I remember in the late 90’s using FrontPage, Microsoft’s ‘attempt’ at a web development tool. Whilst it never set the world alight, it did, at the time serve a purpose. Then came Dreamweaver and Flash, tools that were relatively easy to use as designer or developer and ones that offered rich, multimedia end-user experiences. These experiences however often came with a hefty price tag. And companies with no in-house skills were often forced to pay top whack for web development.
The industry started to move around 2004/5. Web hosting companies started offering ‘do it yourself’ style website. In my opinion these were and still are today, only of any use to small companies that need some kind of online presence. Adobe then launched GoLive – A program that promised slick integration with InDesign and PhotoShop. I built a website using GoLive and it was OK, but was never going to win awards. They just didn’t get it quite right, for a number of reasons, leading to their acquisition of Macromedia, and therefore, Dreamweaver.
What the industry was crying out for was a WYSIWYG web design tool. Apple launched iWeb and again, I created a couple of very nice looking sites, but guess what, the back-end was awful. Complex SEO led to poor page ranking. It’s fine for personal websites but not for business.
Which brings us nicely into 2011. What we have with WordPress is an amazingly powerful, flexible content management system (CMS). So good that thousands of developers have created and shared more than 25,000 plugins, most of which are free to use, saving developers hours of work, and clients £000’s. There are plugins for everything from slideshows and social media sharing through to enhanced security and SEO optimisation tools.
I have been playing around with WordPress for about a month and have been blown away. If you’re a marketing professional with some HTML skills and the ability to use PhotoShop then you can create some very professional, fully functioned sites with not a great deal of effort.
I will be posting my latest creation on here before the new year, so watch this space.