WordPress is a flexible web publishing platform that you can install and use for free. The software is essentially really simple to use, but it’s also really powerful and versatile. This means, if you really get into it, you can graduate quite quickly from setting up a basic blog to store your college coursework, to creating a fully-functioning professional webshop, portfolio site or magazine.
Learning WordPress may seem really dry and techy. It’s not, and here’s why…
- Because you want a job! Having a blog is a great way to showcase your creative talents to friends, family and future employers (and remember, these groups often overlap). When I left art school I went to a stationery shop and purchased a leather-bound portfolio. It was a waste of money, because the only thing any potential employer has ever wanted to see before they agreed to meet me in person is my website.
- Because you’re going to get a job. WordPress is one of the most widely-used web publishing platforms around, that means it’s a tool used by members of almost every industry. If you know how it works, that means you are extra USEFUL. It also means you have POWER, because if you ever want to set up your own event, project or enterprise, one of the first things you will need is a website.
- Because; what use is having a good idea if you can’t communicate it to other people? As a communications pro I’m biased, but the truth is, the reason so many websites exist is because at some stage, all projects need an audience in order to develop. The blogs you will be building this term are to communicate with your lecturers. Your blogs will help your teachers understand your ideas, interests and ambitions, and in turn, that information will enable them to give you the best guidance they can. When you leave college, your professional website or blog might be used to share project developments with other members of a team. It could also help you win Kickstarter funding, an audience for your show, or an investor in your ideas.
- Because keeping a blog is a great way to find out for yourself what YOU are interested in. It can take years to work out what niche you want to fill as a professional, even when you are one. But keeping a track of your ideas, your research and completed projects online creates a pool of resources for you to return to easily whenever you’re stuck for an idea; feeling low about a project that isn’t going to plan; or wondering what area you would like to work in next. I keep a personal notebook for all of my most far-out ideas. I also keep a blog for those that are ready to spark a conversation or, perhaps, inspire others.
- Because it’s a piece of piss. As I pointed to in my intro, WordPress is really well designed. This means you don’t have to grapple with any code in order to get involved, but if you do want to, you can move WordPress to an independent server and edit the code, use professional themes, clever plugins, and really geek out.