Why use WordPress

Ease of Use

WordPress is the Toyota of the CMS's. And, it sometimes seems that everyone has one. Yes, it is by far the most popular CMS.

The popularity of WordPress is due to its ease of use. It started life as a Blogging Platform and its roots remain evident today. The "ease of use" combined with the fact that many WordPress sites are created by novices with no formal training tends to give WordPress sites a characteristic "look" that can quickly become familiar -- just like a Toyota. However, modern themes and a higher percentage of skilled developers are moving WordPress away from the "Oh, just another WordPress site" reaction. But, the novice still tends to create WordPress sites that look a lot like an open book.

The "ease of use" makes WordPress well suited for individuals, professionals, and small businesses that put "ease of use" at the top of their priority list. And, if your primary interest is in blogging, then WordPress is the right choice.

Since WordPress is very easy to install and put into operation, it is ideally suited to amateurs, novices, artists, and the do-it-yourself types. Little to no technical knowledge is required. A functional WordPress site can be created in five minutes. But, it will be only a skeleton ready for functionality to be added and content to be entered. Functionality is added to WordPress sites with plugins.

Transforming a skeleton WordPress site into a practical and useful website requires adding a good number of plugins. The plugins add functionality, including SEO, as well as security. So, think of WordPress as a skeleton upon which a practical website can be built. It is not a one-stop shop for a CMS. You have to build upon it, while being selective about what you add. As with any CMS, it will then have to be populated with content. Content means textual content, photographs, and graphics. Spreadsheets, documents, video, and other files can also be added.

Themes

Given that the "look" of a WordPress site is closely tied to the "Theme", it is no surprise that there are thousands of themes available. Many are free and open sourced. However, as expected, the better Themes are the commercial themes that carry a fee. The commercial themes generally provide better quality and better support. A popular source of commercial WordPress themes is Elegant Themes.

A new development (late 2015) in WordPress themes is the Theme Builder or Page Builder. These tools allow you to create a WordPress theme using drag-and-drop. The Page Builder offered by Elegant Themes is called Divi. The company offers both a Divi Theme and a Divi Plugin. The Divi Plugin facilitates migration to another theme.

One competitive alternative to the Divi Theme is the Visual Composer. These drag-and-drop Page Designers continue the march towards making WordPress the right choice for those that want a website without having to hire an expert. But, like those that decide to be their own plumber, electrician, or mechanic, the end results are seldom, if ever, as good as the results produced by someone that is experienced.

In any case, take care in selecting a WordPress theme -- because moving from one theme to another is often not a simple task.

Plugins

The first plug-in you should select for your new WordPress site is a plug-in that will provide convenient backup capability.  Many of the backup plug-ins provide automated backup capabilities that can function on a schedule without human intervention. Various plugins can store the backup files on a local computer, on a server, in the Cloud, or all three. As expected, the commercial backup plugins are generally of a higher quality with more functionality than those that are available as open-sourced (see people would say Free -- but that is not exactly a true statement).

WordPress provides an easy 5-minute install and one-click installation of updates and plugins.

Many large companies will use WordPress for a blogging platform while having their primary website on Drupal, Joomla, or some other platform. Facebook is one such company. In some cases, the blogging platform is on a Intranet and for employees use only.

How to recognize a WordPress site:

WordPress sites are fairly easy to recognize. If you see a website that is essentially a stack of blocks (like a stack of bricks) with the blocks having different colors, it may very well be a WordPress site. Some of the blocks may be 1 column wide (full width) while others may be  split into 2, 3 or 4 columns. Often times, there will be sharp contrasts in colors between the blocks.

If you examine the source code for a WordPress site, you can normally find the text strings “wp-“ used. It is used  in directory names like “wp-content” and “wp-theme”. Do a text search also for the word "generator". It will be found in the top portion of the source code between the <header> and </header> HTML Tags.

A technique that will work on most WordPress sites is to attempt to login as a user. At the Home Page of a website with a URL like "http://thatwebsite.com" instead of like "http://thatwebsite.com/blog", append "/wp-admin/ to the end to produce "http://thatwebsite.com/wp-admin/" and then press the Enter Key. If you get a login screen, you are looking at a WordPress site.

Here are some typical WordPress sites that will allow you to see the block “effect”.

Some large companies that use WordPress are:

For more information on WordPress, see wordpress.org.
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