I do web development at work, and I’ve done it as my primary occupation and I’ve done it as a side thing because I’ve had the need.
Many moons ago, I did some web development work for friends. Flat HTML, mixed style and content, all the wrong stuff. You know because you’ve been there. Then I learned some CSS and revamped the site to be themeable – simply change the CSS include and you’re off and running with a completely new look ‘n feel. Cool!
But the site was still manual. So I was determined to fix that and created a “loop” that dynamically built the page with include files, and dynamically highlighted the page you were on, etc. Mostly some “post” and “get” parameters with some basic PHP. Simple, easy CMS.
Not that they did – they still came to me for updates, mostly, but they could if they wanted to.
Soon after, I had a growing need to automate several things and to add a lot of features to the site… and that’s when I discovered Wordpress. Now, don’t get me wrong, Wordpress isn’t a panacea, but the way it works was VERY similar to what I had engineered, only that team had already done work I was looking to do. Why reinvent the wheel?
- The “loop.” It’s very good, it’s easy to understand, so it’s easy to hack, as needed
- CSS-based themes. “Nuff said.
- Customizable themes. Or do your own themes from scratch. Excellent.
- Open source. I’m a huge advocate of open source and this will always sway me.
- Plugins… open plugin system means that anyone can make plugins, so Wordpress essentially becomes infinitely extensible. You can add a lot of features very quickly.
- Popularity. So many people are using it, you’ll have a vast community from which to draw upon for help/support
- The pros use it. See Wired’s webmonkey blog, for example.
- Responsive / quick development. My host, HostGator, does the Wordpress updates in one click. Which is great since Wordpress responds to user feedback and updates frequently.
- Post from anywhere – you can post from an email, you can post from Google docs, you can post from Firefox… I simply post from the Admin area of my Wordpress installation, but I have flexibility and I like that
- It’s easy. Really, just install it, browse around for themes and plugins and howtos, install what you like, and you’re off and running. It can take some time, but it’s worthwhile to learn how to do lots of things with Wordpress.