Why WordPress? You might choose WordPress for a variety of reasons:
■ It’s free. Whether you’re building a simple personal blog, or a high-level business website for a Fortune 500 company, working with WordPress will cost you nothing.
■ The original b2 framework was licensed under the GPL (General Public License), and so is WordPress. The GPL allows developers the freedom to modify and redistribute the software, as long as you provide others the same freedoms. This brings several advantages, including WordPress being actively developed by its community as well as the core WordPress team.
■ It’s known for its incredibly simple 5-Minute Install.
■ There is an enormous number of WordPress resources available on the Web, including free themes and a large number of both written and video tutorials.
■ The WordPress documentation—called the Codex5—is second to none.
■ WordPress has been around for ten years, so we can rest assured that it’s here to stay, and will continue to be actively developed for years to come.
■ The WordPress team organizes community meet ups, as well as conferences called WordCamps. The meetups are more casual in nature, and generally consist of team and community members talking about everything from new features in the latest version of WordPress, to tips and tricks. WordCamps consist of lectures from both core developers and community members. To learn more, visit http://central.wordcamp.org/.
Why WordPress is Amazing
WordPress makes controlling the content of a website easy. It can be done by you, or you can train another person to do it, because the Admin area is as intuitive as it is powerful. WordPress gives you the keys to build sites easily with all the modern features that clients crave. And because WordPress is free, open source, and has fostered a giant community around it, you’ll always be in good hands. WordPress has changed the face of publishing content on the web, and we are all reaping the benefits. For all these reasons and more, we can safely say that WordPress is amazing.
Static vs. dynamic sites
Your old Geocities page? That was a static site. Your new WordPress powered site? That is a dynamic site. Dynamic sites have content that is stored in databases and pulled out and displayed as instructed by templates. This is a powerful way to build sites. It may seem complicated at first, but the flexibility offered by dynamic sites is well-worth the price.
Dynamic sites are…
•Better for designers – templates make it far easier to make global changes to a site.
•Better for developers – having content in databases allows them to get you what you need when you need it.
•Better for site managers – it puts publishing into their hands with tools meant for normal people to use.
•Better for visitors – because the site you create with it will be fantastic!
One Template, Many Pages
If you are a web designer, you’re probably already at least a little familiar with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). It’s such a beautiful concept. A single CSS file controls the design for lots of pages. So if one day you decide that your dark-red background color should be a little lighter red, you can make one little edit and cause a sweeping design change to your site (as opposed to opening hundreds of pages and making the change on each one). That’s what a CMS like WordPress does, only instead of abstracting design away, it abstracts the content away.
With a template system like WordPress, you can make a change to the template and change the way all the pages that use that template are displayed. Perhaps you want to display the date above each Post title instead of below? No problem, just change the template. In this day and age, HTML isn’t for actual content, just structuring content.
Powerful, Flexible and Extensible
You can witness the power and flexibility of the template system very easily, because WordPress allows you to quickly change the entire template you are using with just a few clicks. Find a new theme you like while browsing the web? You can upload it to your own site and activate it in seconds. All your content will then flow into this theme auto-magically! It’s a wonder to behold, but remember not to change your theme too often or your visitors will be lost and confused.
The same things that make WordPress themes flexible also make them extensible. For example, adding new content to your sidebar is likely as easy as opening your sidebar.php and adding in the new stuff. Your theme might even be widget-ready, meaning you can add, alter, or remove content and functionality from your sidebar (or any other widget-ready area) without looking at any code at all.
Key Components of a WordPress Site
There are some things that need a bit of explaining before we get much deeper. For lack of a better term, we’ll call them “components.” Components represent the main parts of a WordPress site, including the actual files that make things go, and the database that houses all of the data. Together, these two components – the files and database – generate the web pages for your site. Once generated, there are two central types of these web pages, the Admin area that only you see, and the public pages that the whole world can see. Let’s take a closer look at each of these different components.
The WordPress Database
To get WordPress installed and running, you will need to set up and configure a MySQL database. The WordPress core files don’t actually contain any of your site’s content, they merely provide the functionality required to display the content stored in the database. All of your blog posts, plugin settings, and site options are contained in the database.
Choose your poisons.
This is what the “Dashboard” of the Admin area looks like. There is lots of functionality, information, and navigation here. Fortunately it is beautifully designed, and feels natural to use after a short learning curve. The Dashboard can also be customized. Eliminate things you don’t use through a simple dropdown and check boxes. Then rearrange the “modules” by simple drag-and-drop.
The Back End
The back end of WordPress, heretofore known as the Admin area, is the part of WordPress that is seen only by you, your co-authors, and your site administrators. You view this area directly through a web browser and it is used to create and control all of the content and otherwise manage the site. This is essentially a secret hidden area which normal visitors will never see and likely don’t care about.
The Front End
The end result of these various WordPress components is the part of your site that visitors actually see and care about: the front end. The front end of your WordPress-powered site consists of all your site’s publicly available web pages. Posts, Pages, Archives, everything.
So let’s put it together and see how the front end is generated. First, the content you create in the Admin area is stored in the database. Then, the core files interact with the database to render the website for your visitors. The front end is where WordPress brings the magic together and makes it happen.
Your FrontPage / Dreamweaver days are over. WYSIWYG editors will be of no use to you while building dynamic, WordPress-powered websites. You are better than that anyway. We are going to get our hands dirty with real code, so you need to be using a real code editor.
To connect to your web server and transfer files back and forth from your computer, you’ll need some FTP software. If the program transfers files, you are good to go, but some also have swell features you may be interested in. You make the call.
The Business Benefits of WordPress
Because WordPress has built-in support for clean URLs, canonical URLs, microformats, categories and tags, and standards-based themes, it does a stellar job of optimizing sites for search engines. At the 2009 WordCamp in San Francisco, Google’s Matt Cutts explained to the audience that WordPress is the best blogging platform for search engine optimization purposes, and that choosing WordPress would be a good first step for any small business seeking to build an online presence.
17 Innovative Ways to Use WordPress to help you set up a great website
1. WordPress as a Membership Directory
2. WordPress as an E-Commerce Store
3. WordPress as a Premium Membership Site
4. WordPress as a Social Media Feed Aggregator
5. WordPress as a Musician/Band Website
6. WordPress as a Design Gallery
7. WordPress as a Podcasting Site
8. WordPress as a Review Site
9. WordPress as a Social Network
10. WordPress as a Job Board
11. WordPress as a Community News Site
12. WordPress as a Video Portal
13. WordPress as a Mobile Site
14. WordPress as a Freebie Aggregator
15. WordPress as a Twitter Clone
16. WordPress as a Magazine or News Site
17. Even More Ideas on Theming WordPress