~wordpress logoMy company, Teledavis, LLC, helps faith communities and other  not-for-profits with inexpensive and easy-to-edit websites.  When I began this business I used web-based templates, like Google Sites, and free WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) web page editors, like Mozilla’s KompoZer.  I have come to realize, however, that such tools are not as useful for tending websites as are content management systems.

What’s a content management system?  A CMS is a software package that helps people work as a team to maintain a website, and interact with visitors who can submit input.  For small organizations with modest budgets and staff, the three biggest challenges to maintaining an effective website are:

  1. technical training for the people who post new content on pages
  2. organizing people so that fresh content (text, pictures, videos, sound files) keeps getting produced
  3. acquiring tools that provide for interaction between the public and the website team

Here’s why CMSes solve these three challenges better than other website editing solutions:

  1. A CMS facilitates cooperation among a team of editors because each user gets a certain level of access and is accountable to the administrator for his/her input.
  2. A CMS removes concerns about the look of the site, so that the team can concentrate on posting fresh content.
  3. A CMS facilitates user input in the form of comments, forums, shopping forms, applications, polls, etc.

There are a number of free CMSes.  For a while I used Drupal, and found it extremely flexible.  Learning how to construct a Drupal website was not the main challenge for me.  Rather, maintaining the site was, because updating the components of a Drupal system demands careful, ongoing attention.

I have come to prefer WordPress, which is a lean and very user friendly free CMS.  WordPress, was first used as a blogging tool to exhibit and archive ongoing posts.  But WordPress can also be used to edit a traditional website with numerous static pages.  All that is required is to move the blog article page off the front position and promote a static page to the home position.  This is a simple adjustment.

If you choose WordPress to maintain your organization’s website, I think you’ll like it as I do, for the following reasons:

  • It’s free!
  • It’s control interface is nicely designed, easy to learn and speedy to use.
  • It’s easy to update.
  • It makes editing pages very simple, with your choice of a WYSIWYG editor, or an HTML editor.
  • It has oodles of themes, many of them free, which allow you to change the look of your site in a jiffy.
  • It has hundreds of free plugins which connect users automatically to social networks such as Facebook, Flickr, and LinkedIn.
  • It has excellent SPAM control and control over user permissions.

I invite you to read my upcoming posts about the “front end” (public view) and the “back end” (inner control room) of a WordPress website to see whether your organization might want to use WordPress to design and maintain its website.

One thought on “Why WordPress is a Super Tool for Designing and Maintaining Websites”

  1. I’ve never worked with a WordPress website before, although I am a web developer. I’m trying to help my church maintain a newly developed website using WordPress. I find the admin section is not user friendly at all. I downloaded all the files from the server, thinking it would be easier to update the content that way, but I can’t even see the pages in the files. When I upload images through the content area, I don’t know where they go. So very confusing. Any tips as to how to learn to maintain a WordPress website?

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