Goliath in web development. This is also how we can look at the open source CMS WordPress, which was first released back in 2003. In this article, you'll learn what exactly WordPress is, what benefits and features it offers, and what its target audience looks like.
What is Wordpress?
According to Wikipedia, WordPress is „a free open source content publishing system written in PHP and MySQL and developed under the GNU GPL license„.
Originally primarily a blogging platform, it is now a comprehensive web development tool that is used as a CMS on 33% of the world's websites, according to official statistics. WordPress has come such a remarkable distance in almost 20 years and its popularity is still growing.
Distinctive features of WordPress
WordPress did not get to the absolute top of the CMS by chance. It has gained popularity through continuous improvements that have made it a highly superior content management system suitable for a wide range of projects.
The basic features of WordPress include:
- open source code, which anyone can help with further development,
- adherence to XML, XHTML and CSS standards,
- a number of integrated tools including a media gallery and a link manager,
- support for appearance themes, function blocks and plugins to extend functionality,
- the ability to add tags for better navigation,
- support for trackbacks and pingbacks,
- possibility to create a hierarchy of pages,
- presence of a search engine (searches within the site),
- easy formatting of texts using a typographic filter,
- Embed format support (embedding external content),
- support for user accounts with different permission levels.
WordPress templates are tools for changing the layout and design of websites. They customize the look and feel of a website, including layout, typography, colors, and other design elements. Technically, every website on WordPress must have a template installed and activated.
Where to get WordPress templates?
Thanks to templates, changing the look of your site is easy and lightning fast (just activate it and it will take effect immediately). A large number of relatively high quality templates can be found in the so-called WordPress repository - they are available for free, but often they are freemium versions (some functionalities will only become operational after paying the license fee).
Quality WordPress templates are also available as paid templates on online marketplaces such as ThemeForest or on developers' websites (e.g. ElegantThemes.com).
Another way to customize the look of your WordPress site is to use the builder. Among the most famous is Elementor.
A WordPress plugin is software that "plugs in" to a website and adds new or extends existing functionality. This makes it possible to build virtually any kind of website - from e-stores to portfolios to catalog sites.
In the context of using WordPress, plugins are an extremely important element. They bring key functionality to the site, whether it's contact forms, improving technical SEO, increasing site speed, creating an online store or newsletter sign-up options. With the right plugin, a site can be transformed to perfectly fulfill a specific purpose.
Just like the templates, the plugins are also available as free downloads in the WordPress repository and as paid downloads on the developers' websites
Benefits of WordPress
You don't need to be proficient in programming to manage your WordPress website. No coding knowledge is required - the CMS allows administrators to upload new content, track data and add new features without any problems. With an intuitive interface and drag-and-drop system, editing and maintaining Wordpress is easy.
Huge amount of plugins
The sheer number of plugins is staggering - there are currently more than 45,000 available, covering almost every conceivable feature. Whether you want to analyze site performance or improve SEO, you won't leave empty-handed. And what's even better? Website owners can add these features without having to code.
SEO helps businesses fight for top positions in organic search results. However, some website owners struggle with creating effective meta descriptions and tags. WordPress makes this task easier. For example, it helps pinpoint the most common words and phrases that can serve as keywords. With WordPress, making your platform visible in search is much easier than with competing CMSs.
Most templates are responsive, which makes WordPress an ideal candidate for access from mobile devices. Most users today surf the internet using mobile devices, so optimizing for UX is key. With a well-chosen responsive template, there is no need for further investment in a separate website.
Large community and open source
Open-source means you don't have to start coding from scratch. Developers can use, modify, study and share the finished code. Thanks to the GPLv2 license, a significant number of templates and plugins are free.
Despite the general flexibility of WordPress, some tasks, such as updating the core, can be a problem for someone without coding knowledge. Running more complex sites requires some knowledge, although it is still more user-friendly than many competing CMSs.
As WordPress is an open source system, it is potentially vulnerable to cyber attacks. Therefore, it is crucial to choose templates and plugins carefully, as well as not underestimating the importance of setting a secure password.
Website owners should update their plugins and templates regularly. Unfortunately, the more plugins WordPress uses, the more often compatibility issues arise. Updates can also cause some plugins to stop working. So make sure you back up all your data before updating.
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