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The Pros and Cons of WordPress - A Flag Tech Talk Lecture

This Flag Tech Talk lecture outlines some basic info about WordPress, asks key questions on whether it's right for you, and discusses the positive and negative aspects of this open source software.
by

Joseph Bodin

on 28 March 2013

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Transcript of The Pros and Cons of WordPress - A Flag Tech Talk Lecture

The Pros
& Cons of WordPress ABOUT
WORDPRESS CHOOSE BETWEEN
WORDPRESS.com vs WORDPRESS.org SEARCHABILITY WordPress began as a "Blogging" tool in 2003. The idea was to create an easy way for people to create a web based place to post articles and have an online conversation. It was originally meant for Blogging!

Since then, it has evolved into a full blown "Content Management System (CMS)" that allows people to create a templated website that includes pages, blog postings, and tons of plug-in features. It is now the most popular "blogging system" on the web.

One of the key features of WordPress is that it is "Open Source" in nature. What this means is that unlike most software, the code has been left open and available for any developer to put in their own personal touches. This has allowed a rush of unprecedented design expansion. There are two versions of WordPress.
Which is right for you? Articles/Writings Make WordPress Searchable Flag Tech Talk Presented by Joe Bodin of Reliable Web Designs WordPress.com is a fully "hosted" version where you log in right into their website. All of the files and content you add are on their servers. They do all of the software upgrades, file backups, and security. They provide the basic CMS platform with limited usage at no cost. There are just over 200 templates to choose from, you can't modify how it works in any way, and you can't load plug-ins. In general you are using the options they give you. This is great for the novice user, but is limiting over time.

WordPress.org is essentially "software" that they provide as a basic platform. You download it, put it on "your own server" account, and can then customize it in any way that you choose. It is completely "open source" so you can change the code, choose from thousands and thousands of templates designers have created, add thousands of plug-ins and widgets, and can really adapt it to whatever your needs. It is very versatile, a bit glitchy, and you will be responsible for running it. Thus, this is a better tool for most businesses, but does require some professional maintenance. SETUP WORDPRESS.COM The setup for WordPress.com is fairly straightforward. You go onto the website and follow the sign-up process. It will guide you through a "wizard" that will create your account and then walk you through adding all of your pages and postings. It is fairly user-friendly and does not take a professional to set it up.

Once setup, you can login at any time and add things into your site. It is fairly limited in its options and has a basic control panel that walks you through all the steps. WordPress.com is fairly easy to use, but also limited in scope. SETUP WORDPRESS.ORG The setup for WordPress.org is much more complicated, but well worth the trouble depending on your needs. 1. Create a Server Account (requires your own hosting)
2. Signup with Wordpress.org & Download the Software
3. Create a Database on your Server Account
4. Upload the WordPress Software/Files on your Server
5. Customize the WebConfig File (this is web coding)
6. Log into your new WordPress Control Panel
7. Design your own site (template, pages, plug-ins, ...)
8. Do your own Backups, Upgrades, & Security. WordPress.org has lots of steps to set it
up, but you get the full power it provides. TEMPLATE VS
CUSTOM DESIGN The first question you need to ask yourself when deciding what type of site you to get should be, "Is WordPress right for me?"

WordPress is all about Templates! Granted there are tons to choose from, but things are very columnated and standardized. When someone looks at a website done in WordPress, it is fairly clear almost immediately that this platform was used. It is true that with a lot of design skills, a WordPress site can become almost anything. But, the majority of them have a similar look.

So, the real question becomes, "Do I want a Templated Website or should I have one Custom HTML Site Designed to suite my needs?" Design Pros & Cons! Is WordPress
Right for You? If
WordPress
is right,
then... DO I REALLY NEED/WANT
LOTS OF UPDATES & CHANGE? If you are building a "website" to market a business or organization, then you need to ask yourself how often you will really need or want to make updates to it. A professional website should be strong to start with and then have select "interactive places" to make changes and announcements like highlight boxes or latest news sections. The whole site should not change all the time... It should be very strong and essentially timeless!

WordPress allows you (the website owner) to change practically anything at any time. That's a lot of POWER and TEMPTATION... Remember, it is designed to encourage you to write things like articles and add new ideas and sections. If you don't like to write or don't write well, then WordPress might not be for you.

If a website is not maintained professionally, then IT DEGRADES OVER TIME. It gets sloppier and less organized until it no longer really represents you well. A custom made HTML website is a fairly finished product. A WordPress site is a great medium if you are a writer, have a lot to say, and/or really do have constant change in what you do. So, you have to ask yourself which suites your needs. Be careful of too much change! WordPress websites aren't the best when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). When you make "webpages" in WordPress, you are a bit limited to how much you can really prepare it for Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc... There are things that can be done to make your SEO better, but you have to work at that a little. It isn't automatically in there.

On the other hand, if you like to write lots of articles, announcements, quotes, ... and really use WordPress as it was intended, then it can be incredibly searchable. The more you write, the more every word of your text gets out there... It is "News" and because it is changing and being added to constantly, it can be an amazing way to get out on the Internet.

If you like to Write/Post, then WordPress is great for the Search Engines. If you don't, then you should consider if a straight HTML website would be better so that it is prepared "for you" to get the most SEO possible. RSS FEED OPTIONS RSS (or Really Simple Syndication) is a process that allows you to "feed" information from one web based format into another. Most "Blogs" are done in RSS format and all WordPress sites do work this way as well.

What this means is that you can set things up that every time you write or publish a new article on your website, it can automatically "feed" that article into places like FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and almost any other website. People can also "subscribe" to read your "feed" on a regular basis... It is a great way to take your writings and postings, and get them out into a much larger world! RSS is a big PRO for using WordPress PLUG-INS, PLUG-INS, & MORE PLUG-INS One of the best things about WordPress.org is the huge array of "plug-ins" that are available. Since it is "open source" software, designers and programmers all over the world are constantly adding to the options available. When a programmer can't find what he/she needs, they design it, and then they can make it available to everyone else as well. So, the plug-in market is ever-expanding. This makes it extremely easy to add things like: Interactive Calendars Social Media Features Picture Slideshows The options are endless! A major PRO for WordPress! Accounts Login/User Levels Live Chat Features Mapping & Directions Form Handlers Picture Galleries Feedback Surveys http://www.tripwiremagazine.com/2013/03/best-wordpress-plugins.html Embed Videos/YouTube Widgets UPGRADES & BACKUPS If you have chosen to have a WordPress.org website, then you need to be aware of the work involved with future upgrades and constant file backups.

UPGRADES: Since the software is "constantly changing" and you are responsible to make sure your site stays up-to-date, you have to do upgrades periodically. Remember that this is "open source" software, so you have to be extremely careful when doing upgrades to your site. You may upgrade WordPress and then find that all of your plug-ins don't work. Upgrading WordPress is not for the faint of heart...

BACKUPS: Since your site is "constantly changing" you need to plan for doing regular backups. WordPress.org is two parts: 1) Web Files and 2) The Database. Both need to be backed up BEFORE YOU DO ANY UPGRADES. This should be scheduled to be done on a planned schedule AND anytime you are doing major changes to your site. WordPress is Glitchy! When you have thousands of hands designing software with only some testing being done, things can easily go wrong. Sometimes even clicking on things in your Control Panel in the wrong order, can dump everything. So, be prepared for Upgrade Bugs and Backup everything! http://www.reliablewebdesigns.com/ A big CON for WordPress! CATEGORICAL BLOG STREAMS WordPress.org has two main types of information
you can add to your site: 1) Pages and 2) Postings. PAGES: These are pretty much what they sound like - they are webpages that primarily should have solid information about who you are and what you do. So, for example, you could have an "About Us" page or a "Contact Info" page.

POSTS: This is where WordPress really excels...! You can create multiple Blog streams by categories where you can post lots and lots of writings. So, for example, you could create a "Category" called "Latest News" and then under it create "Sub-Categories" like "Our Events" and "Articles" and ... It is unlimited and is setup in a way that you can continually add and add to it. A Great Way for Creating Categories for your Writings!
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