WordPress Power

I start to tap into the power of WordPress for Web publishing.

WordPress is an Open Source blogging tool. At least that’s how it’s promoted. But it’s so much more than that.

WordPress is a highly customizable Web publishing platform. With WordPress, a server, and a little ingenuity, you can build a Web site with nicely formatted static and dynamic pages. New content can be added by anyone you give access to. Site visitors can add comments — if you allow them to. Best of all, because it’s based on a blog engine, blogging features apply: date-based content display, automatic archiving of content, support for pinging and trackbacks — the list goes on and on.

I started getting a real feel for WordPress when I started rebuilding wickenburg-az.com, a Web site I have been maintaining since 1999 to provide information about the town I live in, Wickenburg, AZ. I started off keeping it simple, choosing a nice looking theme called Connections by Patricia Muller to control the appearance of the site. I immediately started tweaking the theme, changing the link colors and the header image. Then, after I had some content added, I continued tweaking by adding more features: automatic article author images, Webcams, random list of articles on topics pages, random header images, site statistics, weather, donation button, calendar of upcoming events, and Technorati tags. I added some “under the hood” features, too: comment spam protection, automated database backup, and sticky posts (which can glue a post to the top of the Home page until I release it). Right now, I’m trying to add the Users Online feature I have on this site, but I’m running into a page formatting problem and still need to work out the details to get it to work.

Every change I make to the site teaches me something about the way WordPress works. I learn more about HTML, PHP, CSS, MySQL, and Apache every day. For years, I’ve avoided digging deeply into advance Web publishing coding because I knew so little about it. Now I’m forcing myself to learn by working with it daily. I love the challenge. And I love applying the things I learned yesterday to the things I do tomorrow.

I’ll be writing more about WordPress in the weeks to come, so if you’re a WordPress user or are just curious about it, I hope you’ll keep checking in. Together, we’ll learn more about this great Web publishing tool.

What do you think?