How flexible is WordPress?
It’s a pretty broad question, but a completely valid one considering the number of different content management systems (CMS) out there. In short, WordPress is extremely flexible and practically limitless in what it can offer.
But what exactly makes it so flexible? And how can this empower marketers to be successful when it comes to fast, scalable and agile content publishing?
WordPress is open source
Open source software is software that is publicly available online for anyone to download for free. No payment details are required and there is no ad-generated revenue making it accessible to pretty much anyone. Once the source code has been downloaded and is hosted on a web server the famous 5 minute installation can be run. At this point you will have a completely functional CMS.
The only other component needed now is a theme. Themes are pretty self descriptive, they are packages which WordPress uses to ‘theme’ the front end of a website. Once a theme has been downloaded and activated within the CMS you will have a working WordPress site!
There are many thousands of open source themes, developed by third party developers, which can be downloaded and activated from within the CMS. WordPress also comes packaged with a few out of the box themes as well (such as Twenty Twenty, TwentyNineteen etc.).
Furthermore, there are also thousands of open source plugins available to download. Plugins work out of the box and either add a new feature to a site or extend existing WordPress functionality.
Out of the box themes are an excellent tool for those who require a simple, functioning website with little or no budget, however the real power of WordPress lies in the ability to develop custom themes and plugins in order to create completely bespoke websites. As a WordPress agency, this is what we specialise in here at 93digital.
At its core, WordPress consists of a handful of base mechanisms which offer a solid foundation when developing custom themes and plugins. The customisability and extensibility of these mechanisms are one of the main reasons why WordPress’ flexibility is endless.
Through considered use of the base mechanisms WordPress offers – such as post types, taxonomies, meta fields and users – a developer has all the tools they need to build a completely bespoke website which is fully powered by the CMS.
The Gutenberg editor is a recent addition to WordPress. It allows content blocks to be added to the main content editor of a page. The editor and its blocks are designed to mirror how the content will visually look on the front end of the site, offering far more seamless content creation than the previous tinyMCE editor which preceded the Gutenberg editor.
This has helped bring WordPress more closely aligned with ‘drag and drop’ website builders and CMSs without compromising the core functionality of WordPress and the flexibility that it offers.
The Gutenberg editor comes packaged with dozens of core blocks but also allows developers to create bespoke blocks. We offer custom Gutenberg block development as standard at 93digital, and have found that it has really revolutionised both the user experience of the admin area but also the way we approach the development of the sites we build.
I feel one of the most powerful aspects of WordPress is the ‘multisite’ functionality. This functionality comes packaged within the standard installation of WordPress and offers the ability to control multiple sites within a single installation of WordPress.
Each site has its own dedicated admin area, allowing each site to be completely exclusive of all the other sites on the multisite network. As all the sites sit on a single WordPress installation and share the same codebase and database, admin users can quickly switch between the admin areas of different sites without the need to log in or out.
A typical use case for a multisite would be a cluster of multilingual websites, each of which would serve a unique country, region or language. As the sites share the same codebase, they could share one single theme if the branding and structure of each site was similar. Conversely, should each site need to be completely different, they could each have their own custom theme developed.
WordPress has been developed and refined continuously by a huge community of passionate developers over the last 17 years. This has led to it becoming the most flexible and scalable CMS out there, which is reflected in its ever growing popularity and standing as the number 1 CMS on the web.
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