Web Design

Why I choose WordPress for content management

Why content management? If you think about it, every website involves content management, whether you’ve got a site created using hand-typed HTML, or you’re using an application like Adobe Dreamweaver, or you’re using a web-based CMS like WordPress. The question is not whether you’re going to use content management for your website, but what content management you’re going to use.

I’ve used all three methods. After 16 years of making websites, I prefer to use a web-based CMS like WordPress.

In November 1995 I launched my first web page, called the Happy Page.

Yes, it looks awful. But this was back in 1995 and Al Gore had barely been released from the delivery room for giving birth to the Information Superhighway. There were few WYSIWYGeditors back then and they all were so UN-WYSIWYG that they were useless. The only way to make reliable websites was to write HTML from scratch. That was it.

I appreciate the early days of hand-coding HTML because I actually learned to write in HTML, something I wouldn’t have done with a WYSIWYG editor. I also don’t think I would have followed the progession of HTML to XHTML to HTML5 (or CSS3 and JavaScript for that matter) had I not started working on websites back when everything had to practically be done by hand.

Years later I saw the first usable WYSIWYG editors, including Adobe Dreamweaver (Macromedia Dreamweaver at the time), Microsoft FrontPage, and Adobe Pagemill.
Something these WYSIWYG editors allowed was for you to set up templates where the same items like the header and footer could repeat on different pages. This beat the previous method of copying and pasting code from page to page, allowing me to concentrate on the content more.

From 2001-2005 I blogged a lot using a web-based CMS called Blogger. Afterwards, I switched to WordPress because Blogger didn’t handle publishing to my hosting server very well. I needed something like WordPress that would dynamically generate my pages and manage my content. While WordPress was great for managing content, it seemed at first difficult to make themes or templates for. While I knew how to make a few styling changes with CSS, I couldn’t figure out how to make WordPress sites look more like a website and less like a blog without intensive coding that would often break. In 2008 I built my first WordPress theme from scratch, and while I enjoyed the learning experience, I felt it took much longer than it should have.

With the release of WordPress 3.x, I’ve seen WordPress evolved from being a blogging platform to being a real content management system. It’s my system of choice, given the pros and cons of other notable platforms like Drupal and Joomla.

In the last few months, I’ve built five websites using WordPress, many involving conversion where an existing site is replaced with a new site using WordPress for CMS. I’ve clocked myself and discovered I’m able to develop from bare content to a customized live site in less than eight hours. That’s impressive – not on my part – but on WordPress’ part.

So why do I use WordPress? Because I’ve got to manage my content somehow. I think WordPress’ usability, flexibility and reliability make it the best choice.

What content management system do you use for your website? Do you like it? Please leave your comments below.