I have a confession to make – I am absolutely obsessed with Wordpress.
Coming from an editorial background, understanding the technical jargon that comes with running a blog didn’t come naturally. But like thousands of others, it soon became second nature. Wordpress has grown into the world’s leading content management system with more than 60 million websites using its platform to engage with people worldwide. It has opened up opportunities for designers and developers as well as people from all walks of life to promote their business, talent and musings stylishly and seamlessly to the World Wide Web.
Training and Courses lists a number of Wordpress courses for budding bloggers like the Wordpress Websites and Blogs at the London College of Communication.
We’ve been casting our net far and wide to bring you a selection of users who have made the most of Wordpress. Meet our users below and see what they have to say about their experience so far.
1. Why did you choose Wordpress over other content management systems?
Carla: ‘Wordpress is a brilliant platform for those new to blogging. It’s extremely accessible and allows you to focus on your writing and make the most of your site even if you have limited web development experience.’
Nicola: ‘We chose to use Wordpress because it's the most versatile CMS in the market. The range of plugins, themes and features make it a very easy to use and functional system that allows us to quickly deploy sites.’
Tom: ‘I first used Wordpress four years ago as it had the strongest reputation, while some of the paid themes seemed pretty spectacular. Most other CMS systems required you to build everything from scratch at that point, or having a style which was very much a boilerplate carbon copy, so being able to choose from thousands of themes had a strong appeal.’
2. Why did you start a blog and what do you primarily blog about?
Louise: ‘My blog is about ethical shopping - mostly charity shops. My new site is a Christmas gift site, similar to Firebox, except all the products are supplied and shipped by Amazon so it's cheaper and quicker than any competitor.’
Lee: ‘I originally started a blog for my coaching and to pass on information to my athletes called newpersonalbest.co.uk. I used it a lot originally but I’m not as good with that one right now. My second site is my author site, leeness.co.uk which is used a bit more. I blog about writing, promote my books and throw in a few bargains if I spot them.’
Nicola: ‘Blogging is a vital part of any business today. It allows us to bring out the personality of the brand and allows us to provide updates and information to our users.’
3. What have you found to be the most frustrating thing about Wordpress?
Lee: ‘In truth, after my tribulations with the other methods I’d tried, tearing my hair out trying to understand CSS and HTML, I think it is beautiful. If I had to criticise, I can never quite get the theme to do exactly what I want. However, that is probably because I don’t use the premium themes.’
Carla: ‘Nothing! I’m a huge Wordpress advocate and could talk about the benefits all day if you let me. It’s an amazing piece of software and everyone in the world can use it for free.’
Tom: ‘The most frustrating factor has been adapting with my limited knowledge of PHP. I feel incredibly comfortable with HTML and CSS, but even after all this time I would label myself as a beginner in PHP. It is a similar issue with Magento, if you find a PHP Magento expert, you should hold on to them if you use that platform as they aren't easy to find.’
4. How important is design when it comes to your blog?
Louise: ‘Beyond essential - for my e-commerce site it needs to look slick and professional as it's a new site so I need to build brand trust. Then for my blog, because it's fashion, the design has to be reflective of this particular area to be taken seriously.’
Nicola: ‘Design is very important when it comes to a blog. For us, we wanted to make sure that we keep a consistent look and feel so we opted to create our own theme that matches the aesthetics and brand image. For other blogs, making sure that the design is clean, functional and responsive is integral for the user experience along with brand awareness.’
Tom: ‘Design is incredibly important. I'm currently going through a complete redesign on my site. The web is ever changing and the brand spanking new site I had made last year already looked outdated by this summer. The site won't be completely ready till around December as there are so many considerations, mainly around embracing mobile.’
5. What would say is your biggest achievement?
Carla: ‘I started blogging from our shared family computer without really understanding what a blog was. That was in the early noughties and blogging didn’t have the same appeal it has today. From then onwards there’s one thing that always makes me feel great – and that’s engagement with my blog. Whether it’s a comment from a stranger in Brazil or a friend talking to me about a recommendation I made, knowing people enjoy my content is the most rewarding feeling I get.’
Louise: ‘My first ever sale! It only adds up to 73p commission but I was over the moon to be off the starting block.’
Tom: ‘I would say there are two points which have made me the most proud. The first one takes place when I attend travel blogger meetups, as all your hard work is appreciated and you are respected for your work. It is a very close knit group and there is a huge amount of respect between everyone. I'd say the second is when you are linked from a big brand or spoken about in a positive manner by them. A friend was at a conference and my website was brought up on a slide as a 'power influencer in the travel industry' which blew my mind!’
6. What advice would you give to someone looking to learn more about Wordpress?
Nicola: ‘Install it, play with it, and be consistent.’
Lee: ‘A hosted Wordpress is probably the way to go. Just get it up and running and have a play. Let’s be honest, it won’t hurt because no-one is going to see your site until you start getting the content in and promoted anyway so I wouldn’t worry about working on a live site.’
Louise: ‘The best way to learn is by doing. Everything makes a whole lot more sense when you're putting them into action than when you're reading them in a forum. Plus, never be afraid of asking for help - I'm a regular in the forums and on the live help chat that comes with my theme membership and boy do I get my money's worth!’
Carla: ‘Sign up, read the literature and get started. Don’t worry about knowing everything from the get go and focus on your content. As you grow, Wordpress will help your blog grow with you.’
Tom: ‘The best way to learn is to jump straight in. What you put in reflects what you get out. However it is crucial to work smarter rather than harder, so writing up a strategy at the start of everything that needs completing and laying out deadlines for each task is crucial if you are to take it seriously. Otherwise you can get distracted by meaningless tasks rather than focusing on the bigger picture.’
If you’ve been inspired and think it’s time to venture into the world of Wordpress, why not try the Wordpress Essentials Training at Futuretrend Training Academy or if you prefer a complete introduction to this revolutionary tool, then Richmond Adult Community College’s ‘Wordpress – Introduction’ could be the course for you.