Today marks the launch of my website.
It is built on the popular WordPress content management system (CMS) platform, which at this writing constitutes around 34% of all websites on the Internet, according to Kinsta.
I first used WordPress in 2012. I was frustrated, however, by the fact that I could not get it to do what I wanted. Researching solutions it became clear that learning some HTML would help. So, I decided to do that and then return to WordPress. As it turns out, I spent the next seven years learning not only HTML but several other web languages, becoming a full-stack PHP developer and not developing in WordPress at all.
For no specific reason, I decided to take another look at WordPress in 2019. I didn’t have expectations; I didn’t wonder if I would see changes, which means I didn’t think that I would. I spent a few months studying custom development of WordPress, the WordPress hierarchy and template system. WordPress is written in PHP, and because of my PHP skills, the functions.php content not only made sense to me, but I was quite impressed by the evolution of its functions and the brilliance behind its use of action and filter hooks in a page lifecycle. WordPress comes with a huge number of functions that will do tons of work that a developer otherwise has to do. Instead of having to develop functions, pretty much anything that you can think of to do has a function. Just call the function and it will return what you need. In a word, I was amazed what changed in seven years.
What is a plugin? A plugin is code designed to perform something specific that is integrated into a WordPress install. Codeinwp reports that there are over 50,000 WordPress plugins. An example is a plugin that makes it easy to create a form. A form plugin can make it easier to create a form compared to writing the HTML and CSS from scratch.
Another example is a plugin that will export the files and database from a WordPress site on a local machine into one file. Then by using the same plugin on a fresh install at the host server, you can import the data by uploading the file. The plugin does all the work. It even include find and replace functionality that will change domain data to reflect what’s necessary as the production site.
Plugin developers have done amazing work. For example, creating a custom post type to expand WordPress’s power to manage data requires writing PHP code in functions.php. To do this, it’s usually necessary to reference WordPress’s developer documentation to decide what options you want to include. Having the skills to do this is great, but once you experience how easy it is to create and edit custom post types using a top-rated plugin, even a developer finds the plugin more convenient and time-saving. And time-saving, of course, translates into cost savings for clients.
As noted above, WordPress makes a lot of sense. It’s popularity is well-deserved and it continues to undergo improvements and its users continue to benefit from the work of plugin developers. Everything keeps getting better.
These developments make it possible for low-budget projects to get produced, opening up a large market. It depends on how much work a client wants to do. The more they want to do themselves, the lower the cost to launch the site.