If you blog, the free and open source WordPress is the way to go. The number of sites built with WordPress is over 60 million and counting. Why it is so popular? It offers a range of features and flexibility, with a simple and intuitive backend user interface. It’s optimized for search engines. Oh, and it’s free.
But it’s much more than just a blogging platform, it’s a content management system (CMS), often touted when differentiating WordPress from other blogging platforms.
What exactly is a content management system? Generally, it’s an application that’s used to create, manage, store and deploy content on Web pages. With WordPress you can quickly and easily do this by adding pages, transforming your blog into a traditional website without having to hard-code each page. Thousands of plugins add unique functionality. These pages can include:
About Page – Visitors to your site want to know who you are, what you do and how you can fix their problem. Check out ProBlogger piece on how to Add an ‘About’ Page to Your Blog.
Contact Form – If you don’t have a telephone number or email address on your site (possibly to reduce spam), then you should have a contact page. WordPress offers a wide range of plugins, so all you have to do is create a page, install a plugin and you’re good to go. The tag, contact form on the WordPress plugins page returns a slew of contact form plugins. Contact Form 7 works well.
Tables – WordPress doesn’t play well with tables and spreadsheets so if you use graphs and charts, you’ll need a plugin. WP-Table Reloaded – does the job beautifully. It’s one of my all-time favorite plugins. It allows you to create and easily manage tables in the admin-area of WordPress. A comfortable backend allows an easy manipulation of table data. You can then include the tables into your posts, on a dedicated page or in text widgets. Tables can be imported and exported from/to CSV, XML and HTML.
Forum – With Facebook Pages, LinkedIn groups and a range of other social media options, hosted forums are not as popular as they used to be, but there are times when a unique community, bulletin board or membership site is desired. WordPress again provides a range of Forum plugins which can be configured as public or private.
Add as many pages as you wish, like a Resources or Services page, though you don’t want to bog down the navigation with too many pages.
So for a $10/year unique domain and a web hosting account that costs under $100/year, you can create an entire website and blog with a simple and intuitive user dashboard that provides for easy entry and edits. All without knowing a lick of code.