Over the last couple of months, I’ve been using WordPress – partly out of curiosity (I’ve never used it before) and partly out of necessity. I’ve been really impressed at how well it works! Well mostly – I had bit of a problem with a plugin the other day, but it was all good in the end. I’ve used the free and hosted versions.
What I have been wondering though, is about the templates I use. I love designing websites, but building many sites from the ground up is time consuming and not particularly cost effective, and there are lots of things you do over and over again. Yes, you can use software like Dreamweaver to create templates and copy them, but that can still be a slow process. Using WordPress templates is a very easy way of getting a site started, with a framework you can worth within, and options to customise from there. And there are so many free ones, and even more premium ones to choose from.
So is that “cheating” by using someone else’s design?
It’s easy to say that anyone can create a site using WordPress, and yes of course you can. But, my experience has been that if you don’t know what you’re doing, i.e.: have anything from a reasonable to expert level of knowledge about html, css and a host of other things that go to creating a website or blog, it can be tricky! Even tracking down plugins to use needs a reasonable level of knowledge about what the impact might be on your site, and how you are going to manage it after you’ve installed it (or indeed how to fix it if it goes pear-shaped!).
Personally, I felt like a bit of a fraud when I set up my first site using a paid WordPress template, but over a period of time, I’ve come to accept that really I’m just using the framework provided and have customised and made it my own! Just the same as if I was using any number of other tools – Joomla, Drupal, Weebly, Webs, Blogger, wordpress.com, and a host of others to set up a website or blog. If I hand-coded a site, I’d still use scripts and other elements to make my image gallery work, or use a “slider” on my home page. I should also say here, that I do still use Dreamweaver when I’m writing html or css, and still hand-code sites but not as often as I used to!
So I’m viewing WordPress as a fabulous content management system that can be used for blogs AND websitesAs long as what you’re using is fit for purpose, and gives you the framework to do what you need to do, I reckon it’s all good!