Every app needs a self hosted site to accompany the product pages published on the app store sites. And the easiest way we’ve found to do quick and efficient websites is to use WordPress. Yes, I know, everyone uses WordPress. And for a very good reason. Pick a template, upload your content, add in some custom graphics and voila! – instant website.
Our host, Directnic, offers WordPress with their CPanel hosting package, and we use it almost exclusively. Joomla and Drupal are also options, and I realize that with the right attitude and permissions, any other CMS can be used as well. But… no other management system has the number of plug-ins, themes and other add-ons readily available at reasonable prices, and offers the ease of installation and set up that WordPress gives busy non-coders for creating and editing everything from the most simple single page resume sites to massive, multi-page installations like WSJ, Variety and BBC Online.
Getting started with WordPress is fairly easy, but if you’re one of the time challenged, it’s probably best to get some tutorial material and save yourself a lot of headaches with the details.
WordPress 24 Hour Trainer – Watch, Read, and Learn How to Create and Customize WordPress Sites by George Plumley (WROX) is a GREAT book for quickly getting up to speed and keeping in your library for fast reference if you forget something or decide to branch out and make your site do more than just support your app. Creating community sites, support forums, etc are simple and fast, and Plumley’s book breaks down the site management logically.
The initial chapters teach you how to think like WordPress by setting up the framework to be expandable and easily manipulated no matter how large your page count might get (and if you blog a lot or do marketing from your site the pages and posts can grow exponentially and rapidly) or what size your media library expands to cover.
For those disinclined to doing a bit of reading, there is also a DVD enclosed in the package. Honestly, I haven’t opened it, since the book has loads of examples, clear instructions and literally, in 24 hours, I was on about the business of creating sites in record time and had been able to move on to the nuances of theme customization and site promotion, as opposed to the trial and effort style changes I’m used to making when forced to work with something outside my usual software library.
I had messed about with WordPress a couple of years ago, and had contributed to a Drupal based blog previously, but neither of those instances had me actually managing anything, and the WordPress was abandoned almost before it was started. This time we’ve got a half dozen sites that run WordPress as the backend and occasionally we help our clients out with their sites as well. I’m in the midst of making a personal blog, but like the cobblers children, it doesn’t yet have any shoes. Not because I didn’t learn how to set it up and manage it quickly, but because I need to drag tons of content that’s hiding and languishing in multiple sites around the web into the framework and do a lot of editing to seam it all together.
If you’re not graphically inclined, or don’t know how to operate Photoshop or something similar, you’ll still need to hire out for graphics to customize your theme; once that’s done you should have no problem uploading and doing simple editing inside WP to get your images into shape for posts and pages by following Plumley’s instructions. And you’ll soon find yourself wishing for more sections and posts and cross promotions and having fun playing with the bells and whistles most likely.