What is WordPress?
WordPress is a content management system which is ideally suited to publishing blogs. It is an open source development which is available completely free and while the basic package allows you to set a visual theme, create pages for your blog and add pictures there are various optional widgets and add-ons which make WordPress extremely versatile. It first appeared in 2003 and has fast become the application of choice for bloggers because it is so easy to use and writers require no knowledge of HTML or PHP in order to create blogs.
Installation (5 out of 5)
You can host your blog directly on WordPress.com or host it on your own domain by downloading the blogging platform from WordPress.org. Once you have some web space and a domain name it is incredibly easy to get started with WordPress. You can download the package from the WordPress website for free, the latest version is 2.7. The installation is a breeze and shouldn’t take longer than five minutes and there is plenty of documentation to get you started. There are also thousands of additional plug-ins and themes that you can download for use with your blog. WordPress is updated fairly frequently but installing new versions is generally very easy and further development continues to improve the application.
WordPress Look (5 out of 5)
The WordPress layout is a classic blog style with a header for the website name and image banner, then there’s a central column for the body of articles with columns on the left or right or both depending on your preferences. WordPress features a number of widgets you can turn on or off and they can be ordered as you see fit. For example you can easily add a list of website links to your side column, show recent articles or popular tags, or divide your articles into categories. The layout is extremely customisable and in addition to dictating how many posts will appear on the front page and how big the header will be you can select from a wide range of template themes. The basic package comes with a limited choice but you’ll find thousands of user created themes online so you’re bound to be able to find something that suits you. Some themes offer a basic palette change and others transform the visual look of the blog entirely, it can be fun to experiment and there is no lack of choice.
Features (4 out of 5)
The best feature of WordPress is the visual editor which allows you edit your text, add pictures or video content and basically lay out your page as you want it. This is then automatically formatted into HTML and you can check the HTML by selecting the tab. For users with no HTML knowledge the fact you can edit in a simple interface and preview how the post will look is a big draw. When articles are created they automatically post on the front page of your blog and each can also be found on a dedicated page so you can link directly to individual posts from other websites. Each post can be assigned multiple categories or tags which help surfers to find your content.
There is a built in comment system which can be configured by the blog owner and allows people to post comments on your article, it is recommended you check these regularly and approve them or delete them because this resource is often exploited by spammers. WordPress also has built-in Trackback and Pingback which notifies you when someone else has linked to a specific post. This is a very handy feature.
Plug-Ins (5 out of 5)
Since WordPress is open source there are countless other plug-ins available which extend the functionality and so it is worth spending some time exploring them. Some of the most popular plug-ins allow you to collect statistics on your blog visitors, automatically optimize your blog for the search engines and create sitemaps for Google but there are many more options out there. The WordPress website has a specific Plug-in directory so you can search for useful plug-ins to suit you.
Overall (5 out of 5)
If you are looking to start up a new blog then WordPress is an excellent choice. In addition to being easy to use for people with no web development experience you can also create multiple accounts so it is easy to run a blog with multiple writers. The text editor is very easy to get to grips with, the visual themes are attractive and varied, it is easy to install and update, the choice of plug-ins seems to be endless and best of all it is completely free.