Just the other day, I was in attendance at a meeting with one of my consulting clients, his paid advertising rep, and a rep from his web design vendor. I was there as the content consultant and provider – when I came on board, my client already had established relationships with a web design company and other vendors.
My client (who is the owner of a thriving personal services law firm) expressed his frustration at the lengthy delays in getting sites created and online – he noted that the production of his most recent site has taken almost 6 months. It seems that every revision takes at least a week to get implemented. In fact, I suspect that it was this delay that prompted him to call me – as an attorney I can prepare content about legal topics. By contrast, his web design company was using writers who were not lawyers, nor were they knowledgeable about the legal issues addressed by the web site. As such, they would produce content that contained factual errors, someone from my client’s office would review and point out the mistakes, then it would go back to a writer for revision, more mistakes would be made and the process would repeat itself over and over. Because our client’s web site was being developed in a proprietary development environment, the web site designer was the only person who could make any updates.
Just a note, by the way, for those of you who want to outsource content about a technical topic or one where unique knowledge is necessary, you will need to be involved in the content creation process – otherwise you will face ongoing frustrations.
During this conversation, the paid advertising rep and I looked at each other and almost simultaneously asked “why are you not using WordPress to produce this site?
WordPress, as you may know, is an “open source” blogging platform that is widely used and very flexible. Open source means that there is no cost whatsoever to download the software and there are a plethora of “plug-ins” that add flexibility to the base software’s functionality. The site you are now reading is a WordPress site.
Because it is open source software that has reached critical mass in terms of its use and popularity, the software is regularly updated and upgraded. Anyone is free to suggest proposed changes to the software – the supervising engineers review these suggestions and incorporate the best of them into the production updates. I suspect that for many of the volunteer programmers, a development credit on the WordPress site would be valuable resume fodder as well as positive publicity within that developer community.
I first started using WordPress around 2 years ago. At that time, WordPress was primarily a blogging platform. Since that time, the software has been significantly upgraded to the point where it can function as the backbone to a more traditional looking web site. In fact, I have seen WordPress used as the structure for a multi-user membership site, a storefront site for selling multiple items and just about any other application you could imagine.
More recently, I have been using WordPress to create web sites, rather than my previous site authoring tool – a program called NetObjects Fusion. Other common web authoring tools include FrontPage (a Microsoft product that has now been discontinued), and Dreamweaver. [click to continue…]