This system is the most popular type of CMS currently in use. It has recently won a ‘Hall of Fame’ award as part of a contest to recognise the achievements of open source systems such as these which only increases its appeal.

(Source: Packt 2010 Open Source Awards)

WordPress was first released back in 2003 and since then has gone on to be a world beater in the field of open source systems although it is more commonly used as a weblog. Many people consider it to be the best blogging platform on the market.

About WordPress

WordPress is based upon a series of web templates which are combined with a data model such as a database or a XML file and then processed by a template engine.

The outcome of this is a web document.

The main advantage for non-technical users is the ability to create their blog without having to tinker with HTML or PHP, and to change the theme (skin) whenever they wish.

For the more adventurous user there is the option to extend the functionality of the blog by means of specially designed plug-ins, for example stats, recent comments or a super speedy cache.

WordPress can be installed on any PC or an intranet and enables the user to have complete management of their blog.

Characteristics of WordPress

The main function of WordPress is to manage content: this is done via a series of tools and processes which include:

  • Ability to upload documents and images
  • Password protected content
  • Ability to organise content into sub-categories etc
  • Text formatting plug-in which improves the quality and readability of the content.
  • Moderator tool
  • Archiving and search features
  • Ability to create a blogroll
  • Ability to multiblog
  • Ease of use
  • Comes with its own SEO tools to enable maximum optimisation.

These are just a few of many features incorporated into this CMS.

Disadvantages of WordPress

There are many good things said about WordPress which means that it is difficult to find any negative comments. But like anything in life there are always detractors as well as supporters and this also applies to this CMS.

Critics of this system argue that it is a nuisance trying to keep up with the constant upgrades and third party security measures. This particularly important as the software like any other form of CMS is prone to attacks by hackers although it is possible to prevent this with good security protection.

Some people report that page creation is slow which may depend upon the host but a cache plug-in will solve that problem.

In regard to SEO: WordPress is designed to be search engine friendly and as a result of that, has its own tools which enable this to happen. However, some developers consider these default tools to be less than ideal for SEO and recommend others to use the plug-ins to ensure optimisation.

But this requires time, patience and an understanding of how these plug-ins operate in regard to page/site ranking. This also means spending time building links, ensuring that there are good links between pages and that the content is written with the target audience in mind.

Is WordPress easy to learn? Some people argue that it has a steep learning curve which means that it may not be a good option for newbies. But there is help and support available via the WordPress community plus numerous videos and online tutorials which makes it accessible to novices as well as more experienced users.