Today we’ll be taking a look at the different options you have for creating a WordPress-powered website. Your ultimate choice will probably be based on your level of expertise in WordPress and coding in general, as well as the budget you have for developing your site.
So let’s take a brief look at all the options:
Start a blog on WordPress.com
This is the easiest and probably the cheapest option to go for. You can sign up at www.wordpress.com and immediately start using the WordPress platform to start developing your blog or site. For a detailed comparison of wordpress.com with wordpress.org click here. The quick answer is that WordPress.com provides you with all the basic features you need to start publishing, however you are restricted to the themes provided by the platform, and have your hands tied when it comes to customisations. The positive side is that it is really easy to set up and hosting is managed by the platform itself, meaning less headaches about technical details for you.
Start a site on Page.ly
Page.ly launched in 2009 as the first WordPress specific host and continues to innovate and lead the growing field. It is similar to WordPress.com but gives you more flexibility as you can install any theme or plugin that you want. It is also a paid platform, unlike wordpress.com (http://page.ly/plans-pricing/). It promises ultra-secure hosting and no downtime.
Use WordPress open source + Free or Paid Theme
WordPress is of course available as an Open-Source system from www.wordpress.org. You can thus install it on your own virtual private server and be up and running in a few minutes. You can then install a free or paid plugin to get the look you want. There are many sources from where you can get a theme, for example woothemes.com or themeforest.com.
Use WordPress open source + Your Own Theme
If you have the technical knowledge or are willing to contract a developer, you can use WordPress and build a fully customised theme for your business. This is of course the most expensive option however going down this road will ensure that you have the closest fit for your business or idea.
As a developer, most of my work involves building themes from scratch for clients. At Isle Creative we have developed our own framework, which means that we have a collection of code that we reuse for each project. The design of each website is however built from scratch and then converted to clean HTML and CSS. Following that we convert it into a WordPress theme by including all the WordPress tags and functionality, including customisation of the WordPress admin area as per the needs of our client.
You can also find some WordPress code frameworks available online. Here are a few of these:
This framework’s code is completely free and open source. You can use it for creating publicly-downloadable themes, client work, or even a commercial theme business.
The Carrington Core platform was built for the entire WordPress development community. Developers love the reduced reliance on custom code and the resulting ease of site maintenance and upkeep. Designers love being able to apply different visual treatments to different areas or the site and specific pieces of site content without having to write any PHP code. For a WordPress theme professional, it’s the best thing since sliced bread.
Being a full-time WordPress developer I am happy to dive into the coding side of themes, so I usually start by converting the PSD into plain HTML and CSS. Then when I’m happy that it’s validating perfectly and everything is pixel perfect, I’ll start converting it into a fully functional WordPress theme. As a start I integrate my own framework of code functions which I tend to use in all projects, and I also use code from frameworks such as Starkers Theme or any of these others to speed up the process and make sure that I’m always building using the same standards.
Why don’t I use a framework like Carrington or Hybrid? Well, I prefer to build everything from scratch without being confined to follow certain coding patterns, although I certainly see the value of such frameworks. As an experiment, WPMayor itself was built on Hybrid and it certainly was quite a pleasant experience. So I don’t rule out integrating frameworks into my workflow in the future.
If you are wondering, yes, building almost everything from scratch means more development time and therefore the need for a bigger budget. I am in fact thinking about starting to use theme builders such as iThemes Builder or Carrington Build to quickly build WordPress websites for low-budget clients whose main priority is that of putting their content online with a particular structure and a decent design. I think these two builders would be excellent for this purpose as they will enable me to create WordPress websites that are well-coded but take much less time to develop, meaning savings for the end client.
Your thoughts? Comments below!
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