I spend a lot of time helping people get their information onto the web, and Wordpress is a great tool for doing just that. Like any tool, it’s good for some jobs, but not for others. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very flexible, and can do all sorts of things, and is used by very large organisations – and don’t be put off by the ‘blog’ terminology; it can do very sophisticated website tasks.
However, where I personally find it is of greatest use, is with people/organisations that are just starting to get their ‘stuff’ onto the web – who are often not quite sure how it’s going to work, or they are not sure if they are going to stay on top of it, or they simply don’t want to make a big investment up front and then regret it later. This is because it’s easy to dip your toe in the water, and, if you like it, there are options to get more serious later.
Wordpress is both software and a service. The software is free to download; so those of you that know how to host your own website can grab it for free, modify it, share it, etc. Those of you that don’t want the hassle of looking after your own webserver can create a free site on Wordpress’ own hosted service.
Now this is the cool bit.
If after a while you want to do more with your site you have 2 options. You can buy additional service from Wordpress - (really reasonable, but personally rarely used), or you can export all your data (one-click) and set a new site up yourself. (Or with your local friendly neighbourhood tech company)
So for a small investment of your own time you can get started really quickly. I’ve used it with the cycling community in Bradford recently, and within a year we’ve got around 70 posts on one site, where previously this information would not have gone anywhere.
We’ve now got a site that has been working for us for a year, and there are a few things we’d perhaps like to improve. By taking more control ourselves (i.e. moving it to the local friendly neighbourhood tech company/volunteers) we could have more control over the design (but that’s quite a job), maybe make our calendar work better, and one or two other things.
The other thing I really like about Wordpress is the way it allows you very easily to add pictures and images to your site. Nice and simple, and nearly always looks good. (This is often a harder task than you would imagine!)
To get the software: http://wordpress.org/
To get the service: http://wordpress.com/