Among the many types of CMS software (content management systems or blogging tools), WordPress has become extremely popular, providing easy-to-use installation, configuration and posting, and offering a wealth of themes and plug-ins so bloggers or even big businesses can customise and extend their platforms.
Configuration and installation are relatively streamlined, but you will need to make some changes to a file that contains information about your database, user name and so on. Once this is done, and WordPress creates its database tables, almost everything else you do is through a graphical interface in a web browser.
Creating posts is easy too. You don’t need to know any HTML code, because WordPress’s post editor lets you click to add links, images, videos, and more. You can set categories for posts, add tags (for a tag cloud) and save drafts, plus auto-saves protect you when your browser crashes or when you lose your internet connection. You can always add your own code, if you know how.
Version 3 adds a number of useful features that allow you to create more complex sites. For example, a new menus feature lets you create navigation bars below your header that provide access to different parts of your sites. This feature, like most of WordPress’s Appearance settings, is controlled by simple drag-and-drop, making it accessible to users with no knowledge of HTML.
While WordPress allows you to create both posts and static pages, version 3 adds the ability to create custom post types. This is what makes WordPress much more than just a blogging tool, and gives more advanced users the ability to roll out sites with a wide range of content, such as product pages, user profiles and more.
When the default features aren’t enough, you can choose from more than 10,000 plug-ins to add a number of additional features. One such plug-in, included with WordPress, is the Akismet comment spam filter. As I look at my main website, I see that Akismet has blocked more than 18,000 spam comments since I started using WordPress.
Other plug-ins offer features such as better searching, search engine optimisation tools, statistics, user management, and much more.
Of course, this profusion of plug-ins has a price. Plug-ins may lead to incompatibilities, and it can be risky to update your WordPress installation until you are sure that all your plug-ins work.
One other issue to be aware of is the number of security threats that affect WordPress. Whether because of its popularity or simply because of the way it’s designed, there are regular security updates to the software, and it’s essential for anyone running a website to update whenever new versions are released.
Macworld Australia’s buying advice. WordPress remains an easy-to-use website platform for those who don’t know any HTML code, and version 3 adds a number of features that enhance the program and allow users to create more complex sites with little work. If you do code, then you can do much more.