Developers – The Case for WordPress

Website designers and developers here in NZ have been slow to adopt the WordPress platform when building websites. Yet across the Tasman, in Europe, Asia, UK and US markets, senior php coders are embracing WordPress, migrating established sites off other ‘more powerful’ open source options like Joomla, Drupal, Dotnetnuke, Silverstripe etc and the thousands of home built proprietary CMS options.

In some cases even big eCommerce platforms like Cubecart, OSCommerce, Magento, OpenCart etc are under threat from the WordPress + Woocommerce combo, which is now the world’s most popular shopping cart option.

Once a simple (free) blogging platform, WordPress has become an adaptable CMS (Content Management System) able to do many things better and more cost-effectively than most. It’s widely used by both amateurs and professionals. From simple blogs to complex corporate sites, directories, membership and ecommerce sites.

Why PHP Developers Should Love WordPress

Firstly, let me state that WordPress is not suitable for every website build. I can think of several scenarios where other CMS platforms like Drupal, Joomla etc would be a safer or  more appropriate choice. However it is usually a far better match for those businesses where the focus of the website is more about ‘being found’ online. For similar effort, a well configured WordPress site with good content will typically get twice the search traffic, in the same time frame, as any other website application. And getting traffic and leads should be the primary goal of any website today.

Where to Start

In September this year, there was a great presentation at the Boston WordCamp, that put the technical case for WordPress to PHP developers…

Why Php Developers Should Leverage WordPressCheckout the slides of this presentation here.

If you want to know more on the WordPress file structure, Brad Parbs did a great presentation at a recent WordCamp. Don’t forget to view his slides.

For new developers to wordpress a good place to start is a good theme template. There is a good framework and child themes around genesis from Studiopress. Woothemes canvas is better for graphic designers with fewer coding skills, liking a drag and drop approach. But not everyone likes using frameworks, believing it adds an unnecessary layer to wordpress. But once figured out, I know it can save coding time on most projects. And time is money.

There’s countless starter toolsets for coders for new WordPress theme creation. Themeshaper.com website from Automattic is definitely worth a look. Interesting that these WordPress guys advise against the popular Bootstrap as a starting point.

I personally prefer and recommend the child theme approach, as does WordPress. In my case I build a genesis framework child theme from a supplied PSD or similar. But as in any CMS platform, coders will argue the merits of one technique over another.

Other WordPress Meetups

Locally, Melbourne is very active both for WordPress User Meetups and for WordCamps. The long term goal of our Auckland group is to mimic what the Auzzies offer with both amateur and developer nights. More details in the new year in our upcoming ‘Tech/Advanced’ meetups on WordPress…..

Tips from a Freelance Developer – Becky Davis

Wordcamp is a great resource for designers and developers, learning from the experiences of others, sharing and learning. Below is one of the better presentations for us developers….  Link to the original post and slides…

Her talk of sharing I agree with. Let’s collaborate, not compete. There’s ample opportunities for all if we work together.

Tips from Developer Blair Willians

Here’s the guy that coded the amazing memberpress plugin. Coding for wordpress for 4 years, talks of his experience and direction coders should take to make money.

Make more money with WordPress – Sales Tips

Here’s a great presentation by Troy Dean in Auzzie, who helps developers make more of their skills, get better clients and get more profitable work..

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