As the CEO/Owner/Director/Founder/Other fancy title of Top Left Design, I know a lot of things, but not everything!  I come from a design background, not a coding background so I woudn’t claim to be especially technical – though I suppose compared to many I am.

But even though I am not strictly technical, I like it when technology just works – and makes life easier. A few years ago, when we started using WordPress for blogging, I saw this was different from other systems – I liked it – it’s easier to use and more flexible. And our two in house coders, Kevin and JP (previously featured on our post on Geek Appreciation Day) are specialists in WordPress sites. It’s our system of choice, and I wanted to let you know why – and some useful facts about it – so we share the joy of WordPress!

It’s open source. This means that the coding is free for coders all over the world (and maybe on other planets, who knows!) to use. They can use, tweak, update, improve, add to, and evolve it and this is why there are so many add ons and plugins which people have developed.

There are many benefits of using WordPress. I will list some now for you.

  • Traditionally associated with blogging, you can actually use WordPress for your whole website – which means your whole website can be updatable by you.
  • It makes updating your website a doddle – we train clients on how to update their WordPress sites within an hour and a half session
  • It has lots of built-in SEO features, so you can add keywords to lots of parts of each page and image.
  • It’s flexible –there are many plugins to take care of more functional features – like membership areas, e-commerce, and search

You shouldn’t ignore your WordPress website – it needs love:

You need to keep it upgraded to avoid issues with security/hackers/things breaking. WordPress the company releases free upgrades but we recommend you still get a coder expert to carefully do the upgrade to ensure that additional plugins don’t stop working when you update the site.

Just because it’s open source, doesn’t mean “totally free” or “you need to press this magic button and hey presto, there’s your website”

You still have to either learn about how to download the files, install the database, and upload the files again. Or you need a coder to do it for you. And usually the basics are done in a couple of hours and the customisation can take a few days – depending on how much customisation you want. You don’t need a coder to upgrade your site but be sure to check your plugins after the upgrade and  remember to take a backup of your database (there are plugins that will help you with this) But if you aren’t up for the challenge, send it to us and one of our WordPress coders will do it for you.

There are free themes but they do require some work to get them looking like the demos.

When you download a free theme – or even buy one of the ones that cost a bit of money, and first install it, you may be surprised to see it doesn’t look quite like the demo. It actually has all the raw materials but has to be “built up” again. So, it’s easy, but not THAT easy.

If you choose a theme – you should be pretty happy with it.

That means you like all the different elements being where they are, and the spacing between them, and all you want to change is pictures (with other pictures the same size) and text (with other text) and the logo (with your logo).

If you want to have a bespoke design, you can – yay!

We at TLD use WordPress for our websites and we aren’t using any themes, we are essentially making our own. And using WordPress as the “backend”. A bespoke website with WordPress means you get to have any design you like, one that works for your business, completely customised – but it takes longer than a template theme.

Now you know these things too!

So folks, I hope you feel suitably “informed” and can now talk about WordPress at dinner parties and impress your friends and relatives! We would love to hear more about your thoughts on WordPress, so please comment below or just leave us nice messages.

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