I’m excited about our new WordPress study group that launches later this week. My good friend Dave Barger at LunaWeb has graciously offered the venue and we have 11 interested folks who have RSVP’d, along with a few maybes.
So … why WordPress?
I’ve been using WordPress since about 2006, when I first began to blog. This site has been my playground, my classroom and my learning lab since then. Here are my five reasons to love WordPress:
Features and Functionality
I’m at what I’d call the intermediate level with HTML and CSS – enough to do most of what I want to do, but I won’t be anyone’s guru any time soon. Although I’m trying to learn to do as many things as possible without plugins, they are a great way to add the features while I learn. On this sidebar, for instance, the Twitter feed and archives are widgets; the rest is hand-coded in the sidebar. I like to hand code, because it allows my CSS to control the look of the sidebar, rather than that of the widgets.
It’s already great out of the box, but the All-in-One SEO Pack plugin makes it dead simple to optimize your site. Caveat: this plugin can break a site. Like it did this one. So I don’t use it, but I’m trying to incorporate some of its steps manually.
You might be a PHP/HTML/CSS whizkid who can build your own theme and a one-of-a-kind customized site. Or maybe you just have something to say and don’t want to mess with code. WordPress can work for you either way or anywhere in between. The WordPress Codex is also immense, with thorough documentation for just about everything and helpful user forum support.
Flexibility and Extensibility
You can do as much or as little as you like — from a simple brochure site with static pages to a dynamic site with changing content, social network integration and even e-commerce. You can start small and add features and additional customization as you learn.
I love free and WordPress is free, open source software and most of the plugins are free. The only costs you’ll incur are for domain name, hosting and any premium themes you might want to purchase.
Our group will be informal and it looks like we’ll have folks of all levels of expertise and experience, so come ready to share your questions, experience and knowledge. Or just to listen.
Our kickoff is this Thursday, September 2, 6:00 p.m. at the LunaWeb office at 5180 Park Ave, Suite 305 in Memphis; after that we’ll meet monthly at a time to be determined by the group. Join our meetup group to stay up-to-date on what we’re doing.
Do you use and love WordPress? Share your reasons in the comments.