Why WordPress?


I got an email from one of my Twitter friends asking for my thoughts on WordPress. It’s a great question, and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts here. 

I started using WordPress only after trying every other blogging software out there. I started on Blogger, moved to Xanga and then went back to Blogger. I started a LiveJournal and tried TypePad, but never got very far with either. I ended up choosing WordPress simply because of the number themes (designs) available. As you’re likely aware, I’m pretty vain and like for my blog to be pretty – I’ve probably spent an equal amount of time on design as I have content. (A sad comment indeed if this is all I have to show for it.)

Now that I’ve been with WordPress for a while, I’ve come to appreciate other features of the tool.

  • Incredibly easy to customize. Whether you’re starting with an existing theme or creating one from scratch, you can do some pretty incredible things if you know PHP and CSS. When I first started customizing themes, I knew nothing at all about CSS and only a very, and I mean VERY, small amount of HTML. Today, thanks to WordPress and Firebug, I’ve figured out how to customize almost everything.
  • Ridiculously easy to use. This largely has to do with my job, but WordPress is a very easy tool to use and train to use. Once you get into the dashboard and poke around a little bit, it’s a straightforward and well-thought-out tool.
  • Plenty powerful. Again, this is largely related to my job, but this blogging tool has the capability to be a robust CMS (content management system) that can power fairly large sites. While creating completely unique pages would require some extensive PHP knowledge, creating a smaller site is a cinch with WordPress.
  • Active development community. When I first decided to go with WordPress, I didn’t realize how critical this would be. Whether I’m looking for a plugin that will do something my blog can’t currently or trying to resolve a problem, I can almost always turn to the community for the answer I need.
  • Totally free. WordPress is a completely free tool. There are some costs when it comes to your URL and hosting, but WordPress itself is free.

If you’re thinking about getting into blogging, I recommend heading over to WordPress.com and setting up a blog today. You’ll get a nice introduction to the best blogging tool on the planet, and, best of all, it’s completely free!

One last thing, if you’re trying to decide between using WordPress.com or self-hosting (installing WordPress on a custom URL), I recommend self-hosting. It’s true that you can use WordPress.com and pay for some upgrades to get a custom URL and blog design, but that ends up being more expensive than self-hosting. However, if you don’t have any technical know-how (or don’t know someone who does), WordPress.com isn’t a bad option.

So what did I miss? Why else is WordPress awesome? Or, what faults am I blind to?

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  1. March 31, 2009 at 12:19 am — Reply

    Thanks for this. I’m also getting around to WordPress via process of elimination, and I’m so glad to hear a positive review from someone who should know.

    Also, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to publicly complain about TypePad, which I deeply regret having ever committed to.

    I guess Bobby would be the person to ask about how easy it is to transfer from a WordPress.com-hosted blog to a self-hosted WordPress blog.

  2. March 31, 2009 at 5:42 am — Reply

    Emily, it’s incredibly easy to transfer. WordPress has an import feature that will bring over your posts and comments. If you don’t have any comments, it’s even easier as you can import from an RSS feed.

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that Tumbler is supported, so you could bring over all your posts, but the images and other multimedia would probably be left behind.

  3. March 31, 2009 at 5:44 pm — Reply

    I actually want to keep my Tumblr for more tumblelog-appropriate postings and move the longer-form writing to a WordPress blog. (I use Typepad for the biz blog. Typepad has horrible/terrible/no good/very bad customer service.)

    [I’ve also used Blogger and–ahem–Tripod and Xoom back in the day.]

    Thanks again–choosing a blogging platform is difficult for those of us who aren’t full technophiles.

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Why WordPress?