Over the last few years Word Press has grown from simple to use CMS to something much bigger and functional. Its original intention was to be user friendly, flexible (as much as that is possible for a CMS, not framework) and to be used by many not so experienced internet users. Word Press works basically with themes that you can choose or create yourself. Until recently the themes for WP were a little bit limiting in terms of positioning of objects, columns control and flexibility.
That has changed when independent companies created frameworks for WP themes. Some of them are: Genesis, Thematic, Thesis etc each with its unique possibilities. Using these frameworks WP allows us to create basically any kind of theme, structure and layout. This gives it a big advantage over the other CMS out there.
It is important to know the difference between CMS & Framework. The CMS has limited functionality and the only way to extend it is by using plugins. But sometimes this is not enough to achieve your goals and programming a plugin is not that easy. Where from other hand the Framework (such as Zend, CakePHP, CodeIgniter, Drupal etc.) gives you the option to create your own modules using the Frameworks functions. That makes it much more flexible and open to customization.
Ease of use for editors
Word Press has thought of this part pretty well. Although WP basic package comes with only several user level permissions there are some very powerful custom plugins which could be written/integrated to allow very detailed assignment of rights in the system. You can specify what to be visible for a specific user and what he can do with the visible part (edit only, delete or add etc.):
Basically with a little touch this functionality can be very flexible and manageable. Each editor can be trained how to use only for what he has right to do on the site. This will minimize the time for team training (there for training costs).
WordPress and Social Networks
Wordpress built to bring people together? It works well to enable people with similar interests to connect and communicate. Some of the fantastic uses might be:
• A campus wide social network for your university, school or college. • An internal communication tool for your company. • A niche social network for your interest topic. • A focused social network for your new product.
This is concerning turning WP into a social network. But when talking about integration of WP with other leading social networks things get even more exiting.
WP works extremely well when it comes to publishing news from it directly to another website via RSS feeds and it makes it possible for whole profiles to be customized which are controlled from another server with separate functionality, like a separate WP site allowing a whole new administration.
When there is a need to create a networks of websites easy to configure, support and save time and resources – WordPress is our buddy. The multisite functions which WP presents us with, allows us to configure more than 1 website in the frames of 1 WP installation. When we want to catch bigger percentage of the market with different versions of WP MU it helps us manage all the process and also control mobile devices, social networks and others.
What does make WordPress the tight tool for you?
• You get the software for free and if you can use it right most of the extra features can be for free. Even the design can be generated for free. Of course it is only the basic situation. If you want a professional solution made with WP it will cost you some money, but the results will be more then satisfying. • You get the software on English, but it can be easily adapted and localized to any other language – both in the back and front end. • You get easy and useful interface for publication of any kind of content – video, audio, text, images, iframes and whatever you want. • You get to express your ideas - WordPress doesn’t have many limitations in terms of content publica-tion unlike some other software. • You can use WP for blog, as a platform for multisite, as corporate website, as CMS, as business card, as portfolio, as e-commerce website, as catalog.
Word Press development time
WP has many advantages for creating pretty nice and intermediate website with big volume of content. More time consuming here is the design integration and coding of custom theme using WP theme framework. It is good to be used if the structure is clear, if you don’t have too many different pages (in terms of layout and design). Also it is more difficult to implement custom solutions and non-standard functionality in it.
It is a fast way to create more simple websites, but integration of any custom functionality and more complicated features takes longer time. Then the so called Widgets have to be created. They allow easy to control “boxes” in the back-end in which you can drop any plugin you want and place it on any given place of the layout in the front-end. After all that is done it becomes easy and fast for management. Here is a sample of how a widget page looks like in the back-end:
Word Press security issues
Security is an interesting topic, with a lot of shades of gray. Word Press developers take security very seriously, but as with any other system, there are potential security issues that may arise and there are always trade offs when balancing security and convenience.
• Word Press could have vulnerabilities as a result of how the program is written that allow an attacker to pass HTTP arguments, bad URI strings, form input, etc, that could cause Bad Things to happen. • Always try to be up to date with the latest version of WP (in each new version many of the exploits and bugs are fixed and older hacks do not work there) • Take regular backups of your site and Database • There is a way to be safe at all times by using a plugin for WP “Ultimate Security Checker” which will regularly update its self and alert you of the latest threats.
The conclusion is that with each newer version WP is more secure and removes known issues and protects its customers better. A big responsibility however lies with the owner of the site to take care of security of his server, folders and permissions and also of updating WP. There are ways to make WP-admin much safer and it is recommended to put .htaccess protection over the wp-admin folder.
Word Press has very well optimized code for SEO. It also uses great SOE modules for inserting all kind of meta-data information. It has search engine friendly URLs and can help a great deal in website optimization. Especially if you are using one of the Frameworks.
WP is not that developed in the area of social media. It has some basic level development for this purpose, but here other Frameworks have the advantage, especially Drupal.
Mobility – Here WP is no different than all the other CMS. It has some settings that have to be set in order to move it around. But it stores data with relevant paths which helps the moving process a lot. Although most of the times you will have to install all your plugins all over again on the other server, which may take some time. Also all information or images that those plugins carry with it will have to be put in place again.
General Wordpress advantages:
Wordpress SEO – Extremely good “onpage” optimization and very good add-ons for WP MU. Rich arsenal of plugins and tools for great SEO results.
Wordpress eCommerce – Ability to convert WP into well working e-commerce platform on website level, as well as on social network level (social market BP), many different online payment portals and systems.
Wordpress Membership – this is a very interesting WP feature and plugin which allows us to give different access level to users and make them members of our websites with limited rights. It is very good for torrents websites or any other websites with content limitations.
Mobile devices Here WP is no different than any other CMS. You just need to code the right CSS for a mobile page to be visualized correctly for all mobile devices.
Мulti-language-support – WP has some good language support plugins, but it is not as powerful as Drupal for example. Sometimes you need a little bit of training before you can work freely with WP Multilanguage plugins.
Front-end editing – This part is also not very strong for WP. It’s latest versions are trying to do something similar, but for now Drupal is much ahead on this subject.
Media file handling - it has perfect integration of various files, plugins and modules. It supports integration with all the big video portals, video & image galleries. WP also has some very powerful galleries already in its original installation/packaging.
WorsPress is a wonderful CMS with which you can present your ideas to the public. The basic directives of WP is to be beautiful, useful and with connections with the latest web standards. WordPress is both free and at the same time priceless.
Add to all that the freedom to organize your content and design the way you see it, which will save you time and money.
A website done from scratch with custom solution/CMS can take months to finish and still it will not be as flexible as a system on which are working people around the world. In WP it can be done in days and a custom solution would never be as save and secure as WP.
Overall WP is a powerful, having in mind that it is not a framework, but a CMS. It has a lot of options and ways to make things happen. It still has some limitations for more custom approaches and solutions. That’s why there are more advanced CMS/Frameworks like Drupal, Django, RoR etc. to help us achieve what is very diffi-cult to do from scratch with a custom CMS solution or with WP. But these other approaches are for something really extraordinary since WP can handle almost anything if it is in the right hands.