Having a quiet word

Several times over the years I have mentioned tools which can be used for making blogging easy.

On other occasions, I have mentioned ones which do the same thing for website creation. Some of the products and services can do both but this week, I’ll talk about one that does both jobs very well.

WordPress is technically a blogging platform but its support for creating static web pages is so good that many people are using it for all their website requirements.

It is an astonishingly capable open source software package that is available for free to anyone that wants it. It will run on just about any web server that supports PHP scripting and the MySQL database.

It is controlled by an Administration module, or dashboard, housed on the blog/website and which makes it easy to add, edit or delete content from the site.

All of the site’s content is held in a database and its look is controlled by themes, of which there are many available for free. The theme controls such things as the shape of the pages and the colours and fonts used on them.

Themes can be changed quickly and easily and the site then conforms to the look and feel of the theme, without any further effort on the user’s side. As I’ve said, there are a wide variety of themes available but if a suitable one cannot be found, they are experts around who can create them to the user’s exact specification.

WordPress is very capable but it also supports plug-in technology which extend its abilities in many different ways. There are literally thousands of plug-ins available, many of which are free, and which will do anything from inserting adverts on each page of the site, to rearranging the order of the pages in the navigation bar.

The WordPress world is divided roughly into two camps. The first is WordPress.com, a commercial enterprise which offers free accounts to all comers, and makes its money all from selling premium services.

The second variety is WordPress.org which offers the WordPress software for free, leaving you to find a suitable host, or install it on your own website.

WordPress.com is quickest to set up and get going, but it has certain limitations, including the fact that they do not allow you to install your own plug-ins or put adverts on your pages. Many web hosts offer hosting for the WordPress.org software and some offer an automatic means of installing it on your website.

I initially stuck my toes in the water at WordPress.com, but then decided I wanted more control and downloaded the software from WordPress.org. I then installed it in some space I rent on a web server.

I admit it was a bit of a learning curve to get that done but I found the help and instructions on the Internet were so good, that I had few problems. I’ve now got two blogs running on the site and am planning to launch at least one more.

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