WordPress makes managing corporate blogs an absolute breeze. It doesn’t matter how much technical skill you and your team has, everyone in your business contribute to your bog as much or little as they need to.
Over the years, WordPress has also become one of the most popular platforms to build a complete website. You don’t have to choose between an 100% custom-build and WordPress, though. Another option is to build your custom site and then bolt on WordPress for the blog page only. So you get the best performance on your site and the content management features of WordPress rolled into one.
Here’s how it’s done.
What exactly are we doing here?
Basically, the aim here is to design and develop a custom-built site as normal. The only difference is you don’t build the blog page. Instead, you create a blog folder on your domain and install WordPress inside it. So every part of your website is your own until users visit your blog. The trick is people never know anything is different; your WordPress blog looks and feels like a natural part of your website.
So why would you do this? Well, developing your own feature-rich CMS like WordPress is a complex project. Whereas, a blog without those features typically feels too lifeless and static. You could develop a faster version of WordPress with less features (also a good option). Or simply tap into WordPress for your blog page only and get the best of both worlds.
The main benefit, though, is the other pages on your site will be considerably lighter and faster. Your homepage, product pages and other sections of your site don’t need all that WordPress code and they’ll be faster without it.
Oaky, let’s bolt on a WordPress blog!
The actual process of bolting on a WordPress blog is something for your developer to handle. But we’re going to breeze through a quick guide just to show you how quick and easy it can be.
Step #1: Design and build the rest of your site
Before you do anything WordPress, you’ll want a working version of your website. This is important because you’ll need to customise the design of a WordPress theme to match your site. So you want the final design and functionality working before you get started.
Step #2: Create a blog folder
As we say, this is something your developer will probably do but it’s incredibly simple. In the root folder of your website, all you need to do is create a new “blog” folder:
Next, go to WordPress.org and download the latest version. This will download all the files of WordPress into a Zip file. Extract the Zip file and then open the WordPress folder it creates. You should see all the individual files and folder for WordPress:
Now you can drag and drop everything from that folder into the blog folder you created earlier. Once the upload is finished, you head to www.yourdomain/blog and you’ll be prompted to install WordPress – done!
#3: Choose a theme
With WordPress installed, you now want to select a theme to use as a template. You should have a design for your blog that matches the rest of your site already. Now you’ll want to edit an existing theme to match that design.
Again, this is something your developer will do and we’re not going to go into anything technical here. What we will say is you want to choose a starter theme that’s either as close to your design as possible or a very plain theme like TwentyTwelve. This way you don’t have to make as many changes and add unnecessary code to your blog.
#4: Create a child theme
You never want to edit WordPress files directly. If you do, all of your changes will be lost when you update WordPress. To avoid this happening you create something called a child theme. Once again, you’re simply creating another folder, but this time inside the WordPress “Themes” folder.
What this does is store your edits only in a way that overrides the core WordPress and theme files. Basically your edits are bolted onto WordPress and it doesn’t matter how many updates are released.
You don’t need to worry about the coding behind child themes at this stage. It’s just worth knowing about them so you can discuss this approach with your developer. Even then, it’s nothing too technical for someone with even fairly basic coding skills.
So, unless you’ll be writing the code yourself, bolting on a WordPress blog really is as simple as that. There are no nasty SEO side-effects to this either, because everything still comes under your root domain. The difference is your pages that don’t need WordPress get a serious speed boost but you still get the blog management features that make WordPress so useful.