So you’re thinking of getting your very own little nook on the World Wide Web. You’ve gone through the trouble of registering your shiny new domain name, set up your filehost, and now you’re ready to rock.
But… what do you do now?
This is that pivotal moment in which many website owners can actually fail before they even begin. One of the most important aspects of owning and maintaining a website is being able to answer the question: What solutions does my website provide for both myself and the people visiting?
All too often we get caught up in the flash and flare behind jQuery animations, audio and video elements, and slick designs. What we’re often left with is a place on the internet that rocks faces off with a fantastic array of sounds and colors – majestic to behold – but it doesn’t actually say anything.
A lot of people – both prospective clients and developers – have been talking about WordPress lately. This is exciting for me, because I began my development career creating WordPress themes.
I started right on the advent of WordPress 3.0 (dubbed “Thelonious Monk”), and I’ve watched it move through 8 minor releases over the course of nearly 4 years. During this time, I’ve been nothing short of impressed by how extensible and organized everything is. Core changes have consistently stayed up to date with changes in PHP (the language in which WordPress is written), and everything under the hood – while a bit heavy – runs surprisingly smoothly.
And while WordPress has primarily been considered a blogging platform first and foremost, it has constantly evolved and its ever-expanding developer community has been churning out new and exciting Plugins (independent pieces of functionality that modify or enhance your WordPress installation) allowing WordPress to serve as a base for eCommerce, Forums, and even Social Network solutions.
But is WordPress the right solution for you?
When all you have is a hammer, every problem begins to look like a nail. Remember, WordPress is a constantly evolving tool. If you plan on creating a resource for yourself, customers, clients, or employees that depends on WordPress, you need to ensure that your resource is constantly evolving as well. This evolution is driven by your content. If you just want to put a few pages up and forget about it, WordPress – while easy to use for this purpose – might not be the best option.
Conversely, there are just some tasks that WordPress is not suited for. My one gripe with WordPress is that it doesn’t provide much in the way of User Role versatility. WordPress Users are tasked with one thing in mind: Content Generation. You have Subscribers, Contributors, Authors, Editors, and Administrators. Sure, you can rig your theme in a way that opens up different pieces of front-end functionality for varying user roles, but any developer that tries this is probably going to have a bad time. But at its core, the only differences between the different user types are the kind of content they’re allowed to provide.
Plugins are great to help in managing these gaps, but you’re depending on a third party to handle that for you. Plugins are written by the development community, not by the WordPress team. As such, you will often find yourself running into a scenario that seems more like a crapshoot than it does a solution.
So this takes us back to the very first question we asked at the beginning of the article. If you have a clear understanding of your website’s purpose, and what WordPress is capable of doing in achieving your goals, you are on your way in finding out just how quickly and easily spinning up a new web solution can be.
Your website is a living, breathing thing. Using the correct tool to prevent stagnation is of the utmost importance. WordPress is a fantastic tool that makes website management easy and fun.
I myself can’t wait to see what the team at Automattic comes up with next.
While our team is skilled in constructing websites on any platform, many of 4CDesignWorks’ award-winning website designs were built upon open-source WordPress frameworks. If your business is interested in learning about how 4CDesignWorks can harness the power and potential of WordPress (or any website!) for YOUR business, don’t hesitate to contact us! We would love to sit down, review your company and goals and help you determine if open source is the best path for your business.
This post was written by former 4CDesignWorks developer Matt Maiorano.