And don’t get me wrong – I do love WordPress. It’s incredibly powerful, super flexible, and it allows me to build sites that my clients can then take to the next level on their own without having to learn code.
But what about other technologies and techniques – don’t those deserve a fair shake too?
I don’t choose WordPress so often because it’s better than the other solutions out there. I choose it when it’s the best tool for the job at hand.
If the job at hand is putting a nail through a piece of wood, you can use a wrench or a screwdriver, but I think we can all agree that either a hammer or a nail gun is the right tool for the job. Likewise, if the job at hand is a blog or a small business web site that the client can update themselves when necessary, WordPress is very often the right tool for the job.
As WordPress continues to grow and mature, it becomes a suitable tool for more and more types of sites – from photo galleries to shopping carts and other things you might not even imagine WordPress can do.
Best. Feature. Ever.
But probably the best feature of WordPress can’t be found in the downloaded zip file. The best thing WordPress has going for it is the community of talented, generous, and friendly people who share knowledge, contribute themes and plugins, answer questions on the forums, and write tutorials.
I got excited about the community surrounding WordPress a few years ago when I decided to attend WordCamp San Francisco 2007 on a whim. I was blown away by my experience there.
When I learned about Meetup.com, the first thing I searched for was ‘WordPress’. And I was so happy to find a local group! I joined immediately. The group seemed to consist of 5-6 people who met for coffee Sunday afternoons in Long Beach.
Then, unexpectedly, the organizer of the group decided to step down. A new organizer had to step in or the group would cease to exist. I waited past the first, second, and third messages, and then finally bit the bullet and decided to become the organizer.
That was in May 2009. Since then, the little group who met for coffee on Sunday afternoons has grown to be over 350 members strong. At our last meeting, ten WordPress experts in a variety of fields graciously fought rush-hour Los Angeles traffic just to donate their time to answering the questions of the people who gathered that night. It was nothing short of magic.
You can’t ignore the power of such a community when considering WordPress as a solution for your project. You’ll find this community is the ultimate resource for figuring out any problems that pop up or helping you add functionality to your site that WordPress doesn’t support out of the box. It seems like no matter what you’re trying to do and how crazy it seems, there’s always someone who’s done it before. And not only are they willing to show off the results of their work, but they’re usually willing to show you how you can do it too.