WordPress Logo

WordPress is an extremely popular free open source system, which allows you to create a Website or blog within minutes.

Up to, and including, WordPress 2.9, WordPress was considered a blogging platform.  An easy way to run a blog, with various tools made available.  However, version 3 changed all of this, and now it has become a fully-fledged Content Management System (CMS).

At the last estimate, it was believed that 12% of websites have been created using WordPress.  This includes everything from a cat's homepage to Downing Street, though the former is probably of more interest.

There are two flavours to WordPress, .com & .org - both have dedicated forums and a community of users who can help with any problems you may have.

Ideal for a simple blog with no requirement for hosting or uploading your own themes & plugins. This allows you to sign up for a free WordPress website with an address such as 'impstv.wordpress.com', and gives you access to some themes & plugins.
Later you can convert to a 'proper' domain name but at a price.

This is the site for those who want to have full control over their website.  From here you can download the latest version of the software, as well as a large number of free themes & plugins.  There are over 15,000 free plugins and 1,400 themes.
You can buy a domain name from anywhere, but it is easiset to buy from your hosting company to save messing about with DNS settings and extra passwords and log-ins.

I chose to use WordPress rather than Dreamweaver on a recent project because:

  • the two owners were interested in uploading and editing their own content but had no Web design experience or software (WordPress allows you to assign a number of editors different levels of control simply via a browser such as Chrome or Firefox)>
  • wanted an image sider on the homepage (built-in for some themes, and sadly removed during an update from this one in the hope that I would buy WooSlider for $49 - or $79 for up to 5 sites)
  • welcomed comments and feedback on their products (feedback can be moderated via email prior to posting)
  • were on a tight budget (free hosting, free software and fairly quick to design using pre-existing theme with just a few tweaks)
  • it was felt likely that the site might need to support eCommerce within a year or two (WordPress has some great free eCommerce options such as woocommerce, wp e-commerce and more).

Since then I have created a small e-commerce site at www.adrianboswell.com for the ease of set up with woo-commerce and the woo storefront theme.

Themes & Plugins
Themes are basically Cascading Style Sheets together with some graphics that combine to give your WordPress site a unique look & feel. Plug-ins provide extra functions such as twitter feeds or tumblr post importers. There are many places where such as Wix or Hellopages where you can create a free site, but they often give you a very generic look & feel or have limitations.

You have the choice of either using the free options which are available or, if using the self-hosted .org version, you can also purchase premium themes & plugins. Most of these are priced low enough to make them worth buying to experiment. Dreamweaver CS5.5 and later can edit themes to make them unique to your site.

To buy themes, try Premium WP, which lists all of the top premium themes. At Theme Forest you will find a large number of themes, and you can easily get help & support by those who created them. The reviewing process on Theme Forest is very tough, so you know that if you buy a theme from there, it will do as it claims.

For plugins Code Canyon (part of the same website as Theme Forest) has a large number of quality plugins with good support from their developers.

Since version 3 of WordPress, Multisite has been included (up to version 2.9, this was a separate download called WordPress Mu).  Multisite allows you to install a single version of WordPress, and then allow you to run multiple sites. You can either do this for yourself, or you can allow members of your site to have a free WordPress themselves, in the same way as WordPress.com

BuddyPress (www.buddypress.org)
If you need to run your own social network, try BuddyPress.  Members of your site will be able to share information, make friend requests, create groups and much more within the membership, but without the distractions and risks associated with an unrestricted network such as Facebook.
Great for potentially vulnerable groups such as children.

Further information
The following links will help you to understand more about WordPress:

CreativePro WordPress tutorial - Using Dreamweaver for WordPress
part 1, part 2,
part 3

The WordPress Codex
The Codex is the encyclopedia of all things WordPress. It is the most comprehensive source of information for WordPress available.

The Development Blog
This is where you'll find the latest updates and news related to WordPress. Bookmark and check often.

WordPress Planet
The WordPress Planet is a news aggregator that brings together posts from WordPress blogs around the web.

WordPress Support Forums
If you've looked everywhere and still can't find an answer, the support forums are very active and have a large community ready to help. To help them help you be sure to use a descriptive thread title and describe your question in as much detail as possible.

WordPress IRC Channel
Finally, there is an online chat channel that is used for discussion among people who use WordPress and occasionally support topics. The above wiki page should point you in the right direction. (irc.freenode.net #wordpress)

They provide a free pdf guide to creating a WordPress Website along with several other guides available just through free registration. Sign up!

To use the Wordpress.org system requires using a hosting company that provides some database support such as MySQL (you don't need to actually do anything with the database except through the WordPress interface).

Some hosts that include support:

  • freehostia (free and set up with a single click!). NB free account has a file limit of 500k and does not allow WordPress contact forms - their cheapest paid account removes those limitations.
  • easyspace.com starterplus is £3.99pcm
  • evohosting.co.uk

To improve your Google friendliness my friend and WP theme creator Joe Jenkins recommends that you set your Permalink preferences (in Site Admin > Options) using Custom Structure to /%category%/%postname%/

Joe is available at very reasonable rates to assist with any WordPress issues.

edublogs.org is a WordPress resource for educators.

nice wordpress themes

showy   circlus     worktopia    cascade     me