are relatively simple – there are pre-designed templates that can be adhered to, while plugins represent single-function add-ons that can be incorporated or ignored as desired. At the same time, WordPress can be used to construct something comprehensive and wide-ranging. Blue-chip clients include NASA, Spotify and Ford, all of whom have recognized the platform’s boundless flexibility. A WordPress CMS is effectively a blank canvas that can be dressed and developed however its customers desire.
Tinkering with WordPress can become almost obsessively engrossing, so it’s best to identify what any new website is intended to achieve and stick to those parameters. Although the availability of 47,000 plugins promises a world of customization, each widget has to be processed by each web browser on each page view – potentially affecting loading times. In fairness, a small army of accelerators can mitigate this, targeting either specific content elements or the entire website.
One of the factors underpinning WordPress’s popularity is its aptitude for communications. From social media buttons to comments sections, this platform is ideal for engaging with audiences and developing two-way conversations. Less wholesome interactions can be filtered out using one of many spam plugins, and user registration has typically been pared down to the bare minimum. Integration with social media is another area where WordPress excels, from embedding YouTube videos through to distributing tweets and status updates at designated points throughout each week.
If communication is a key merit of WordPress, so is customization. It’s possible to watermark photos, develop bespoke fonts or customized click-buttons, and adjust everything from navigation bars to checkout baskets. Indeed, this is an ideal platform for retailers, since stable payment/shipping tools are readily available; customers can also be tempted with subscription services, automated loyalty discounts and plenty more besides.
eCommerce demands security, and many people regard the internet as a dark, mysterious world filled with malevolent forces endlessly trawling for sensitive data. Actually, that’s not far from the truth. Fortunately, WordPress makes it easy for people to protect themselves and their sites with a variety of plugins ranging from server-side scanning tools through to firewall functionality and data backups. It’s possible to get carried away and specify excessive security, but the large and vocal WordPress community will readily advise newcomers on optimal levels of security in response to forum enquiries.
The popularity of the WordPress brand has seen WestHost introducing WordPress-optimized hosting, to ensure that our customer sites are always online and instantly accessible from anywhere in the world. Our hosting packages offer domain names, emails, backups and enough monthly visitors to build quite a following.