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Why WordPress: Flexible with Themes & Plugins

Why should you use WordPress? Because it’s awesome. There are a ton of reasons why WordPress is a quality platform for building websites. Here’s the latest entry in our Why WordPress series:

WordPress started out as a blogging platform. But today it’s so much more than that. It can run a standard website, whether it’s simple or complex. It can handle e-commerce and social networking. You can use it to share photos or videos. You can even create location-based sites using maps. The only limit is your imagination.

Out of the box, WordPress if a fairly straight-forward blogging and content management system (CMS). But with plugins and themes you can add all kinds of extra features and make WordPress do so much more. It’s flexible.

That means your site can grow as you grow. You may not think you’ll ever need an e-commerce solution, but a few years down the road who knows what you’ll need. With WordPress, you can just add a plugin and you’ll have the functionality you need. With other solutions, you might have to start all over and rebuild your site just to add the functionality you need.

Themes

One of the most flexible features of WordPress are themes. Themes control the look and feel of the site—and the best part? You can swap them out with the click of a button. You can change the entire look of your site in a moment. You don’t have to rebuild or recode your site.

And we’re not just talking colors. Themes can radically change the entire layout of a site. It’s like changing clothes, only better. Right sidebar or left sidebar? One, two or three column layout? A big graphic header or a slim text header that gets straight to the content? A lengthy footer with helpful links and tips or just a simple copyright line? A standard reverse-chronological blog homepage or a big feature graphic with minimal text on the homepage? You can do it all with themes.

This means when it comes time to redesign your site, you don’t have to start from scratch. The backend system can stay the same. You can just update the theme and give your site a new look and feel in a fraction of the time and a fraction of the cost.

There’s also a virtually unlimited supply of themes. There are thousands of free themes out there as well as loads of premium themes. You can also tweak an existing theme or create your own (or hire someone else to create one for you).

Plugins

While themes allow you to do just about anything with the look and feel of the site, plugins allow you to extend the functionality of WordPress.

If WordPress doesn’t do what you want it to do, there’s likely a plugin that will let you do it. Plugins are bits of code that enable WordPress to do more. There are simple plugins that will show quotes in your sidebar or show a list of your most popular posts, and crazy complicated plugins that will turn your site into an e-commerce shop or your own private social network.

This is the flexibility that makes WordPress so great. If it doesn’t do what you want, you don’t have to start over with a whole new system. You can find (or create) a plugin that will do what you want, allowing your site to grow with you. Don’t scrap what you have just because some tiny feature isn’t there. You can find it with plugins.

And just like with themes, there are thousands of plugins out there. There are free plugins and premium plugins. You can easily hire a coder to build the exact plugin you’re looking for.

This ability to add on to your software is at the core of WordPress. It’s designed that way. Try doing that with Microsoft Word.

WordPress has the flexibility you need. And that’s pretty awesome.

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