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Using WordPress as a Rapid Site Development Plaform

Most people think of WordPress as a blogging tool, which is certainly how it was originally created. Since that time, however, WordPress has matured into a feature-rich content management system that enables the creation of websites that may or may not have a blogging component to them. In addition, a robost ecosystem of third-party enhancements in the form of themes and plug-ins make it possible to inexpensively and rapidly deploy a feature rich website.

A lot of WordPress blogs are hosted by a dedicated web site run by the WordPress folks at http://www.wordpress.com. These blogs are free and easy to set up but also limit the amount of customization you can carry out. The focus of this service is to provide cost-free blogging. However, this is not the only way you can use WordPress. The WordPress application itself is available at no charge for download at http://www.wordpress.org. Once you download the software, you can install it on most computers, including Windows and Macintosh. If you have a dedicated web hosting account, you can upload the installer and run it on the server to set up your own fully customizable instance of WordPress. In fact, many hosting companies provide installation of WordPress through their admin portals.

If you have a dedicated web hosting account, you can upload the (WordPress) installer and run it on the server to set up your own fully customizable instance of WordPress.

The WordPress development community has made a lot of progress in evolving the platform to do much more than blogging. You can actually use WordPress as a complete website development platform for quickly creating and deploying rich-featured websites for business or other organizations. From newsletter signup and contact forms to video embedding to downloadable files, there seems to be no limit to what you can include in a WordPress web site. If the core software does not provide the features you need, chances are very good that one or more free plug-ins can be easily located and installed within the WordPress administration interface to provide just the extra functionality you need.

WordPress also provides a number of options for the layout and design for your web site. If you're WordPress savvy and feel at ease coding PHP and CSS, you can build your own custom site theme from scratch. Since most people aren't that technical or can't afford the time investment to build their own themes, you can make short work of creating a look for your site with a growing number of free, downloadable and installable themes. Again, this is something you can do within the WordPress administration interface. There are also "premium" themes you can purchase from various development shops at a nominal cost.

You can browse the catalog of available themes to find the base features and general look you want for your site. Once you install a theme, you can typically configure various options provided by your theme for adjusting layout, typography, footer items, and so on. In a very short amount of time compared to coding an HTML/CSS web site design by hand, you can find a theme that meets your needs and then can configure and cutomize it so that it takes on the style and brand of your organization.

I've built several websites using WordPress. I'm constantly amazed at how quickly you can get a robust web site online in a matter of a few weeks rather than a few months. And when you're paying a web site designer by the hour, that savings of time not only gets you online more rapidly, it saves a considerable amount of cost. Another benefit of using WordPress is simplified maintenance. Pages can be added or edited, site menus udpated, footer content kept fresh without having to edit a lot of individual HTML pages by hand. In fact, you can do a lot of site maintenance yourself without knowing any HTML at all.

Big organizations can more easily afford the big budgets and timelines required to design and implement a custom HTML/CSS web site. Medium and small businesses can greatly benefit from the rapid site development potential of WordPress. At Imagengine Studios, we gladly offer clients who need a professional site that provices necessary features and their own visual style but who don't have big web site budgets to decide if WordPress provides the right balance of functionality and cost. We can help you identify your site needs, recommend themes that work for your business or organization, install and setup WordPress and the needed theme and plug-ins, configure all the site options, and design and produce all the custom graphics that produce maximum wow for a managable cost.

Contact Imagengine Studios today to ask if WordPress might be just the ticket to your online presence needs.


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