Website and WordPress: What’s the Difference?
If you’re reading this, I’ll assume you’re either a web developer or someone who has at least dabbled in web design. Or maybe even both! Web developers typically work with content management systems (CMS) – which is what this article will focus on – to build sites while web designers work with markup languages like HTML to put together the look and feel of a website. Sometimes this means they’ll work together to create an amazing website, but more often than not it means they’ll work at cross purposes: web designers wanting to make their mark on the world in a creative and original way – but without necessarily knowing the first thing about programming.
Web Developers Need To Know More Than Just HTML And CSS
The reality is that web developers need to have a firm grasp on PHP, MySQL, and other databases so they can programmatically insert, delete, and update content as needed. They also need to know how to design and build an incredible user experience (UX) into their sites. This is where the creative part comes in – which is why it’s essential that web designers are also comfortable with design software like Adobe Creative Suite. Not only does this help them become more comfortable with creative tasks, but it also helps them see the bigger picture and how their work will impact the user experience when they are working in the back end.
What Is A CMS?
A content management system is a piece of software that helps you create and manage websites. It is a bit like a task manager for websites. Think of WordPress as the poster child for CMS software. When you create a website with WordPress, you’re actually using a CMS to do all the work. As a result, WordPress is incredibly popular among web developers because it is so easy to use and there are so many third-party plugins (i.e. extensions) available for it. You don’t need to know how to code to use WordPress, but you will need to know how to code to build a custom theme for it (more on that below).
CMSs like WordPress are extremely versatile. They can handle just about anything you could want them to and are incredibly stable. However, it’s important to note that they’re not indestructible. They need to be updated and maintained which means someone has to keep checking for viruses, keeping up with the latest software, and fixing any issues that might arise. For this reason, it is critical that you pick a CMS that is actively maintained and updated by a team of experts so you can be sure it will always be available when you need it. If you do go with an older and less maintained CMS, you might find that the community around it has dwindled and the chances of you getting help when you need it is slim to none. On the other hand, if you pick a fresh new CMS – especially one designed with web developers in mind – you can rest assured that everything will be taken care of and you will have a blast building your site.
Working With A Theme And A Plugin
When we talk about creating a custom WordPress theme, what we usually mean is building on top of one of the many available free themes or buying a prebuilt WordPress theme from a reputable supplier (most themes are designed with a business in mind and as a result are pretty expensive).
You will need to have some basic familiarity with CSS to create a theme, but you don’t necessarily have to be a pro to do it. There are hundreds – if not thousands – of WordPress themes out there designed by experts and enthusiasts who just want to make sure you have a good experience when building a site with WordPress. If you find a theme that you like and that suits your needs, you can dig in and build on it. Alternatively, you can fork it and customize it to your liking.
WordPress comes with a handful of built-in plugins that can help you do almost anything that you could want with a WordPress site. There is a plugin for just about any need you might have and because they are built with the web developer in mind, they are extremely easy to use. If you need to, you can learn how to use them simply by Googling the title of the plugin.
For example, if you want to show related posts for a specific post (like a product or service page on a website), you can use the Related posts plugin.
If you’re looking to add a bit of magic to your site, you can use the WooCommerce plugin. With this plugin, you can add a shop to your site that will allow you to sell anything from clothes to digital goods (like downloads, buttons, etc.).
WordPress also has a built-in spam filter that is automatically activated whenever you log in. This filter helps protect you from getting spam in your comment section. You can learn more about the spam filter here. This filter works surprisingly well and is actually quite easy to use. Simply go to Settings > Comments and set the setting for automatic spam filtering to On.
The Bottom Line
So what’s the difference between a website and a WordPress-based site? At its most basic level, a website is just a collection of web pages that you can access via a web browser while a WordPress site is a collection of web pages that are stored in a database and powered by WordPress. When it comes down to it, a website is just a fancy name for a blog.
If you’re looking for a one-stop shop for all you web development needs, you can use these two terms (i.e. website and WordPress) interchangeably because they are essentially synonyms.