Starting out as a blogging platform, WordPress has grown into a fully-fledged content management system. With 34% of all websites based on WordPress, its popularity is indicative of the flexibility of the platform and the creative possibilities this brings.
We have sat down with Nathan and James, two of the very best from our website development team here at Mosaic Digital Media, to talk to them about their views around WordPress and some of the experience they have using the platform.
So what makes WordPress different?
One of the biggest benefits of using WordPress is the integrated Plugins, which the user can download and install on their site to provide extra functionality. Plugins are community created and those provided through the WordPress official directory are free to use, although there are premium/subscription-based plugins available.
The use of plugins allows for sites to be tailored to a specific need, for example allowing users to register and login to your site, adding eCommerce functionality to create a web store or the use of APIs to link your site to various external platforms. With over 50,000 plugins listed on the WordPress official directory, a solution can be found to meet almost any specification.
Being a web-based service, WordPress allows for site updates to be made whenever or wherever as long as you have a suitable device, an internet connection and the logins details. This means that it is very easy to make amends to your site without the need for transferring files or data, a process that is assisted with the inclusion of a built-in visual editor. Instead of having to write code for new site features or styling, the visual builder provides an easier method of selecting and editing page elements. This makes WordPress fairly intuitive and straightforward to use, with a small amount of training anyone can grasp the basics of using the system. This is useful for us here at Mosaic Digital Media, as it allows for a client to take ownership of their site (should they wish) after it has been developed and make basic amendments to the site such as updating text or images.
Can WordPress still be used for blogging?
As mentioned, WordPress began its life as a blogging platform. And although it has developed into much more than that, the ability to create blogs for a site remains and is made incredibly easy, again due to a new built-in editor. The process can be as easy as creating a new post, giving it a name, adding content to it and then publishing it on your site. Once you have added an area on your site to display blog posts, newly created posts will automatically be added to it.
The creation of blogs is something that Google recommends for SEO purposes, as it means the site is constantly being updated and added to. SEO is made easier with WordPress, for several reasons. As mentioned previously, the use of plugins, specifically those which are SEO specific, such as Yoast SEO (a firm favourite here at Mosaic) allow for metadata to be added to a site or specific pages, or for keyword searches to be targeted. This, in combination with the regular automatic WordPress updates, often means that Google will favour these sites and they will rank higher on search results – potentially leading to greater trust and more conversions.
Whilst WordPress is an excellent choice for creating and maintaining a website, there are many methods of doing so, some of which are not optimal and can lead to problems further down the life span of your site. One of these methods is to use a pre-made theme.
What are pre-made themes?
A theme is essentially a skin for WordPress, changing the layout of the site and some of the functionality. For a beginner, the idea of a pre-made theme may seem appealing – a fancy looking website out of the box that simply needs custom text and images adding to it. However, these themes often are extremely limited in the amount of customization you can apply, with layout issues occurring if you stray from the design.
Other issues crop up with pre-built themes, for example, they often feature lots of redundant code. This may not seem like a big issue, but it can affect both the site load speed as well as SEO potential. Another potential issue is the conflict between your theme and installed plugins. This is an especially important point to mention, given the importance of plugins for site customisation. When using a pre-made theme, attempting to use plugins may lead to layout or functionality issues that cause your website to display incorrectly or in the worst-case scenario, break your site.
Of course, this is not to say that WordPress themes are wholly bad, for basic blogs, portfolios or small scale personal websites, themes provide an easy way for individuals to create their own website. However, when it comes to larger projects, such as a website for a company or eCommerce shop, pre-built WordPress themes are not the best solution.
How we can help
Here at Mosaic Digital Media, we’re big on WordPress! If you’ve attempted to build your own site using a pre-built theme and things have gone awry, or you’re simply in the market for a professionally built site get in touch today. Contact us on 01925 563 960 or use our contact form to see if Mosaic can help your business.