Unfortunately, creating a site is never a simple thing to do. As you probably already know, to make a site is not enough, unfortunately, design it to PC. It is not enough to draw it in pencil or lay it out as you usually do with a sheet of notes: it is necessary to write code.
It therefore leads to losing hours, days or even months on those damn lines, trying to make the style work, the inscriptions, the graphic elements, the animations and other frustrating aspects of the programming. Creating something from scratch is never the easiest solution. Although it is probably the most personal and customizable choice, it remains in any case a truly ambitious project that requires the particular technical skills to do it, not to mention the weather.
And you cannot even win victory once the site can be considered navigable or in any case completed: you will always have to update it with interesting and useful content for the user, update it with new videos, articles, interviews, products, travels, reviews or recipes or with any other content you plan for your blog, e-commerce or portal.
To solve these problems you can use a CMS.
What is a CMS?
CMS is an ultra-nerd symbol that stands for content management system or, in Italian, “content management system”. Despite the fright presented this way, other is not that a software that allows you to publish pages, articles and contents more in general without putting every time to the structure of the site. Using a CMS you can then manage your website without having to waste time each time but relying on a system.
It’s a bit like making a computer presentation: it’s not necessary to do everything from scratch, but there’s a software, a platform, that helps you. It makes you avoid building everything from the basics allowing you to dedicate yourself only to the content of the slide and, out of metaphor, to the page of your website.
There are a lot of CMS out there. Often we introduce those that allow drag-and-drop (possibility to drag and then add content to the site using the mouse) or cosuccce similar in general very close is still a beginner. Sometimes they allow you to achieve good results but often you end up simply getting impatient.
The task of a CMS is to allow …
- Management of site pages
- Time savings
And WordPress does all these three things.
WordPress: Platform to create and add pages
WordPress was actually born as a CMS for blogs, for simple digital journals. Now, however, every type of site can be realized, with more or less effort, using this system, precisely because of its particular elasticity. With WordPress (in some cases by making appropriate changes) you can create …
- A blog
- A portal
- A travel site
- An eCommerce
- A company showcase
- An online course
To be more precise WordPress not only allows you to create your site and add pages but also manage it over time. But these are more or less the characteristics of each CMS available online but WordPress has 7 features that make it stand out among all …
- It is old but always updated
- It is user friendly
- Documentation and support
- Troubleshoot problems in the forums
- Customization with themes
- It is open to Plugins additions
- It’s free
Old but always updated
As we read in the Wikipedia page of WordPress, the CMS was released back in 2003. It has therefore 12 years on its shoulders, a historical age compared to internet times! However, the development team often does not have to update it and continues to release updates almost every month.
This aspect is often not considered enough but one of the qualities of a good CMS is to rediscover to protect your site from external attacks. I know you’re already thinking that you have not done anything and have no particular enemies out there. My site has been attacked several times from abroad, without any apparent reason. These are just attempts by those who actually hope for success. In any case, an updated CMS always keeps up with the times and adds, day after day, more and more security systems and blocks against external attacks; so you can feel comfortable.
WordPress is user friendly
A content management system was created to allow even those who do not have particular technical knowledge to build and manage a site. It must therefore aim at simplicity and immediacy and thus provide the clearest and most intuitive user interface possible.
I assure you that in just half an hour of hacking on WordPress you will be able to understand how to perform the main actions and then how to add an article, a page or how to organize your sidebar. It is important that the platform is simple and fast: it is a tool that you will have to use, probably, every day and that, perhaps, you will have to share with other collaborators who may not have the same technical knowledge.
Documentation and support
It is essential, during the construction of a site a bit outside the lines, refer to a particular function of the code and its operation or even simply one of the many settings of WordPress and its effects on the entire site that will then be navigated user.
In the Codex WordPress, written by the development team, you will find all the tutorials you need both to start from scratch and to do something more advanced. If you ever decide to put your hand to the code, surely we will find there.
Someone has already had your problem
Many CMS and software have extensive documentation but often it is not enough. In the documentation cannot be described all the possible cases and bugs of a site that uses that content management system. It is therefore not said that you can find documentation about a problem, for example, which involves adding items within the site. If it’s a rare, or very specific problem, it’s hard to find it there.
But WordPress is used by many webmasters and bloggers. This is not a tool used internally by some newspaper or company but a free system, available online and, fortunately, working. For this reason WordPress has closed the month of November 2015 stating that as many as 25% of the sites that populate the network is based on their platform (w3tech analysis). It is an absurd fact! It means that a site every 4 uses WordPress to add pages or publish articles!
So, if as many as 25% of creators of online content use the platform, it is likely that someone has already had to fight with your very particular problem that the documentation does not even mention. So just do a quick search on Google and read the discussions already existing in the forums. In this way I managed to reach all the problems that I found wanting to modify the WordPress code; it was never necessary to create a new discussion and wait for answers.
Customization with themes
Of course, 25% of online sites are different from each other. This is possible thanks to the flexibility of WordPress that allows you to install themes that “differently” paginate your articles and your content.
Once WordPress is installed, you’ll find a couple of fairly generic themes already inside, but the internet is full of themes to download and install. You find both free and not. Obviously the free themes are generally the most widespread and worst realized. In addition, paid themes do not even cost much. Typically, online stores like Themeforest do not ask for more than $20 or $30 – it obviously depends on the complexity of your project.
A theme radically changes a site managed with WordPress, completely changing its graphic appearance. Here are two sites that use WordPress but they do it with different themes: would you ever say?
If you’re pretty good with code and programming in PHP, JS and CSS, you can also try to realize your personal theme. It will take a long time to do it but the result will be truly unique!
Changes with plugin
Themes distort the appearance of WordPress but not its operation. The plugins instead just go to change the structure of your site, by modifying the same WordPress platform. For example, you could use plugins for …
- Add the buttons of social interaction
- Add a gallery to an article
- Add a form on a page
- To manage not only articles and pages but also to add reviews, recipes and other special contents
- Manage an ecommerce (add products, shipments, tags, prices, cart and more)
These are just examples, but you already know how many possibilities are actually. All these things, if done by hand writing code, really take a long time. Someone has already written the code for you and you just need to install a package on your site.
Similarly to what happens with the themes, some free plugins (along with the Premium ones) are available from the WordPress itself, in the WordPress Theme Directory area; others can be purchased directly from the site of those who have developed it or even from alternative stores such as CodeCanyon.
Despite everything, WordPress is and remains completely free. If you already start from a CMS, the costs of building the site are greatly reduced, allowing you to directly target the hosting and the free aspect. You can download WordPress from the official site, even in Italian and without spending a penny.
Obviously that of WordPress is not a paradise nor a rich system of rainbows and unicorns happy jumping. It’s a fantastic compromise to avoid writing lines and lines of code every time you want to add a page or publish an article but it has, of course, its bugs and problems. The great difference, however, makes it the attention and the support it has received. In this way, every flaw, just discovered, can easily be fixed.
But if you go to put your hand to the code, things will get more complicated but, in general, you will feel pampered by the support forums. If you are a programming expert you can try your hand at creating your own personal theme and then creating a much more complex site than just a blog.