Posted by Tim Butler
Here at Big Brand Ideas a core part of what we do is web development. We’ve worked on and built hundreds of websites over the years and a key component of that work has been WordPress. On 27th May the world’s most popular hosting site turns 15, so today we’re taking a more in depth look at how the platform has evolved and why it’s become so popular.
An estimated 30 per cent of websites are built using WordPress, which isn’t bad considering when it launched way back in 2003 it was seen primarily as a blogging platform.
There’s a local connection too, co-founder Mike Little, lives in Stockport and alongside his American counterpart, Matt Mullenweg, developed WordPress as a successor to the blogging tool, b2/cafelog.
It started life in a very basic format but has gone through several updates over the past fifteen years. The introduction of custom post types, command line interface functions and the ability to push and pull data from other applications and devices, and the recent introduction of it's own APIs have all meant WordPress has evolved to become a sophisticated content management system (CMS). In 2018 it will go through another major upgrade, when WordPress 5.0 or the ‘Gutenberg’ update will arrive, which will overhaul the page builder functionality of the site and allow developers to create more experiences on WordPress.
One of the most common misconceptions about WordPress is that it’s not a robust enough platform to build websites for big brands. However, this myth is easy dispel, considering the likes of Facebook, Mercedes-Benz, Bloomberg, Playstation, BBC America and Sony all use the platform in some shape or form. Brands are able to build extremely powerful websites which embrace all the features of the WordPress platform.
WordPress’ security has also at times been called into question; due to it's popularity it has been frequently targeted by hackers. Without the latest updates WordPress can be vulnerable, though this is true of any platform. The way the BBI team build websites ensures firewalls and security restructions are in place, admin pages can only be accessed from approved IP addresses.
Another common myth is that anyone can build a website using WordPress, this is true to an extent and it is possible to build a functional site if you’re prepared to invest the time. There will be limitations though, for example, the level of customisation and you’ll be relying on purchasing ready-made WordPress themes and plugins. However, if you’re looking to embrace the full the WordPress experience that’s where our development team come in. We build themes and plugins from scratch, allowing us to design and build the site to extremely specific briefs with full control over the code.
If your company is considering an overhaul of its website, or you’re a new business owner just starting out, we’ve put together our top five reasons why WordPress might be the right platform for you:
Backend user experience
WordPress is extremely easy to use and makes it simple for those responsible for website updates. You don’t need to be a professional developer to make changes or carry out updates, its logical and intuitive, meaning staff don’t need hours of training to use it. We firmly believe if you can use Microsoft Word you’ll easily pick up how to navigate your way around WordPress, it’s really that simple.
WordPress is suitable for websites with just one or two pages, up to hundreds or even thousands with multiple content types. The best websites are constantly changing and growing over time. WordPress gives us a solid platform to build on, in the knowlege that we won't outgrow it and have to make major changes as the project evolves.
The flexibility of WordPress is unique, which allows for greater input into design and functionality and means there’s no need to rely on an off-the-shelf template as the basis for your website. Plugins allow more complex pages and functionality such as booking systems, member's areas and ecommerce platforms.
As WordPress is so popular there’s a huge community to talk to regarding everything from new plugins and features to any errors you may be experiencing. If you’re new to managing a company website, it’s ideal as there is a wealth of information and advice available.
WordPress are generally simpler to get up and running, making it cost-effective and allowing brands to establish a web presence very quickly. In most instances, it's likely we've built a similar project already allowing us to reuse and adapt plugins and back-end functionality across multiple projects.
It is impossible to predict what the future holds, especially with the non-stop evolution of technology. With the Gutenberg update fast approaching and no sign of WordPress’ dominance halting, it would appear further success is on the horizon. The APIs allow developers to build apps and websites using the WordPress admin interface, whilst building their project in whatever language they choose. The growth of front-end frameworks like React and Vue allow us to build prototypes quickly, with a powerful database behind the scenes.
For now, Happy Anniversary WordPress.