We've summarised our thinking into the following seven categories:
WordPress was initially launched in 2003 and has gone from strength-to-strength since then. It is estimated that the platform is now used to deliver 34% of websites worldwide and has a 60% market share of global content management systems. These are quite astonishing statistics that didn't just happen by chance. It is an indication of a robust product that has captured the imagination of millions of web developers and users from every corner of the planet. We regularly liaise with development houses in Europe, North America, South Africa, Asia and Australia. And they are all a joy to work with!
So, critical mass is the first reason we recommend WordPress.
WordPress is a content management system (or CMS) that is noted for its ease of use. It has a simple, intuitive dashboard from which users can write blogs and create or update web pages. Media files, including videos, can be uploaded and streamed with ease. The core code is also free.
What's not to like?
The second reason we recommend WordPress is that it makes having a web presence accessible to the many and does not restrict it to the few.
WordPress is basically a very sophisticated website editor that is evolving all the time. You don't have to have a Degree in Computer Science to create a website, although we still like to know what is going on under the bonnet! Like all software, updates to the platform occur fairly regularly and are an opportunity to release new features or fix bugs. The project is open source, which means that an army of people give up their time for nothing to develop or test the code.
A core leadership exists to guide the development and update process and they have the final say on the technical aspects of the project. This team consists of one of the founding developers, plus five lead developers and more than a dozen other core developers. The process also involves guest committees, which can focus on specific topics. Ultimately, many hundreds of volunteer developers from across the world contribute to the release of every update.
Our third reason for liking WordPress is the open source culture.
Now for the tecky bit!
WordPress is built around MySQL and PHP.
MySQL is an extremely popular and freely available open source relational database management system or RDBMS. The first release occurred in 1995 by a small Swedish company, MySQL AB, who managed the development process until 2010 when Oracle acquired the business. It is now used in many very well-known web-based applications such as Twitter and Facebook and has earned a reputation for being easy to use and very reliable.
WordPress uses MySQL to store information like account settings, user profiles, content information and comments in several joined tables. The core WordPress framework can be exapanded and developers add new tables to provide additional functionality. The database and comprising tables are stored on a server, from where the website is hosted.
PHP is the programming language used to store and retrieve this information. For this reason, PHP is called a server side programming language and it works with MySQL (where SQL stands for Structured Query Language) for querying or requesting the information that is needed to deliver the website services. PHP was first released in 1994 and has now considerably out-grown its original and very humble objective. For many years it simply evolved it wasn't until 2014 that any attempt was made to formalise a specification.
The fourth reason we like WordPress is that it is based on proven technologies.
WordPress has created an environment for third party developers to thrive. Consequently, there are now thousands of themes and plugins available that can change the look and functionality of a site without requiring expensive, bespoke code to be written.
There is probably a theme for every known use and they all can be customised to create a unique web presence. Some focus on blogging functionality, others on membership sites, or e-commerce, or even online magazines. The list just goes on and on.
Functionality can also be extended with the use of third-party plugins and again the choice available appears to know no limits. We regularly use page builder plugins with customisable widgets to create unique and wonderfully adaptive user interfaces. We are also admirers of gallery plugins to enhance the appearance of images and event management plugins that offer full box office functionality. Other plugins support the actual operation of websites and include everything from security related options to utilities to improve search engine optimisation. Again, there is probably a plugin to suit every need, although we always advice some caution as we have experienced software conflicts in the past.
The fifth reason that we love WordPress is that it can be expanded to suit most needs. And if pre-written code doesn't already exist, we can write our own!
We really believe that great websites should be well designed things of beauty that captivate and inspire visitors to the site. A lot of the themes available today have amazing, highly customisable designs that give every implementation a uniqueness.
The sixth reason for working with WordPress is the huge array of available themes that enable beautiful website to be created.
Search engines already appreciate many of the inbuilt features of WordPress. And, because it's WordPress, there are plenty of third-party plugins to enhance things still further!
The last reason we love working with WordPress is that it supports search engine optimisation.