Web design is such a sordid business these days. As a business owner or manager you have a plethora of options at your disposal. You can do it yourself, choose a web builder, go with a company like Squarespace or GoDaddy and basically fill in the blanks to build a database driven website that generally is attractive, meets design standards for the most part and gives you some functionality. Or you can hire a designer to create your website. The latter is by far the most expensive but you will usually have the best results.
There are also options like WordPress.com or Tumblr. These are more oriented towards bloggers and they are pretty effective as far as creating a functional site that is standards based, these sites are still pretty low key in the functionality department. If you are wanting functionality there are a lot of plugins and modules that can be added if you have the “know how”. This still is probably not a simple task for a non-designer/coder so you have to be careful as installing bad code can crash your site or worse, make it unsecure for your visitors. I won’t go into the damage that security issues can cause to your site, your business, as well as the financial implications of a security breach, that is for another article.
Let’s talk about WordPress
WordPress is the #1 rated Content Management System/Blogging System in the world at the time of this article. As of August 2013 WordPress was used as the platform of choice with top websites on the internet. Nearly 20% of the top one million websites on the internet are built on WordPress. You should understand that there are basically two flavors of WordPress. There is the pre-built, hosted WordPress at WordPress.com and then there is the WordPress.org version. WordPress.com though good is still somewhat watered down and the security restrictions do not allow you to really experiment with the nearly 30, 000 plugins that are offered on WordPress.org.
My personal preference is to work with the downloadable version of WordPress from the.org site. Some of the most beautiful and functional sites on the internet are built on this platform. Honestly, I know I am sounding a bit like a “Homer” for WordPress, but frankly if you would have asked me about WordPress a year ago, I would have said don’t bother, it sucks.
However, I started thinking there must be a reason that WordPress is so popular. The conclusion I came to after about six months of work on several different sites, was that WordPress is really pretty cool. I find that most of the plugins work pretty well. Which is unusual for an open source platform, as well support for the platform and plugins is exceptional. I have built some pretty cool sites in the past year both for personal and professional use. WordPress is easy to use for the end-user and plays well with most extensions and plugins.