So, my “Tools for Tuesday” posts are getting a bit more challenging for me time-wise and quality-wise.
That’s why I missed last week, actually. I was just too busy to get a good review post done and shared in time. And, I think maybe it’s time I start scaling that feature back, just a bit, to one post every other week. I hope it will let me maintain both the quality and quantity of “Tools for Tuesday” posts.
And, now that bit of house-keeping is out of the way, on with the big show!
Or, at least the main post. This week, I’m sharing something that is probably familiar to many, if not most, of my readers; WordPress. WordPress is the blogging software that I use to run this blog, not to mention my other old blog at Fantasist.net, as well as the entire site at JKHoffman.com and my wife’s site at OrganizingDecorator.com. It will also be what I use to run two other projects that I’m working on developing, Find My Photographer and Find My Decorator.
As you fellow devotees know, this past week saw the release of WordPress 3.9, but I’ve been using this free, open source software since version 1.2! Before that, I used MovableType like many early bloggers, but with their “great license debacle”, many of us jumped ship and found our way to WordPress. I know one reason I, personally, chose to go that route was because the lead developer of the project is Matt Mullenweg, who happens to hail from Houston, where I live currently. I liked the idea that I might run into him at one of the local computer groups that were around at the time. I never did, but I did go to DEF*CON with someone he used to play in a band with back in 2012.
In any case, I’ve used WordPress for a long time, especially in “internet years”.
Back in the day, it was really only a blogging platform, but it was super easy to setup and maintain. And, perhaps more importantly to me, especially back then, it was easy to extend. I haven’t written any plugins lately, but WordPress is so easy to use and code for that even I could write add-ons for it. I’ve even done some pretty significant modification of themes, and anyone who knows me knows that I’m about as far from a designer as you can get.
Since those early days, though, WordPress has really grown up! Now, not only can it handle simple blogging, but it can run your whole site. There are detractors, of course, who say that it’s not really a full-featured content management system, but they’re wrong. WordPress has built-in features that make running an entire site easy, like the ability to set a static home page and super-simple page management. Add to that a completely customizable appearance through themeing, limited only by the designer’s vision and ability and you can see why WordPress runs about 19% of the internet and has been downloaded at least 46 million times. But, what’s even better is that there are so many people doing add-on development in one for or another that there is a theme, widget or plug-in that will pretty much do anything else you could want that’s not already rolled in. And that’s really saying something because WordPress “ships” with a pretty robust gallery and media management system already rolled into it. Other important features include good, reasonably secure user management, a commenting system and an easy to use interface. Granted, the interface is always being worked on and improved, so it’s always changing, but it’s never been a distraction for me.
Other features include autosave, spell check, automatic upgrading, built-in plugin installation, sticky posts, comment threading/paging/replies, bulk management of posts and comments, image editing, a Trash/Undo feature, bulk plugin and theme updating, a multi-site option allowing multiple custom blogs to be run from the same installation, it comes in at least 70 languages and it’s even pretty optimized for search engines! But, it think what matters most to me is that WordPress has a huge community around it, supporting it going forward, developing for it and making it better, even though it’s free. I can download the latest version of this beauty any time I want, install it on the webserver of my choosing, and make my voice heard on the internet. I can build with it or I can build on it to make it do whatever I need or want and anything I create with it is all mine. No one owns a piece of it and, as long as I write my own posts and pages, I keep and maintain all rights to all the data that I shove into it. That’s pretty incredible when you think about it.
And, yes, it really is easy to install and use, so if you’re thinking about starting a website, I highly recommend using WordPress to do it. Don’t listen to the nay-sayers that claim WordPress isn’t up to the task either, because a lot of really incredible websites use WordPress. You can check some out at the WordPress Showcase. You might be surprised at some of the high-profile sites that you have already been to that use WordPress! All that power can be yours, too, if you just take the time to download, install and use WordPress!