WordPress features

WordpressLogoTwo Digital Gypsies Rating – 4.5 stars

If you’re traveling or living abroad and want to document your experiences via a blog or website, I would highly recommend building your own WordPress site.

I started using WordPress 3 years ago when I wanted to add a blog page to the website I was building for my business. I was so impressed with it that I added a blog page to my wife’s website and our app development website. WordPress is powerful software and best of all it’s FREE.

On our site here, Two Digital Gypsies, I decided I would build the whole website using WordPress. Some of the many features WordPress offers are:

  • WordPress code is compliant with the standards of the W3C.
  • Want more than just a blog site, it’s easy to add pages to your site with WordPress.
  • Thousands of themes. This was the hardest part for me, trying to decide which theme to go with. If you install a theme and then later find another theme you like better, it is easy to switch themes with just a couple of mouse clicks.
  • Comments. You can enable comments on every page and every blog post, or you can decide which page and which blog posts to allow comments on.
  • Spam protection and easy upgrades. We are currently using the Akismet spam protector and are very happy with how it protects our site from spammers.
  • A nice administration system in which you can set up users as subscribers, administrators, authors, contributors, or editors. On our site I am the administrator and Barbara is an author.
  • Plugins. Like the themes, there are thousands of plugins you can use to customize your site.

These are just a few of the features WordPress has to offer, to see a full list you can visit WordPress’ site.

Wordpress Admin ScreenFinally, the administration panel. This is where you will create all of the great content for your site. On the left is an image of my admin panel, and it to me it is nicely laid out and easy to use.

Click on the image to see a larger view.

Cautionary Notes:

  • Be careful on the themes you pick. Do a little research, see how many times it’s been downloaded and check the theme’s ratings. Make sure the theme is compatible with the version of WordPress you are running. Pick a few themes you like and switch between them to make sure they work. Always make sure you are backed up before you switch a theme.
  • Plugins. Careful here, some plugins work great and some do not. I installed a plugin last night and when I activated the plugin my administration screen went blank. I had to go to the server and manually delete the plugin to get my administration screen back. Check the ratings on the plugin and see how many times it’s been downloaded. A plugin that has been downloaded 100,000 times with a 4 or 5 star rating is probably pretty safe.  Some plugins won’t behave the way you want, but don’t worry, you can deactivate the plugin and find another similar one that will. I will talk about the plugins we’re using on our site in future posts.

Finally, some HTML and CSS knowledge is good to have when working with your WordPress site, because you can further customize and style your site with this knowledge. It’s not required though, you can still create an elegant and functional site without any programming skills. More to come on using WordPress in future posts. Ciao.