1. WordPress – Sites Made Simple – Or Complex

    Wordpress web design - you need it

    If you are looking for a tutorial on how to build a WordPress site, this may not be a great article for you. On the other hand, if you want a quick overview of how WordPress has become one of the web’s most popular site platforms, read on.

    I develop many different types of sites, and my web development background is a variegated menagerie of technologies, all chosen for some reason or another, but the web has come a long way since I started playing around with HTML in the 90’s. In all this time very few CMS (content management systems) have had the impact that WordPress has had, and its appeal to web developers of all skill levels is something unique indeed. WordPress has proven itself to be a solid platform for a site, with the flexibility to run right out of the box with hardly any modification, or undergo extensive custom development and personalization.

    The Hardest Part of a Web Project

    In the good ol’ days, a custom web project required building a back-end system that allowed the non-developer site admin to edit or add content. Creating this system from scratch was a bear of a task, requiring all of the forms, logins, database interactions, error handling and other admin functionality to be designed and coded from the ground up, which took hours and hours of development time. All of the time (and money) was spent building this low-level functionality, while the cool stuff that could have been added to the public-facing web pages was sidelined. This made these types of sites cost-prohibitive for small businesses and only available to large corporate firms or other deep-pocket clients. Well, systems like WordPress have changed all of that. Not only is the core system free, most of the add-ons available are free and offer solid solutions to most any website requirements like mailing list signups, social media integration, video and audio presentation, and much more. All of the low-level stuff is built-in! No need to hire a team of developers for 300 hours to build a bunch of stuff nobody will ever see. This brings us to the next question…

    Why is WordPress Free?

    WordPress is an ‘Open-Source’ piece of software, which means it allows users to access the core code and modify it or develop their own contributions to it freely. But wait, you say—Anyone and everyone can access the files on my site and change them?? No…it means the software, once in a developer’s possession, can be modified and customized as needed for THEIR application. The core code of WordPress is maintained and updated by the ‘official’ team of developers that contribute to the project. All changes to the core are evaluated and verified before they make it into a ‘release’ or update of the core framework. This keeps the system more secure and up-to-date since there are thousands (probably hundreds of thousands) of expert eyes on the code. Any weakness or inefficiency in the code is sniffed out and optimized. This is a HUGE benefit of the project being ‘Open-Source’.

    So Why Should a Small Business Use WordPress?

    Here is a brief (by no means complete) list of reasons:

    1. It’s Free
    2. It supports user-friendly content edits and updates – it’s simple to update
    3. It has a very flexible and customizable theming system (for visual design)
    4. Most web designers and developers know the system and how to build upon it.
    5. It’s Free (this is worth mentioning twice)
    6. It runs on the most common web server platform (Apache/PHP/MySQL)
    7. There are zillions of free plug-ins and add-ons created by pro developers
    8. It has very good built-in SEO and can be made even better with free plug-ins
    9. WordPress can be custom programmed to accommodate nearly any website requirement
    10. It doesn’t require a huge investment in proprietary hardware or software.

    Why Should a Large Corporation Use WordPress?

    Read the list above – all of those reasons are valid for big companies, but there are some other reasons that may also apply:

    1. WordPress supports ‘multi site’ functionality, or sites-within-sites.
    2. The system is used by many notable companies, such as CNN, Reuters, Forbes, New York Times, Ebay, GM
    3. Sites can grow to hundreds of thousands of pages with no problem
    4. Tons of people use it, and there are answers for most every problem
    5. WordPress sites are more secure than many large-scale corporate systems, and can be made even more secure.
    6. WP offers multiple admin roles, which means varying access levels for different users or departments
    7. It doesn’t require a huge investment in proprietary hardware or software.

    I could go on, but I’m not here to dote on WordPress….well maybe a little, but only because it’s truly a fantastic platform for designing and building websites. From the very simple to the infinitely complex, WP can handle most anything you throw at it, and it just keeps getting better.

    For WordPress development services, drop me an email or a phone call and let’s talk about how WordPress can save you time, money and boost your online presence.

  2. SOPA Makes Red Very Sad

    Internet Marketing Director Red - Very sad about SOPA/PIPA

    In a (misguided) attempt to thwart online piracy, our friends on the Hill have come up with a frighteningly overreaching bill that will give content providers and their legal eagles far too much control over what goes on the web. I don’t need to explain the whole bill – you can read all about it here. I just want to pile on the opposition to it.

    SOPA + PIPA = Slippery Slope?

    If this bill passes, the legal fiasco(s) that will ensue will be such a mess that the internet as we know it will slide into the abyss of censorship, financial warfare and corporate control. In other words, once things start sliding down the slope, the mess will be far-reaching and can’t help but hurt us in ways that don’t really help the situation they are ‘trying’ to fix (piracy/intellectual property rights,etc…)

    They Just Haven’t Caught Up Yet

    Even With all of the intellectual firepower at hand on this globe of ours, the entertainment industry just has not been able to figure out a way to protect their goodies, which has created a divide in the world of finance and the world of entertainment. There’s an ‘old guard’ and a new one, which boils down to one side has embraced the new economy and ‘gets it’, while the other side is so bogged down in the old ways and their corporate minutia, they can’t get a foothold on this new system. So what do they do? Of course, create ridiculous legal spiderwebs to catch and sue the violators…which will affect us all in the end.

    Don’t support it, tell your rep you hate SOPA/PIPA and tell your friends who don’t know about it. Awareness is an amazing tool when used correctly.