WordPress provides a web-based user interface for designing, publishing, and updating websites. Instead of writing HTML, you can simply choose one of many different website templates or "themes" that has a design you like. You can then modify the layout and build a custom navigation bar. Once the site layout is complete, you can use WordPress' online interface to create individual pages. Each page may include formatted text, links, images, and other media. You can publish completed webpages or blog updates by simply clicking the Publish button.
The WordPress interface makes it easy for anyone without web development experience to create and publish a website. The built-in blogging tools provide a simple way to track individual posts, visitors, and user comments. If WordPress' built-in capabilities are not sufficient for your needs, you can install different plug-ins that provide extra features. Examples include social media buttons, image galleries, and web forum tools.
While there are thousands of WordPress templates and plug-ins available, the WordPress system still has its limitations. Because it is a template-based service, you must begin with a pre-built website rather than create pages from scratch. Additionally, you cannot insert scripts or maintain a database with the same level of control that a custom website offers. Therefore, most companies and large organizations still hand-code websites or develop them using a WYSIWYG editor like Dreamweaver.
For many individuals, however, WordPress provides a great blogging system that is both convenient and free. There is no cost to sign up for WordPress or to use the service. It is even free to publish a custom website or blog at the wordpress.com domain (such as custom-name.wordpress.com). However, if you want a custom website address or need extra features, such as more disk space or premium themes, WordPress offers "Premium" and "Business" services for an annual fee.
Updated: January 22, 2014