Quick Basic Overview About WordPress and Themes

WordPress is not just a blog, there is no reason why a WordPress installation cannot manage just about any type of business or personal website.

The addition of a plugin, and if you’re prepared to learn a little CSS or PHP you can transform any theme into a unique piece of web real estate.

WordPress can be found in two incarnations: the “hosted” version available from WordPress.com and the self-hosted version from WordPress.org.

  • The hosted version of WordPress is very quick and easy to set up with plenty of great features and would suit most casual users.  There are some limitations which can be worked around by opting for the premium services.
  • The version of WordPress which offers the greatest flexibility and adaptability is one that you upload on to your own server and take responsibility for configuring and keep up to date.

To get the best out of WordPress it pays to spend a bit of time finding the right hosting company.  Things have improved greatly over the last few years, but there are still some horror stories about lack of support for upgrades to PHP and MySQL.

One way to get the most out of the self-hosted version of WordPress is to use a “theme”.  There is a wide variety of themes to choose from, including frameworks.  For example, this site is currently based on the Genesis Framework along with a modified free theme.  The Thesis theme is equally good and to be honest you would be hard pressed to say that one is better than the other.   However, it also pays to be slightly cautious.

What happens when a developer stops supporting a theme

One example of this is the Semiologic Theme.  Semiologic was available in two versions, the free semiologic theme or the paid for semiologicpro.  Both were essentially a theme which adds a great deal to WordPress.  I tend to refer to the paid for version of the theme as “Semiologic” and identify the free theme where appropriate.

The main selling point for Semiologic was the work that Denis had done behind-the-scenes for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and improvements to the availability of some of the more complex aspects of WordPress.    A few years ago quite simply anyone could launch a professional looking website and know that the basic best practices have been taken care of on their site.

Unfortunately, Denis has not been very proactive in making sure that Semiologic says compatible with the latest versions of WordPress.  At last count, the pro version was having minor problems with WordPress and is broken as far as WordPress 3.42 is concerned.  Anyone still running a site on Semiologic is running a huge security risk.

Update, as of February 2018 the semiologic website no longer exists.  Just like Nokia and Betamax, being really good isn’t always a guarantee of longevity.

 

Published on February 21, 2012

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