By: Fred Wootten - Bayshore Solutions Programming Team

Wordpress is more than just a popular blogging tool.  It is also a powerful and easy-to-use content management system that allows users and software developers to extend its functionality well beyond the features that come as part of the base install.  Is it right for you and your company?

Part of the popularity of Wordpress is the ability for users to improve and modify the functionality of their site through the use of plugins and widgets. The website currently lists over 19,000 available plugins ranging from simple photo slideshows and search engine optimization tools to complex e-commerce solutions.  Wordpress plugins are also available through other sources.  If you are unable to locate a plugin that does exactly what you want, you may need to seek the support of an experienced programmer who can modify an existing plugin or create a custom plugin.  Caution should be taken to limit the number of plugins used on a site as this can slow down the loading time of the site and negatively affect your visitors’ experience.  You should also be careful to download plugins only from trusted sources as plugins can contain code vulnerable to cyber attacks or intentionally malicious code which can be exploited by hackers.   You will find that most plugins are easy to install, but some do require an additional amount of patience to set up properly.

Another attractive feature of Wordpress is the availability of many free or low-cost website design templates which can be integrated into the Wordpress base code to give your site a new look.  A template may contain all the functionally needed with little or no modification.  Simple modifications to the template can be made through edits to the CSS and template files.  Since the base files for Wordpress are separate from these design files, you can customize your site without affecting the base code which allows you to upload any critical fixes or updates to Wordpress.  Again, it is important to locate reputable sources for these templates and keep in mind that a template may not give you the competitive edge that a custom-designed website may provide.  As with plugins, you will find that not all templates are created equally.  Some templates are easier to modify than others.

Because of its collaborative nature and open-source architecture, online resources and help are plentiful.  Most users find Wordpress easy to use and understand, but as with any new software, there is a learning curve to overcome before you may feel comfortable with all of the available features.  You may also find that installing and configuring a new Wordpress site can be tricky for anyone inexperienced with this type of installation.

If you decide that Wordpress is right for you, Bayshore Solutions can offer assistance with the setup, hosting and customization of your Wordpress site.  Bayshore Solutions can also provide a custom-designed site template or integrate an existing website design into a usable Wordpress template.