A look at how WordPress leverages a solid foundation and community support to be the most preferred CMS, and how WordPress is the right choice for Ultra Graphics and our customers.
WordPress is a CMS (content management system) that was first created in 2003 by a limited few who wanted to streamline the website development process by “enhancing the typography”. Fast forward to 2014 and WordPress is the most powerful self-hosted blogging platform, used by millions of sites around the world – not only by basement-dwelling conspiracy theorist bloggers either, but by top companies like the New Yorker, Ebay, Best Buy, and Xerox. WordPress is completely and forever free, and is continually updated by talented developers who feel a shared responsibility for the content management system’s survival and success.
Why the popularity with web developers? In a word, community. It was a small community that first actualized the tool, but now it’s an ever-expanding community of developers and designers that push the boundaries of function and form, exploding the possibilities with each jazz-musician-named release (really – each version is named after a famous jazz musician, like Miles Davis or Ella Fitzgerald). It’s the community that develops new core features to make WordPress faster and more versatile, it’s the community that creates thousands upon thousands of themes and plugins to allow endless customization and functionality to new websites, and it’s the ever-helpful community that supports itself through updates, technical guides, and freely shared snippets of code.
Developers, however, aren’t the only users giddy with the prospect of leveraging WordPress’ power. It’s also surprisingly user friendly for those that want to not only create a site, but self manage their content. On the friendly surface, WordPress exists as a quick and easy way to start blogging. Simply start an account at wordpress.com (or download the core files to host your own installation), pick a theme, and start the endless battle for content creation. For many, the process stops there. Also for many, having the same theme as hundreds (or sometimes hundreds of thousands) of other people – granted with a few minor image and color changes – is acceptable.
But WordPress goes so much deeper than that. Hidden just beneath that five minute setup is a sea of powerful code, and a structure that hooks together web languages of html, php, and style in a mesh of development nirvana that can withstand even the heaviest of complexities. This is where the real fun starts, and this is where Ultra Graphics lives.
With the prospect and process of building a site getting easier and easier for the average user – having at their disposal many “drag and drop” services (including WordPress) that boast quick and painless websites – the need for the beyond average website grows. The saturation of do-it-yourself websites is naturally separating the professionals from the “have keyboard – will code” amateurs. The business owner that requires advanced features, top-notch usability, and modern style looks to the seasoned developer to separate themselves from the ocean of glossy buttons and rainbow color palettes. WordPress can accommodate all of these needs, while allowing the ability for the average user to manage and create their own content. It’s an Ultra Graphics developer’s job to create that structure, adhere to the web commandments of usability, speed, and device agnosticism (mobile friendly), all while packaging it in a user-friendly environment that encourages content creation.
How does WordPress facilitate such a welcome partnership with us? Harnessing the seemingly endless options for customization while providing a platform for easy content creation makes WordPress the preferred choice for our developers. Digging into the core themes and manipulating the code provides Ultra Graphics with a giant toolbox (or toy box) that allows for just about anything a professional business owner could ask for. Members only access? Piece of cake. Separate private database for internal communications or organization? Done and Done. Collaboration with social media, email campaign providers, e-commerce and search engines? There’s a plugin for that.
The customization powers alone would make WordPress the top choice for many developers, but that flexibility is enhanced by the speed at which changes can be made. WordPress sites work like a puzzle, where each piece (such as the header, body content, and footer) comes from a different source and then is cleverly assembled to create each web page, the process staying invisible to the end user. This allows for global changes only having to be done once in a template file, and that change ripples throughout the site everywhere that template is used. The same logic applies to content creation. Once the template is established (color palette, fonts, layout, etc…) the user needs only to type in content into a Microsoft Word-like editor, pepper in some images, and the finished product looks exactly like it belongs.
For most, it’s Ultra Graphics’ job to use WordPress to create the template, setup the structure, then move out of the way. We deliver a launching pad to marketers to get their own messages out to the world (and search engines), and without WordPress the task would be possible but much slower and more burdensome. Will WordPress always be the tool of choice? Ultra Graphics developers will evolve in step with the rest of the web world and will always base decisions on what will work best for our customers. Right now, it’s hard to beat the rockstar that is WordPress.
~ Dan Rickman