How to Start a Municipal Website on WordPress

Many cities, large and small, struggle with website upkeep and management. It can be a cumbersome process to find someone to handle it on an hourly basis or, at best, once or twice a week. As a result, many cities have turned to shared hosting or bought a small, single-purpose hosting plan. This is far from ideal because it is, essentially, one site per person, per hosting plan. What this means is that each resource-intensive task (like installing a new plugin, or updating a theme) requires another hit on their web hosting plan’s limit, eating into their overall internet bandwidth and slowing down their website. This is clearly not a sustainable model.

This is where WordPress comes in. With its robust functionality and ease of use, coupled with the fact that virtually any modern theme can be customized to look like a real newspaper or magazine website, it has become the default choice for many cities seeking a better solution.

Why WordPress?

WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS) and is, essentially, a blogging platform. However, it is so much more than that. WordPress can handle multiple types of content (think: news stories, blog posts, galleries, etc.), it provides structured tags and automated SEO (Search Engine Optimization), it allows for comments, and it is open source, which means it is free. If you are seeking a content-managed system to host your website on, WordPress is the clear choice.

The Basics Of A WordPress Website

WordPress can be accessed by anyone who has internet connectivity and a web browser. To set up a WordPress site, you will need:

  • A WordPress account
  • A web hosting plan (this can be either premium or free)
  • A domain name (this will be your or
  • A MySQL database (this can be either free or premium)
  • PHP version 5.2 or greater
  • XHTML standards compliant web pages
  • A modern web browser
  • And, of course, you will need to install WordPress onto your local server.

Once you have all of those items in place, you can start building your website. WordPress’s front-end (what visitors see when they visit your website) is powered by the WordPress admin dashboard. This is where you will manage all of your content and settings.

From a design standpoint, your WordPress website will need a clear call to action (CTA) at the very top of the page. Most WordPress themes come with a predefined CTA, but if you are seeking more control, you can download and install a free CTA plugin from WordPress Apps.

From a functionality standpoint, you will want your website to be as mobile-friendly as possible. To do this, you can either re-design your site to meet the basic requirements of a mobile-friendly website (typically a small header image, large clickable buttons, and simple text layout) or, you can use a free WordPress plugin called Mobile Menu.

At the end of the day, a WordPress website is just like any other website. The difference is that it is content-managed so whenever you make a change in one place, it will automatically reflect on the rest of the site. This makes the maintenance process much easier as you will only need to maintain one site instead of multiple, isolated sites. Additionally, with WordPress, you have the flexibility to scale your website up or down as needed, keeping your costs in check and allowing you to focus on the content, not the infrastructure.