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WordPress: The smart person’s guide


In 1440 Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press. The invention changed the world because it made information creation, dissemination, and consumption manageable on a large scale. Inspired by technology that democratizes the dissemination of information, more than 500 years later, a young programmer released WordPress, an open-source publishing software guide that today powers nearly a third of the top 10 million sites on the person’s web.


WordPress is not letterpress. But the analogs are similar, and because the platform is relied on by millions of businesses, it’s hard to overstate its impact. TechRepublic’s competent person’s guide is a routinely updated “living” precis loaded with current information about how WordPress works, who WordPress affects, and why the open-source publishing software used by millions of developers is essential.

Executive summary

What is WordPress? WordPress is an open-source content management system maintained by the nonprofit WordPress Foundation. WordPress is also available as a hosted, commercial version supported by Automattic, founded by WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg.

Why WordPress matters: WordPress is free, powerful, customizable, and supported by a massive third-party ecosystem.

WordPress affects: WordPress primarily impacts small and midsize business owners, e-commerce companies, startups, and creative professionals.

When WordPress is happening: WordPress iterations have been routinely released since version 1.0 launched in May 2003.

How to get started with WordPress: The best way to experience WordPress is to install and experiment with the software. The software is easy to install, and many sites offer affordable cloud hosting.

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a blogging platform built on PHP and MySQL. The basic install is still blog-oriented, but as users customized the code to serve niche purposes, WordPress iterations evolved to support features included in CMS competitors Drupal, Magento, and Joomla. Early on, the company partnered with shared hosting providers like GoDaddy.

Today dedicated WordPress cloud hosting allows startups, publishers, and significant enterprise companies to scale the platform quickly. The sophisticated code enables the site to behave in radically different ways. The modern WordPress can be customized to suit almost any business need with a few clicks, though it excels at managing e-commerce and content marketing sites.

Large companies that rely on WordPress:

Use WordPress as the platform for your website (TechRepublic)
The top WordPress tools for developers, designers, and consultants (TechRepublic)
WordPress “quietly” powers 27% of the web (TechRepublic)
READ: Launching a startup: A primer for new entrepreneurs (Tech Pro Research eBook)

Why WordPress matters
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WordPress matters because it helps companies make money and allows publishers to find an audience. Over 400 million people interact with WordPress every month, making the web application one of the largest, most influential platforms on the web. WordPress is a trustworthy platform because it’s so manipulatable, runs on several hosting environments, and is supported by the nonprofit WordPress Foundation, the for-profit WordPress.com, and developers.

Usage stats, according to WordPress.com:

There are over 76 million WordPress blogs.
Fifty thousand new WordPress sites are created every day.
WordPress sites experience 22.3 billion page views per month.
59.3 million new posts are added to WordPress sites each month.
Three billion non-spam comments have been written on WordPress sites.
Additional resources:

How to speed mobile page load times with AMP and WordPress (TechRepublic)
How to install WordPress with Docker (TechRepublic)
Five functional WordPress Add-Ins (TechRepublic)
WordPress Hosting Providers (CNET)
SEE: Enterprise Startups: Winners, Losers, Potential Shake-ups (Tech Pro Research report)

Who WordPress affects

From corporate blogs to news sites to e-commerce brands, consumers engage with WordPress sites every day. This means WordPress’ growth has been powered mainly by business, said Automattic’s CMO Chris Taylor in a recent TechRepublic interview. “You can go to thousands of different websites that are all powered by WordPress,” he said, “but they each look unique. This is why businesses love it.”

Open source, in particular, Taylor said, is critical to WordPress’ success. “We open up our code for others to build off or contribute to it. It means our users can be assured they will never be locked into a proprietary trap that they can never get out of. For small businesses, the biggest benefit is that, unlike closed website builders with a finite set of features, your business needs will never outgrow WordPress.”

“We see tremendous growth in the small business category, and so we want to provide them with offerings that are, on the one hand, very simple, but on the other hand, a door to the millions of other [users] who can offer their expertise,” Taylor said. “In this way, I see a lot of opportunities for us to integrate traditional marketing with the power of community.”

Use WordPress as the platform for your website (TechRepublic)


When WordPress is happening
When the first version of WordPress was released in 2003, blogging was in its heyday. In February 2oo3, Google, at the time still primarily a search engine, helped kick-start the Web 2.0 startup boom when the company purchased Pyra Labs, the startup parent of Blogger.com founded by Evan Williams. Blogger simplified web publishing, but the code was closed and hosted on Google servers.

Because the code was open source and offered extensibility in the form of themes and plugins, WordPress took off and became the go-to platform for startups and tech innovators during the critical years after the Web 1.0 bubble burst and before the emergence of Web 2.0, social media, and mobile.

As the platform matured, so too did the user base and third-party ecosystem. Today professional and freelance WordPress developers charge anywhere from $35 to $200 per hour. Though hundreds of themes and extensibility options can be installed for free, thousands more professionally created themes are available for purchase through credible vendors.

The recent release of PHP 7 will enable faster and more agile WordPress customizations. For web marketers, in particular, said WPEngine CTO Jason Cohen in a recent interview, “the code will open doors for a new breed of WordPress e-commerce and marketing applications.”

WordPress: A surprisingly viable enterprise cloud option (TechRepublic)
How to install WordPress on Ubuntu 16.04 (TechRepublic)
Video: How PHP 7 will revolutionize the WordPress ecosystem (TechRepublic)
Working with WordPress: Control your site support, prevent zombie apocalypse (ZDNet)
SEE: Intellectual property: A new challenge in the cloud (Tech Pro Research)

How to get started with WordPress
You can install and use WordPress right now for free, plus the cost of hosting. Most hosts provide one-click installations, allowing users with little web development experience to start using the application quickly. Advanced users know that WordPress is also easy to install and configure using a terminal application.

Because the software is complex, the WordPress Foundation maintains an updated list of helpful how-to books. TechRepublic and ZDNet both cover WordPress news, provide information about security patches, and offer details about innovations in cloud hosting. Finally, a virtual sandbox is available if you’d like to test-drive the application before setting up a server.

Blind Person’s Allowance


The Blind Person’s Allowance works in the same way as the personal allowance. The allowance is a fixed amount that is set against your taxable income, and it allows you to receive that amount as a tax-free amount in a tax year.

You can claim a Blind Person’s Allowance in England and Wales for the whole tax year if you register, or have noted, as a blind person during the tax year. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, the rules are slightly different from that in England and Wales, there is no registration and you must be unable to perform any work for which eyesight is essential. Therefore in Scotland and Northern Ireland, you do not necessarily have to be completely blind to claim the allowance.

In England and Wales, you can get the allowance for the previous tax year from HMRC, providing you have obtained all the necessary evidence required for registration in that tax year. Please get in touch with your local Tax Office for more information.If you cannot use all of your allowances and you are married or have a civil partner, you may be able to transfer the unused part of the allowance to your spouse or civil partner. If you also qualify for Married Couple’s Allowance, then any surplus must be transferred simultaneously. If both you and your spouse or civil partner are blind, you can each receive the allowance. For more information, please contact your Tax Office.