In the context of WordPress, page builders are plugins (add-ons) that provide an alternative interface for creating and laying out web pages. Page builders are primarily aimed at DIYers who want to build their own websites but don’t have the HTML & CSS coding skills to create web page layouts with raw code. I have concluded that page builders are not a good solution for me or my clients. In this article I discuss six reasons why page builders are problematic.
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I started building websites with WordPress in 2007. Since then WordPress has been my content management system of choice. Over the years I’ve witnessed a lot of great advances in WordPress. But even back 12 years ago WordPress was a great platform for building websites. I found that I was always able to customise or hack it to achieve what I wanted. For example, WordPress didn’t have navigation menu management features built in. But I was able to write a simple plugin that converted the Blogroll Links Manager feature into a navigation menu manager.
In the last 12 years I’ve witnessed the evolution of WordPress from a blogging-centric system that could be adapted to work as a basic CMS into a full-blown CMS and even a web application framework. Here are some of my favourite WordPress advances:
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Ok, first things, first, who am I to write a review of WordPress? Well, I’m an independent web designer/developer who lives in the small city (pop 50,000ish) of Nelson in New Zealand. I mostly build websites for small local businesses in the Nelson region, sometimes for businesses in other parts of New Zealand and occasionally for clients in Australia, USA and Europe. I’ve been working in this area (small business websites), since 2007 – about a dozen years. I’ve worked with a handful of popular content management systems over the years – Drupal, Joomla, Silverstripe, a funky Apple OS X based one called Manila, some e-commerce specific systems – Magento and Prestashop. I’ve also encountered and worked on a few websites (just a few!) built outside of content management systems – static HTML/CSS, ASP (the old pre-dot Net Active Server Pages), JSP, PHP and, God forbid, even Dreamweaver! But WordPress has been may mainstay since I researched and trialed content management systems back in 2007 and picked WordPress as the CMS that I would focus on.
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Sometimes I find stray p or br tags appearing inside a block of content that I’ve enclosed in shortcodes and this can mess up the layout by adding extra spacing where I don’t want it. It occurs because of the default order in which WordPress processes your content – wpautop (the function which converts line breaks to p or br tags) is run before the shortcodes are processed. Read more »
I was recently having a beer and a chat with a fellow Nelson web developer and discovered that we shared the same favourite content management system. That got us on to talking about what CMSs the other local web design companies here in Nelson build their websites on. My mate told me of a job he turned down because it was an existing website that was built on a content management developed in-house by the original developer of the website and quick look at the structure of the code showed that it was a complicated mess that he didn’t want to get involved with. This reminded me of how important the choice of CMS platform is. Yet very few of my clients have ever asked me about what type of CMS I would use to build their website on. I guess most people are not aware that there is a choice to be made. Read more »
A content management system (abbreviated CMS) allows non-technical people to update and manage a web site without requiring technical knowledge.
At Stellar Web Works we specialise in building web sites on content management systems. We have worked with a number of different content management systems and have come to favour using the popular WordPress platform as our CMS of choice. WordPress is well known as the most widely used blogging platform but what is less well known that it is also an excellent general purpose content management system that makes a great platform for building a wide variety of web sites. WordPress, built with the PHP programming language and MySQL database platform, is very extensible and can be customised to add any special functionality and features that a web site might require. Here are some of the reasons why we think WordPress is a great choice for a CMS:
- Easy to use – the administration interface is logical and intuitive. Even a person with very limited computer skills will have no problem using WordPress to update and manage a web site.
- Search engine friendly – WordPress provides the tools and features that can be used to build a web site that is well optimised for search engines
- Powerful extendible platform – WordPress is designed to be customised and extended by means of building ‘plug-in’ components that can add functionality to cater for the specific needs of a particular web site
- A mature stable platform – WordPress has undergone more than 5 years of active development with new and improved versions being released on a regular basis
- Large active developer community – Many developers create and make available plugins that add new features to the platform so for many special web site requirements, chances are that a plugin has already been created to handle it
- Full flexibility of design and layout of web site – WordPress has a very flexible templating system that allows the web developer complete freedom in designing the web site.