April 4, 2020

When WordPress Is Not WordPress

There is no doubt that WordPress is the pre-eminent blogging platform and content management system with over 50% of the installed base. What many people do not realise, however, is that WordPress is a superb platform for development of business websites as well.

WordPress is the Perfect Platform for Small Business Websites

There are more than a few reasons for this statement

  • WordPress is simple to use – both for the developer and the website owner
  • WordPress has many fantastic built in features that make it the best and most popular content management system
  • WordPress is an open source project which means it continues to benefit from input from programmers all over the globe
  • WordPress cannot be high-jacked by one big corporate for their own benefit
  • A huge and growing number of plugins both free and premium exist for Word Press
  • WordPress is very friendly to SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
  • WordPress developments are usually quick and inexpensive
  • WordPress skilled developers are becoming more readily available in the market so you are not locked in to a single supplier

There are many more reasons for selecting WordPress as your development platform as well, however, the main ones are covered here.

So When and Why Is WordPress Not WordPress?

WordPress development is a relatively simple process for those that know what they are doing. You simply build a WordPress theme that contains html (hyper text markup language), CSS (cascading stylesheets), php (personal home page) scripting language and a smattering of Javascript in a layer above WordPress. In reality, though, those that have spent any amount of time working with WordPress know far better ways to deliver a much quicker and far more reliable end product. These days you can find many free WordPress themes on the Internet. Some are good most are average, many are rubbish and a few are downright dangerous. Most people that develop on WordPress started hacking someone else’s theme and then building our own themes. It is sort of a right of passage for WordPress developers. In the last couple of years though, a much better way to build WordPress websites has been introduced.

The WordPress Theme Framework

The WordPress theme framework inserts another layer between the day to day developer and WordPress. First there is WordPress, then a parent theme and then, the child theme (see diagram to the right). The parent theme is commonly developed by a specialist WordPress development house that includes seriously smart and experienced WordPress developers. This parent theme is tasked with interfacing directly with WordPress so, when a major release of WordPress occurs (happens at least once per year these days), the guys have already made sure the parent them works with the new version of WordPress.

As long as people who are developing the child themes follow the rules set out by the theme framework we can have 100% confidence that upgrading to the latest and greatest version of WordPress will not make our site fall over for an unknown (and often extremely difficult to identify) reason. Using a theme framework also significantly reduces the development time for WordPress projects. Yes, it is more difficult to develop in a child theme environment initially, however, once you know the rules and have mastered the code then you can complete a superbly functional and great looking website in a very short period of time.

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