Why WordPress?

This site is powered by WordPress. For nearly eleven years, it was powered by hand-coding. Let me put “nearly eleven years” into perspective. It’s 3924 days. And it’s about how many times I opened an HTML editor to update this site’s content. I loved every minute. It took a great publishing environment to make me switch.

Thinks like a writer

Blah blah

To the extent that a content management system can, WordPress thinks like a writer. The workflow is intuitive enough not to trip me up when I’m halfway into an idea. It stays out of my way, giving me only the tools I need, and only when I need them.

In WordPress, it’s easy to create and edit categories, easy to write themelines for all my categories at once, and even easy to tell when I’m writing too many words for the page—because WordPress also thinks like a designer.

Thinks like a designer

Even though this is the web and not print, as a designer I still care how the type is going to sit in the page. Over 90% of web users never change the default font size. WordPress’s live preview, continuously updated as I write and save, shows me what most readers will see, and lets me revise for better copyfit with one tenth the effort I used to make.

Even if you’re not a copyfitting freak, there’s something about previewing your writing in your layout that’s better than seeing it in someone else’s.

There are other great web writing tools out there, but this is the first I know of that lets me see my site as I’m writing. It helps layout, it helps tone, it helps everything.

Respects web and typographic standards

I can write in XHTML, knowing the CMS won’t mess it up. Or I can write in text, knowing it will get converted to standards-compliant XHTML, complete with typographically correct punctuation. Some other high-end blogging software does this, too, but you have to install plug-ins to make it work. WordPress does it out of the box.

For thems as wants

I’m supposed to like WordPress because it’s open source, not proprietary, but I have nothing against developers who choose to protect their intellectual content. I’m supposed to like it because it’s free, but I don’t mind paying for software—I like supporting people who create things.

I use WordPress because I like it and it works for me. Most of you reading this already use WordPress or Movable Type or Squarespace or Expression Engine, and they are all great products. I’m not trying to sell you anything.

But if you’re a holdout, like I was, looking for a publishing tool that lets you concentrate on ideas instead worrying about the mechanics of production, WordPress may be just the thing for you.