WordPress is a web authoring software package that is designed to be easy to use and free for the downloading. The creators of the software describe WordPress as follows: "WordPress is a state-of-the-art semantic personal publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, web standards, and usability. What a mouthful. WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time."
Both large and small websites are run on WordPress. As I have researched the use of WordPress on the internet I have been amazed to see the number and variety of entities that use WordPress in some way. Many use it as it comes straight out of the box (so to speak). Others tailor and customize it to suit their particular business or corporate needs. WordPress allows the user to be as simple as to require virtually no previous experience or to be as creative as their web programming skills allow. One example of a large entity that uses WordPress for many of its numerous websites is Power to Change (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ Canda. View a list of their other sites at TruthMedia).
WordPress was initially designed to be primarily a blogging platform. However it is so flexible that it can be used in almost any capacity as a Web Content Management System running websites as complicated as a major business might need or as simple as a personal blog.
So what is so great about it for the local church? Here is a list of things that I particularly appreciate about WordPress:
- WordPress is free! It is released under what is known as a General Public License.
- WordPress is very easy to use. Here is how the creators of the program describe what they intend it to be: "We are proud to offer you a freely distributed, standards-compliant, fast, light and free personal publishing platform, with sensible default settings and features, and an extremely customizable core." (Read more here). All of our faculty here at Northwest have become adept at using it.
- WordPress has a significant community of web developers who test it, create additional features for it (called plugins), and use it themselves.
- There are a number of web hosting companies that provide the initial installation of WordPress automatically. There is a page on the WordPress website listing some of them. These hosting companies will often even assist you with your domain name if needed (for a fee, of course).
- WordPress comes with a default theme. There are, however, hundreds of great themes available to choose from on the internet. If you have some web programming experience you can create your own theme or customize the default theme. The main Northwest website (where you are reading this) is based on a version of the default WordPress theme that I customized to suit our needs. Larry Perkins’ and Mark Naylor’s websites are based on a slightly customized version of a theme called K2.
So, that gives some of the features of WordPress and why I think it is a great resource for church websites.