On usability view, the term CMS could simply refer to a software package that helps users to manage, updates and publics data over the internet. For many years, the use of open source CMS in websites has been common, with various available open source systems. Among those, WordPress has been used widely recent years and grows up to be more and more popular. In the year of 2009, Word Press had been award the Overall Best Open Source CMS Award in the 2009 Open Source CMS Awards. No small contest, the Open Source CMS Awards received over 12,000 nominations and more than 23,000 votes across five categories.

At the very early development time in 2003, WordPress supposed to be some scripts to enhance the typography of everyday writing. Even nowadays, bloggers are still in love with the clean and smooth writing environment that WordPress fresh installation package can provide. However, is that the only reason why WordPress become so popular, or there is something more behind the scene?

This article does not intend to dig into the technical aspects of this application, but more on the usability of WordPress, which has made this tool more and more popular everyday.
Until now, WordPress has grown up to be the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world, used on millions of sites and seen by tens of millions of people everyday. However, currently it has been providing more solutions for bloggers: not only the simple/personal writing purposes, but also larger as business scales such as publishing complex information for company and corporate websites. There are a number of well-known users of WordPress all around the world including NYTimes, CNN, Ebay, and many more.

What are WordPress secrets and advantages?

The reason why WordPress become very easy and familiar in serving various purposes is its capability to integrate to almost any type of websites through the installation of plugins. Currently, the number of existing plugins has been grown up to about 10,000 providing a variety of functions including gallery, ecommerce, audio and video player, ad rotator, SEO stuff and so on. And beyond all of those, most of the plugins are free, unless you need some customized functions. WordPress has no longer been just a simple blog engine; it is a powerful CMS system.

That is not the only reason makes WordPress become so popular. Simple initial functions of a fresh WordPress installation give its admin area a great advantage: Simplicity. In other CMS, additional functions are usually included in the installation while they are not always expected by users and may cause more complexity in the admin menu. Meanwhile, a fresh installation of WordPress only includes basic required functions. Users themselves then can install only functions they need and hence the admin menu will be clear and structured. It must comes up with the idea that almost all functions should be optional to users and will require user’s actions to install and activate, the software has been developed in the most convenient way in using plugins to extend its capabilities. Unlike many others CMS, you don’t need some actions considered unavoidable such as visiting the home page of the CMS, searching, downloading, then uploading the plugin to your website before you can actually install it. Instead, with WordPress, you can just simply stay on your own website admin area, search and install plugins directly from here. The admin area of the plugin then is isolated in its own area, and usually connects to the main admin area through a link either in its traditional position (the left hand panel) or in the plugin page. The display of a plugin in a page could be arranged by dragging and dropping if it is developed as an widget, but it becomes more common to display the plugin in a page by inserting a few words of mark up, e.g.: [hey, plugin is here], at the position you want. At first, you may think that it is not as visual as the drag and drop style, however, the approach can actually reduce the complexity of admin interface, especially when there are many plugins on one page.
Another beautiful point that users would find from WordPress is its various themes. The fact is that a good layout interface can be an advantage to any application, simply because it is the only gate for interactions between the underlying systems and website users. On checking WordPress.org, you would be surprised that there are more than one thousand choices of themes, and most of them are free. Applying a theme is as easy as installing a plugin. Users will just be required to do the same process of browsing or searching the theme catalog directly from user’s own admin area, then clicking the install button.

The last advantage of WordPress does not come uniquely from itself, but from the nature of php, the language used to create the application. So far, the two most popular programming technologies using for dynamic websites are asp.net and php. Php uses inline code, which means coding expression is integrated into the html content of a page. Experts of .net technology will probably tell you that coding style will make your page more difficult to edit since it contains both server side and client side mark up that could lead you to mistake easily, and the server side code not being compiled will affect your application performance. However, it does give users the power to edit not only html but also server-side code by themselves as well. Using simple technique of copy and paste together with minimal plugin instructions, users can easily customize their websites to fit their unique requirements. That advantage gives WordPress a big step above other CMS system developed by .net technology in terms of user’s customization.

WordPress – Your business solutions?

My purpose is not to show you that WordPress is the best CMS choice. An example is that an experienced user may not mind about a more complex admin area in compensation to have more website functions; or a programmer could find another CMS that is easier to integrate his existing stuff. However, WordPress is also available with its unique features and flexible usability that could meet various requirements of a simple blog or a complex solution. It has matched million users’ requirements, and very possibly yours.