One of the research centres at NASA, Glenn Research Center, has published an overview including the rationale and benefits of using WordPress as a content management system(CMS).
NASA’s research centre has been using WordPress for a selection of their websites since 2007 and maintains a website guide with complete details about how they are using WordPress.
Although the main NASA.gov website is powered by Drupal, NASA has been using WordPress for its blogs (blogs.NASA.gov), and several other Open Government initiative websites such as open.NASA.gov data.NASA.gov and code.NASA.gov.
The recently updated page on the WordPress guide of the research centre lists several benefits of using WordPress to manage their websites. Although the benefits mentioned on the page are mostly from the internal perspective of website admins, they are relevant to any other organisations looking to adopt and use WordPress.
Benefits of WordPress as a CMS
Here’s a quick overview of the benefits outlined by the NASA Glenn Research Center WordPress website.
- Only Basic HTML Experience Required
- No Additional Software Necessary
- Search Engine Friendly
- Search Engine Notification
- Built-in Search Engine
- Content Separate from Design
- Automatic RSS Feeds
- Low Cost, Lower Maintenance and Widely Supported
- Track Actual Site Usage
- Several Automatic features such as Sitemap, Broken Links Check, Images Resizing, and Content Archives
You can visit the page on their website for descriptions of the above-outlined benefits of using WordPress.
Several research projects, initiatives, groups, and labs under the research centre use WordPress to power their websites and blogs.
The WordPress design guide of the research centre recommends using WordPress for those looking to build simple and easy to maintain websites. However, it doesn’t suggest using WordPress as a front end to a web application.
NASA WordPress Theme
The Glenn Research Center at Nasa started using WordPress in 2007 with a theme designed to meet their Web Standards set by NASA design in 2005. The NASA WordPress theme has received continued updates and support from the NASA team since then.
The theme is developed based on the Genesis framework from StudioPress. Two child themes with different colour combinations have been developed based on the parent theme.
The current theme has been updated to work with the latest version of WordPress. You can see the demo of their WordPress themes developed for current use;
The centre also maintains a list of supported and recommended WordPress plugins for their themes.
WordPress has already been the darling of news and media websites, and it’s awesome to see how big organisations like NASA are finding it useful.
The open-source nature of WordPress continued updates, and the active community behind the software are some of the fundamental aspects that make it lucrative to organisations of all sizes.