I Know HTML, CSS, and JavaScript… Why Use WordPress?

Photo of Sonic, One of My Old Guinea Pigs - Unrelated to the Content in This Post

A lot of developers who aren’t in the WordPress space ask me why they should use WordPress. Most WP developers would probably agree with me that two of the biggest reasons are:

  • To provide clients/companies with a Content Management System that is easy to use and doesn’t require experience in HTML.
  • To utilize the already built-in functionality and build on top of it.

The Content Management Aspect

Content Management Systems make it so that the developer building the site can empower others to provide and input text and graphics into the site. This frees the developer up to focus on structure, functionality, and bug fixes, rather than spending time working on content.

Why Use WordPress Over Another CMS
Since WordPress powers 27.8% of the web, the chances of a client/company being familiar with its admin layout and features are pretty high. The next leading CMS out there is Joomla, powering only 3.3% of the web. A benefit to having such a giant user base is the user research that comes from that. Since it’s used by such a wide variety of people, the resulting interface and functionality (should) be more intuitive than other systems. Consistency and repetition will help

Existing Functionality in Core

Just because WordPress started as a blogging system, doesn’t mean it stayed that way. I’ve written before about the various ways WordPress can be used. Most of those utilize custom post types, custom taxonomies, and custom fields. Each provides a way to extend the functionality of WordPress beyond just “Pages” and “Posts.” These structures are useful when creating an admin experience specific to the client or business you are working with. Consider if you created a website for an artist to use as a portfolio. Telling them to add their new projects under “Projects” and use “Medium” to define whether it was a painting, sculpture, etc. make a lot more sense than telling them to add them under “Posts” and use “Categories.” Another piece of functionality that is nice to have pre-built is the login ability. There are easy ways to hook into the login page and admin screens to customize the experience without having to recreate anything.

For more on functionality improvements in WordPress, check out WordPress Through The Ages.

Another compelling argument to learn WordPress is that it can be a good starting point for developing database-driven sites. I didn’t know any PHP and couldn’t tell you what MySQL even was when I got started developing WordPress themes. Since the learning curve is low and there’s great documentation, I’ve had the chance to learn about a lot of other technologies.

Using WordPress allows you to simplify your clients’ work as well as your own and can open you up to more possibilities with your development career.