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Pulling the Plug on Plugins
Things we hear almost every day

The basics of web design and development are well chronicled through organizations dedicated to the medium like the World Wide Web Consortium  and others that are hell bent on influencing standards to support "anything but Microsoft". And there's the myriad of awards given annually like the Webby Awards for web design, interactive design, and so on that recognize achievements in the medium and beyond.  In all of these I see a steady, careful consistency - very few of the websites that are set forth as examples by these groups are based on WordPress themes.
 
I have to disclose that I am biased, but we have also seriously considered the differences between WordPress and "traditional" websites. So let's start with WordPress - below are the top definitions and descriptions of WordPress Theme based on a recent search at Google:
 
1) Blog presentation designs offered by WordPress www.masterbloggers.com/2011/blogging/blogging-glossary-q-to-z

2) Also called simply themes, those are templates created for WordPress blogs (notice that you might also have themes or templates for other platforms like Movable Type of Blogger. www.dailyblogtips.com/the-bloggers-glossary

3) WordPress comes with a full theme system which makes designing everything from the simplest blog to the most complicated webzine a piece of cake, and you can even have multiple themes with totally different looks that you switch with a single click. Have a new design every day. www.wayneconcepts.com/store/wordpress-blogging-site

4) Chinese Military Shovel WJQ-308 (HQ www.soldiersperspective.com/2010/06/old-army-terminology

The one consistent reference in all of these definitions is the word "blog". Now let's consider that the definition of blog is:
 
"A website on which an individual or group of users record opinions, information, etc. on a regular basis."

The Basis of Our Argument

The word "blog" is a simplification of "web log". A web log is a way to create a conversation "thread" allowing people to interact in a chronological or linear fashion. By its nature a blog is a useful tool for carrying on conversations, keeping track of "posts" and so on. The very nature of a blog is the biggest hurdle a blog development consortium like WordPress has to get around and they do it with plug-ins.
 
Plug-ins re the tools of choice for extending the capabilities of the WordPress blog environment. And therein lies the issue. Virtually all plug-ins are developed and hosted by third party developers. So when you have a WordPress website you may have 8 to 10 different developers involved with hosting and maintaining different parts of your website.
 
I like WordPress! Don't get me wrong, there is a lot to be said for the basic simplicity of the WordPress Blog and what a user can do with it. Getting beyond the basics and you're wander into the realm of plug-ins and themes. And you'll find yourself spending much more maintaining the functionality of your "website" than you may have considered.
 
The content management system (CMS) at the heart of WordPress also leaves a lot of needed functionality on the table. It isn't a great tool for categorizing content and the content's layout and style is overly dependent on the theme's cascading style sheet for how everything will look. We use the same WYWSIWG editor and CSS tools to provide our user community with content development and management capabilities. But we go well beyond creating a basic "post".
 
So, if you want to have a virtually 100% self-contained website that doesn't rely on plug-ins and inherently complex themes, then stick to getting a website design and developed by a professional website design and development firm who uses dedicated tools like WebAdmin. You'll spend less time worrying about your plug-ins and more time running your business!
 
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Tags: web design  development  wordpress  plugins 


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