Last month we discussed choosing the best tools for your web hosting needs. Knowing what you want to build and what purpose your website will serve can help you to select the best products and platforms before you put up the very first page.
Next, you’ll need to decide how you’ll present your unique web identity and presence to the world.
There are probably a number of people in West Michigan who remember building websites in Frontpage and Dreamweaver, software made for constructing websites and meant to make the process easier. Many people also used straight HTML code, typing out an entire website line by line.
Thankfully, there is no longer any requirement for expensive, hard to learn, and difficult to use products to build a powerful, versatile website. There are platforms available today which have simplified the webpage creation process and put the ability to manage a professional website within anyone’s reach.
One of the very first of these was WordPress. One of the most common choices for home and business website creators around the world, with more than one-quarter of the world’s website running on the company’s software.
Officially launched in 2003, even the early versions of WordPress empowered amateur website builders everywhere and led to an explosion of new sites worldwide. With it’s templated approach to web design, WordPress eliminates the need for coding and provides a simple design and build process instead.
WordPress is available for use on most web hosting platforms, which allow the software’s installation with a few choices and a couple of clicks. Once installed, simply log in to your site’s admin interface to select a theme from the hundreds of free choices included.
The theme provides the foundation for your website, creating the style, the number of columns, left vs. right layout, and many of the colors and fonts visible in the sample version. Themes are as unique as the people who use them to build beautiful sites of all styles and purposes. There are even more powerful, feature rich themes available for purchase around the web if none of the free offerings fits the need.
Once a theme is in place, entering text and placing pictures to fill in the empty spaces is easy. Typing in your website’s text is nearly as simple as creating an email, and uploading photos is not very challenging either. WordPress even includes the ability to edit photos to some degree without having to remove them and re-upload your changes.
Once the webpage has been created, a click of the Publish button can make your creation go live. Any desired changes simply require editing the text inside the admin interface and updating the site.
WordPress has many strengths which have led to its widespread adoption. Along with its user-friendly interface, the platform also makes it easy to install additional features such as the ability to display Facebook and Twitter posts on your site through the use of free or low-cost plug-ins. Similar to your phone’s Apps, plug-ins allow you to easily expand your sites abilities and features, many times with just the click of a button.
Additional expansion can be accomplished by adding products like WooCommerce, a powerful storefront which creates the ability for you to sell products on your website. With a few more choices and some simple configuration, your website can display a Buy Now button under your products and a shopping cart people can use to check out.
WordPress has many other incredible features, including the ability to act as an easy to use blogging platform. WordPress users have a never-ending selection of available tools to help them spread their unique message through regular posts, which are easy to create through the WordPress platform.
Free, easy to use, and completely customizable, the WordPress platform revolutionized website creation and management with its launch in 2003. Since then, it has become one of the standards for home and small business websites of any size and capability all around the world.
WordPress is a terrific tool, but it’s not the only one. Next month, we’ll take a look at some of the other solutions that have risen up to challenge WordPress’s hold on the website market. Join us next month as we take a look at Squarespace, Wix, and other website creation tools.
If you are considering the creation of a new website for your Grand Rapids area business or have an existing one that needs to be refreshed, please contact the CATKAM team and let us help you with the design, management, and content creation required to present a professional web presence that is compatible with the recent flood of mobile devices.