WordPress is a content management system (CMS), on which all of our web projects are based and which provides our clients with the possibility to make smaller or bigger changes on their websites on their own. However, that’s not the case for every wordpress site:
It is indeed possible to easily create and edit websites and blog articles in the admin section. However, filling them with simple image-text combinations often isn’t enough. Unfortunately, not much more is possible in the standard WYSIWYG editor for the backend. Hence, in order to create complex, individual pages that can be made accessible to the customer, individual programming work is required.
WordPress is free
Started in 2001 as a pure blogging and news software, WordPress quickly became the world’s most popular and most-used content management system. Today, one in four websites are already using WordPress. Being an open-source software, WordPress is free for everyone. That often leads to the following question: why would anyone pay for anything they can get for free? In order for WordPress to work, a web host and a database connection are needed. In fact, the program cannot even be downloaded and installed like an app. In addition to that, a new WordPress installation looks very different from what we’d commonly aspire our new website to look like. Even though a little know-how can lead to good results, WordPress in itself doesn’t make for a complete website.
Backend & frontend
In content management systems, we generally distinguish between backend and frontend. The so-called “backend” simply is how we call the WordPress admin area, in which users can create pages, articles and change various other settings. The number of options often causes unnecessary confusion, as large parts of the backend are commonly irrelevant to the client and should only be edited by the webmaster or after a consultation. The focus usually rests entirely on the sections “articles” and “pages”. The website’s contents, subpages, blog and news entries can commonly be edited here.
Among developers, the actual website is usually called frontend. Hence, the frontend is what visitors see when they go to your website.
The theme doesn’t just just display the contents you entered in the admin area, it also constitutes the basis of your website design. Thousands of themes are available on the web. Are you the owner of a bakery? Just search Google for a WordPress Bakery Theme. Do you want to launch an online shop for animal accessories? No problem, just by googling WordPress Pet Shop Theme, you will find a whole range of themes. Many of the themes are free, while other developers want to be reimbursed for their work. Even freelancers and agencies use pre-made themes: there’s really nothing morally wrong with this practice, as the themes commonly already come adapted to the industry while offering a high degree of customizability. In fact, they are made to be customized for the client and to be filled with his or her content! Then, if even more features are required that aren’t provided by the theme, programming skills are needed to code them into the theme. However, all of the themes are different because each theme developer has different coding habits. This can potentially result in severe differences in quality and performance.
At Mapsteps, we prefer using a theme we developed ourselves for our projects. This has the advantage that the entire code basis – as well as the way the theme is programmed – originates from us. While other themes often are overloaded with as many features as possible to provide for all contingencies, we do it the other way around and cater websites to the specific needs of our customers. That way, we can guarantee top quality and performance.
Plugins are add-ons for WordPress. WooCommerce, for example, changes a WordPress website into a fully functional online shop with an inventory management system. Plugins are similar to themes in that everyone can develop them and – by adhering to certain guidelines – offer them as a free download on the official WordPress-Repository. Let’s assume that you want to provide visitors to your website with the possibility to share blog articles on various social media platforms; it doesn’t make any sense to code and charge for it if there’s the possibility to just use an existing plugin. Also, WordPress plugins will help you extend your website with certain features of your choice.
You now have an overview over important topics related to WordPress and learned roughly how the WordPress content management system works. There exist an almost endless number of options and features! Do you have any further questions or would like to know more about WordPress? Feel free to leave us a comment!