Is it surprising that after years of developing and implementing web sites, that I should be singing the praises of WordPress? Not really.
I first noticed WordPress as I was seeking information on a content management system I frequently implement, Microsoft SharePoint. I noticed that most of the SharePoint bloggers use WordPress. Of course SharePoint has its own blog features, so why use WP?
As it turns out, there’s much to like.
Super-simple to deploy and host.
Because it’s based in php, deploying and hosting WordPress is really just a matter of copying some files and standing up a MySQL database.
My provider, Dreamhost, (for the grand cost of appx. $10/month), also gives me a simple way to deploy as many instances as I want. Disclaimer: I don’t recommend this approach for heavy traffic sites, or if 99.99999% uptime is required, but for the small scale stuff it’s a gift.
Content managers don’t need to get technical
What makes a great content management system? One of the most important features is that users can add content without being concerned about presentation. WordPress does this very well. Once the system is set up, there’s very little that the content manager needs to do – other than add content, of course.
Although WP gained its reputation as a blogging platform, it is also an excellent way to put up small scale sites. It’s easy to structure a site so that that “Pages” make up the site structure, and “Posts” are press releases, technical articles or the like.
Presentation is separated from content
This aspect of WordPress allows you to change the look and feel, or “theme” of the site, without losing content. This is one of the most important differences between WP and old school html driven sites. All content management systems try to separate content from presentation, with varying degrees of success.
Without going into too much technical detail, WordPress gives a developer a number of ways to customize the platform, and apply those customizations to multiple sites. The most important mechanism is the Theme, which can contain not only presentation logic (to change the UI or layout of the site), but can also add functionality (such as additional administrator features).
Part of WP’s success in this area stems from how easy it is to change themes (as an admin), customize themes (designer) or create new ones (developer). Compared with a more complex CMS such as SharePoint, there’s no contest.
Taking this a step further, there’s a huge marketplace for WordPress customization. It’s possible to buy a pretty nice template for $100 or less, although you can spend a lot more for something more sophisticated which includes support.
Easy to Scale
Scaling is the key to creating high traffic sites, and WordPress is usually deployed on the LAMP stack (Linux/Apache/MySQL/Php), which makes it very straightforward to scale. If you want to create an autoscaling AWS site, here’s an example of how to do that : you can just follow the guide (some assembly required, but not much).
UPDATE: Amazon continues to add options for creating auto-scaling WordPress systems in AWS, so in the months since I wrote this post, I’ve found even easier ways to achieve this.
Other Misc. Stuff
- Open Source: WordPress is an open source project done right.
- Ubiquitous: Because WordPress in such widespread use, WordPress.org issues updates quickly when issues are found.
That’s all I have to say about this, for now! Thanks for reading.