In this day and age, most development companies no longer code websites from the ground up. Developers now lean toward using frameworks, which offer hundreds of pre-written functions that are easy to utilize. Developers also use existing platforms such as Joomla!, Drupal, WordPress, Movable Type and many other systems for the same purpose.
Why do we do this? It is akin to reinventing the wheel each time if we code a new site from the ground up. Coding sites also involves a lot more hidden work than you could imagine: HTML code provides the basic structure, but CSS actually styles the site with font, layout and style choices for the display of the site. Then you may also have a database backend to provide data to your visitors, and need a login system so you can access private areas of your site.
This has all been done a million times already. And this is why we at CWS no longer code from the ground up: it waste our time coding, and it wastes your time and resources…and increases the cost substantially.
Among all the platforms out there, we were most familiar with WordPress, having deployed it on dozens of sites in the past. With the phenomenal growth of WP on the Internet, and accompanying growth of the WP development community, WP is now a powerful platform that site owners can proudly host which will perform just about any function they can imagine.
WordPress began as a blogging platform: you wrote your post or news article, and posted it. WP also offered static “pages” to flesh out your site. With the plugin system, and powerful additions to WP itself, it is now possible to use WP as a full-fledge CMS (content management system), or use it as the framework for a complete website presence.
Some specialized features will still require a separate application (a busy discussion board, for instance, really should run a package such as XenForo, or a gallery with hundreds or thousands of images should make use of a gallery system). But for most tasks, WordPress can do it. Here are some functions that WP can now take care of.
Content Management or Wiki: if you want to provide content to your visitors, or give them some collaborative power, there are plugins that let you organize and collaborate on information by using a Wiki plugin. This is kind of vague, but if you can imagine any kind of information you would like to categorize or present to the public, there is likely a plugin to handle it.
Podcasting: so, you want to produce an audio or video podcast? There are a couple of excellent plugins we can configure for you that provide a turnkey solution for podcasting! Once you are registered, you can even have your podcast submitted to iTunes automatically!
Tour Schedules: if you are a band or artist, there is a plugin called GigPress that lets you enter upcoming dates, and display them on the site in a couple of different ways.
Social Networking: while you can share your content with the major social networking sites, you can create your own self-contained social network by using BuddyPress, a side project (and plugin for) WordPress.
Community: speaking of community, if you are in need of a family of blogs hosted on a single site, WordPress has built-in functionality to create a network of blogs based on the same WP installation.
Discussion Board (or Forum): while it is rather lightweight and lacks features that busier discussion boards require, WordPress now offers the bbPress forum system as a plugin for WordPress.
Gallery: while we recommend a more robust system for categorizing and displaying hundreds or thousands of photos, WordPress can do a respectable job as a gallery. WordPress also can shine as a photoblog if configured with a nice, unobtrusive theme.
Shopping and eCommerce: there are even shopping cart and ecommerce systems for WordPress available as a plugin! You can build a small or medium-scale cart within your WP installation, and visitors will not have to leave your site to make purchases.
There are plenty more functions that we can add to WordPress…including creating custom plugins or page functions coded to your exact specifications. The point is that WordPress is powerful enough to power many styles of websites that our clients ask for, and using it as a platform ensures that the content of the site remains in the client’s hands, while keeping development costs low. WP allows us to produce cost effective, attractive sites in a very short period of time, while not sacrificing available features.