WordPress.org is an open-source, content management system (CMS). So for the rest of this article, unless otherwise specified, when you see the word “WordPress”, I’m referring to the .org version, not the .com one. I’ll explain the differences further down.
The basic function of a CMS is to store and manage all forms of digital content, like blogs, websites, videos, and images. But not all CMSs are equal and similar, there are quite a lot differences. This article is focusing on introducing WordPress.org to
- business people with websites,
- content creators,
- and marketers.
Today I am going to list some of the features of this content management system, that makes blogging, publishing online, and monetizing your site so accessible to anyone. This will give you an idea of what is the content management systems, like WordPress, are used for. The advantages of open-source software then become obvious.
WordPress is just one of many CMSs (Content Management Systems). A CMS is a software application that makes it possible for anyone to create, edit, and publish content without knowing how to code because it is very user friendly and easy to use. But why is WordPress different from other CMSs, including WordPress.com?
Today you will get to know what is WordPress is and what is it’s use. And what the differences between open-source software and proprietary (or closed) software are.
Let’s jump straight in!
What are Content Management Systems (CMSs)? Content is King!
Content management systems are software applications used to market your brand, business, products, and services, mainly through the use of creative, accurate, innovative content. I mention “accuracy” purely from an ethical point of view. And “innovative” because the better your content, the more valuable your blog or website is once you establish your content as more than a commodity. Content creation and content marketing are the most popular form of advertising right now, especially on digital platforms. So to create exceptional content you need to:
- have the right tools,
- and the right CMS,
- be able to monetize your site,
- and also sell products straight to consumers, from your online store, using plugins like WooCommerce.
Many small businesses don’t have the budget to hire professional digital marketing agencies to help design and develop both front and back-end applications. So one can hire a Professional Developer through sites like Codeable, to take care of these tasks. Using open-source WordPress allows you and your business far more freedom than using proprietary CMSs.
The best way to clear up the confusion people have between open and closed source CMS platforms and WordPress.org vs WordPress.com is to go back to the beginning, where it all started.
The History, Creation, and Evolution of WordPress
WordPress is the perfect example of how open-source communities work to make user-friendly, efficient, cutting-edge software that remains free.
In wordpress.org’s own words, “WordPress was born out of a desire for an elegant, well-architectured personal publishing system built on PHP and MySQL and licensed under the GPL.” It was designed with the “purpose of being a mature, stable product, focused on user experience and in line with web standards.” As time goes on, new updated versions keep coming out with improvements to bug fixes, security, and stability.
WordPress aims to remain inclusive, available to everyone, with or without coding skills. It is designed for:
Basic WordPress will get any novice up and running their blog in no time. The main purpose of it’s design is to keep publishing democratized. The worpress.org site slogan reads, “The freedom to build. The freedom to change. The freedom to share.” And that, in essence, is what WordPress is about.
Before Matt Mullenweg developed WordPress he was part of b2/cafelog. This software was discontinued by the developers discontinued this software and a gap was left. It was quickly filled by Matt, along with Mike Little, and they developed a new platform based on b2/cafelog.
A little bit of history
In 2003, Matt introduced the first WordPress version. It was an improved version of b2/cafelog. It had new templates that were XHTML 1.1 compliant, as well as a new admin interface. The blogging world was about to change!
But as the open-source, WordPress software was bringing new freedoms to developers, designers, and users, the closed source platforms, like Moveable Type, were becoming more restrictive, bringing in new licensing conditions.
In 2004, WordPress 1.2 was released with extended functionality that allowed users to create and share their own plugins. This was due to the new plugin architecture of WP 1.2.
2005 saw versions 1.5 and 2.0 being introduced and WordPress could officially be called a content management system.
As of 2022, over 40% of all sites are on WordPress (org and com). The platform has improved the blogging industry. In the process, creating millions of jobs and opportunities for small, individually-run blogs to companies and large enterprises to grow, expand and become digital in their marketing methods.
What has changed?
As the versions improved, the following features developed: (Note: much of the wording below is taken from the wordpress.org’s official site for accuracy and clarity.)
- Version 2.0 (Duke) brought in “persistent caching”, a new user role system, and new backend UI.
- WYSIWYG editing allowed content to include “inline image, video, and file uploads.”
- Post previewing let users check their posts before going live.
- Theme functions and enhanced plugin hooks, with extended features, were added, thereby improving developers’ abilities to create better themes (with code) .
2007 saw three new versions introduced, adding the following:
- New UI.
- Autosave and spell-check.
- Ability to switch between content and code editor.
- No-indexing was added for search engine privacy.
- Rewrites for safer MySQL queries were made.
- Plugins and filters were optimized for speed.
- Introduction of Widgets.
- Php mailer was added, which supported SMTP mail.
- Tagging, update notifications, attractive URL fixes were added.
- A new taxonomy system was developed.
Versions continued to improve the WordPress experience and by 2009, version 2.9 (Carmen) arrived, having had the collaboration of over 140 contributors. The following additions and improvements appeared:
- Image editing.
- Trash/Undo feature.
- Bulk plugin updating.
- oEmbed support – This allows 3rd parties to provide content that “integrates seamlessly”.
- HTTP user requests, user profiles, author links, further taxonomies, SSL support, tag clouds, and so much more.
With each version, improvements and additions continued to expand. This is the joy of open-source. Here is a short list with only a few of the features that have been added since 2009, right up until August 2022: (For a full list, visit wordpress.org’s official site. There you’ll see the complete WordPress Release Archive.)
- Magazine style default themes.
- Streamlined widget section.
- Security updates.
- Color schemes become available to the Admin experience.
- Auto-installation of language files.
- Another magazine default theme is released.
- More security updates follow.
- Added audio and video playlist support.
- Visual Editor came with increased speed, accessibility, and mobile use.
- Media library and plugin installations became available in a grid view.
- There is easy “drag and drop from desktop” feature for uploading images.
- Local “draft saving to the browser” feature was added.
- Responsive images, embeddable posts, and another new default theme, “Twenty Sixteen” arrived, during 2015, which saw 3 new versions come out.
- Dynamic plugin updates meant no more reloading from multiple pages.
- Database encoding went from utf8 to utf8mb4.
- Added emoji support appeared.
- 2018 saw the introduction of a new block-based edition.
- 2021 version 5.8 was released. This version had 530 collaborators/contributors.
- January 2022 version 5.9 Josephine was released. It has new default theme “Twenty Twenty – Two”.
Fast forward to May 2022, and we have version 6 (Arturo). This version had 500+ collaborators/contributors. Gutenberg writing improvements were made, it has multiple style variations and expanded themes options for block Themes. It has many integrated patterns and many design tools. These are among the few features of this release. And the constant innovation that comes with each new version is nowhere near slowing down
Is Self-Hosted WordPress Free?
But this is madness! Here is a CMS platform that literally evolves two to three times every year. And with each version, there are hundreds of people contributing to keeping this open-source CMS platform free! Not only that, but when a work environment is about sharing ideas freely, challenging each other to keep thinking creatively, and encouraging teamwork to compete, while simultaneously working toward the same goal – mutual respect and novel ideas flow naturally.
Improvements are done on every level. Backend and front-end developers and designers keep their skills cutting edge by engaging in this type of open-source technology. Features become more sophisticated.
Other drawcards that make WordPress the best CMS include:
- Innovative expansions,
- Dynamic, responsive modifications,
- Over 55,000 plugins available,
- Support forums,
- Free resources that will blow your mind,
- Tutorial for everyone. (Whether you are a novice blogger or an experienced developer).
WordPress is free. It is designed for users to create content in multiple formats using text, images, video clips, and audio. You can edit, publish, unpublish, make your own changes, or stick to the basic settings; to get a jump start into the blogging industry. Design your blog, become a contributor, get involved in WordPress initiatives (Like Five for the Future), or start an online store. The only cost you need to layout is hosting platform fee. When you buy hosting you can install your WordPress blog with ease.
Most hosting platforms like Bluehost, Hostgator, or GoDaddy have specialized WordPress hosting packages that allow you to move your WordPress blog over to them. You can migrate to almost any platform you choose. And install your WordPress blog with one click. Or if you already have a blog and a domain name you just need to buy hosting to get your content to go live. If you just want to play around first you can install WordPress, totally free, onto your laptop and work on it offline. All you need to do is unpack or copy the files to your local site directory, and off you go.
Do You Get What WordPress Is Now? And What You Can Use It For?
I hope that’s a resounding yes I hear! WordPress is a CMS that is open-source, self-hosted, and free so You can get as technical with it as you like or keep it simple. If your time is scarce, reach out to me or one of the many developers at Codeable, for quotes. You will get a blog that is yours. Every thing will be yours so you own your content, you control whether to run ads or to stay ad-free. You can become an affiliate marketer, an online store, or an add-on blog to your existing website. You keep control and ownership of your content, for free!
WordPress.org is a CMS that you can use to build your brand through content marketing and SEO. Accordingly you can increase your customer base using multiple digital marketing strategies, proven to boost blog traffic. More traffic through your site creates new leads and conversions.In addition to that you can link to your social network profiles like LinkedIn and Instagram and increase your online presence. Add as many plugins as you like to craft your personal or business blog into a money-making masterpiece. Or a platform created for social activism and justice. From here you can create online communities or target your niche audience. WordPress is a CMS with tools and resources like no other.
Would you like to know more about WordPress, hiring a consultant through Codeable, how to start your own WordPress blog, or discover where to find the best niche blogs on the web? If yes, check out the rest of our articles and resources at blogonyourown.com.
If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you. Keep it styling and keep it open-source.