Are you keen to build a website for your business but lack the necessary experience? Don’t worry, WordPress is designed just for you. With its diverse features, you can tailor it to suit your needs perfectly. Discover everything about WordPress today!
Understanding WordPress: What is it?
WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS) written in PHP, providing an intuitive interface for creating and managing a website. It is currently the most popular CMS globally, renowned for its ease of use and accessibility to everyone, including those without any coding experience.
Whether you aim to create a website, e-commerce platform, or a blog, WordPress is an excellent choice. It’s a free software that anyone can install, use, and modify. It’s worth noting that WordPress enjoys the largest market share in the world among content management tools, powering more than 40% of all websites. It leads the market, surpassing main competitors like:
The Genesis of WordPress
WordPress commenced in 2003 when Mike Little and Matt Mullenweg developed a relatively unknown blogging tool, B2/cafelog. Their aim was to create an enhanced blogging platform based on the original B2 codebase, offering more robust functionality and consistent development.
Their efforts culminated in the creation of WordPress. Initially a tool for blogging, WordPress swiftly evolved into a comprehensive content management system (CMS), capable of managing a wide variety of websites.
What Constitutes a WordPress Website?
A WordPress website utilizes WordPress as its content management system (CMS). WordPress powers both the backend (the interface where a user logs in to make changes or add new content) and the frontend (the visible part of the website that visitors see on the web) of the website.
WordPress allows for the creation of different types of websites, including:
- Blog: A website dedicated to sharing thoughts, photos, reviews, tutorials, recipes, and more.
- E-Commerce Website: A platform for selling goods or services online and collecting payment through an online system.
- Company Website: A portal for customers to learn more about a business and its offerings. WordPress is an excellent choice for creating such websites.
- Membership Website: Websites that require users to sign up to access content or services.
- Portfolio Website: A showcase for artwork, design skills, and more.
- Forum Website: A platform for users to ask questions or share advice.
- Event Website: An online hub for sharing event details and selling tickets.
- E-learning Website: An online learning environment where students can take courses, track progress, download resources, and more.
Benefits of Using WordPress
The key advantages of WordPress lie in its open-source nature, versatility, accessibility, adaptability across devices, extensibility, and customizability. It’s a community project, built by volunteers worldwide, enabling anyone to contribute and help the platform grow.
WordPress can manage any type of website, from a simple business site or blog to a professional business site or e-commerce store. Its user-friendly nature makes it accessible even to visually impaired users. Plus, WordPress’s extensibility allows for adding custom functionality using plugins.
There are also thousands of free and premium design packages (known as themes) available for WordPress, which can be installed with just one click.
Is WordPress Free?
Yes, the WordPress platform is entirely free for commercial or private use without any hidden limitations. Being an open-source project, it relies solely on volunteers for maintenance, support, and development. This vibrant WordPress community exists thanks to everyone devoting their time and energy to offer their services free to all users.
Is WordPress User-friendly?
WordPress provides business owners, bloggers, and publishers the power to create, publish, and manage content with a simple interface, making it a perfect fit for users who are more familiar with word processors than FTP programs and hand-coded web pages.
The ease of use, however, is just the beginning. Developers have released thousands of WordPress themes, plugins, and widgets that enable you to build a complete website. With its straightforward user interface, you can get your new site online without facing any major hurdles, regardless of your technical proficiency.
In essence, WordPress is designed to eliminate the challenges that business owners and authors often encounter with web publishing. Not only is it powerful, but it’s also packed with options that appeal to beginners and pros alike. This software doesn’t require any advanced computer knowledge to add or modify content, and there’s no need for any downloads as everything is managed in the browser.
Additionally, it allows multiple users to manage the website or a section of content, thus offering the flexibility to share the workload.
Use WordPress to Build Websites Quickly
Branding holds paramount significance in today’s digital world, and your website should be an accurate reflection of you and your business. WordPress, with its myriad of themes and widgets, helps infuse style and personality into your web pages. Intriguing, well-crafted pages are likely to captivate your readers and evoke interest in your content.
Your content acts as a bridge between you and your website visitors, conveying vital information that should be presented neatly and navigable effortlessly. WordPress equips you with numerous tools to format your website, facilitating easy user movement across different pages.
The Appeal of WordPress Themes
Adopting a professionally designed WordPress theme endows your site with a polished, professional appearance. A distinctive and cohesive style is crucial for articulating your brand image and establishing a unique identity amidst your competitors.
The Power of WordPress Plugins
Plugins are compact software components that you can integrate into your WordPress installation to augment its functionality. With over 50,000 plugins available, WordPress extends diverse avenues to either enhance existing functions or infuse new capabilities into your website. Plugins are easily installable, allowing you to choose the functions you desire without requiring any knowledge of coding.
The Utility of WordPress Widgets
Do you wish to feature a calendar on your site? There’s a widget available for that! Widgets are diverse, each performing a unique function to elevate the overall user experience.
You can select from on-page elements like a navigation menu, search bar, or a menu to exhibit your latest blog posts. The placement of widgets on a page can vary according to the theme, fitting snugly into sidebars or designated widget-ready areas on your page.
As a website builder and a CMS platform, WordPress boasts an extensive range of features. Here are a few among the numerous WordPress features:
- SEO: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) starts at a technical level, and WordPress provides an excellent code base for SEO. This enables your website content to be discovered through popular search engines like Google and Bing.
- Speed: WordPress is a lean website framework that continually endeavors to eliminate code “bloat,” which hinders a website’s loading speed.
- Mobile-Friendly: Most WordPress themes are now responsive or mobile-friendly right out of the box.
- Media File Library: WordPress includes a built-in media library, enabling you to upload and embed media files like images or videos into your pages or posts. WordPress even allows for basic edits to your images.
- User Interface: WordPress is straightforward to use, devoid of intricate settings.
- Custom Menus: WordPress simplifies the process of creating navigation menus with links to your pages or custom links.
- Integrated Blog: Adding a blog to your website is as easy as publishing a post.
- WordPress Block Editor: Introduced in WordPress 5.0, the new Block Editor has transformed the way you edit WordPress pages and posts. It enables you to design and organize your content through a more flexible drag-and-drop approach.
You may be surprised to learn that WordPress even accommodates keyboard shortcuts. To increase your productivity and save time, consider checking out our article on all the possible shortcuts available in WordPress.
Understanding Different WordPress Versions
As a first-time user entering “WordPress” into your search engine, you’re likely to encounter two results: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. While they share the same moniker, these two versions vastly differ from each other. WordPress.com is a fully online platform, while WordPress.org, often referred to as self-hosted WordPress, is open-source software accessible to all.
WordPress.org: The Open-Source Solution
WordPress.org is the platform for free and open-source WordPress software. Once downloaded and installed, it’s wholly yours, granting you the liberty to modify it as per your needs.
With WordPress.org, you avail all the flexibility of the WordPress Content Management System (CMS). Moreover, you’re free to install any WordPress themes and plugins:
- Themes: These give a distinct appearance to your website.
- Plugins: They introduce new features to your site, enhancing its functionality.
Advantages of WordPress.org
Opting for self-hosted WordPress accords you complete control over your website:
- Freedom to install your chosen themes and plugins.
- Selection of any web hosting, allowing you to opt for cheaper hosting, especially when starting out.
- Total control over your site, without any imposed limitations.
- No restrictions on the type of content you can create, provided it abides by the law.
- Earning potential from your WordPress site by running your ads, without revenue sharing.
- Leveraging powerful tools like Google Analytics for custom analytics and tracking.
Disadvantages and Costs of WordPress.org
- Finding a host for your WordPress site is a requisite. Fortunately, numerous reliable and tested hosting providers can cater to various user types.
- The freedom of WordPress.org entails responsibility. You’re accountable for maintaining your site, including backing up your data, updating the WordPress software, and implementing security best practices.
- The actual cost of a WordPress.org website depends on your intended purpose (blog, news website, e-commerce store, etc.) and choices like free vs. premium templates, free vs. premium plugins, and more.
There are two unavoidable costs for running a WordPress site:
- Web hosting: Many accessible web hosts come with varying prices.
- Domain name: Some web hosts offer a free domain name.
You can download the software directly from WordPress.org.
WordPress.com: The Online Hosting Platform
WordPress.com is a free, user-friendly online hosting platform that offers a straightforward way to create a website. This platform takes care of multiple aspects such as databases, backups, hosting, etc. Owned by Automattic, a company founded by the co-founder of open-source software WordPress, it ensures you needn’t install WordPress software on your own web hosting. You can simply create a WordPress.com account and start right away.
However, this simplicity comes at the cost of some flexibility offered by self-hosted WordPress software. Depending on your plan, you may not be able to install your own WordPress themes and plugins, and your site may contain advertisements.
Advantages of WordPress.com
The significant advantages of WordPress.com lie in its simplicity:
- WordPress.com provides its own hosting, eliminating the need for an external hosting provider.
- You aren’t responsible for maintenance or security. WordPress.com handles these aspects, allowing you to focus solely on content creation.
Disadvantages and Costs of WordPress.com
- You cannot install your themes and plugins unless you opt for the Premium, Business, or eCommerce plans.
- Certain types of code, FTP access to your site, or other modifications are not allowed.
- The WordPress.com Business plan may be pricey if you want to install your themes/plugins, and cheaper options with self-hosted WordPress are available.
- You must adhere to the “WordPress.com” Terms of Service. While these terms aren’t overly stringent, they do restrict the type of content your site can contain.
You can create a free site on a WordPress.com subdomain or opt for paid offers to use your personalized domain name. However, the free plan comes with heavy restrictions. To install your themes and plugins, you would need to pay less than $300 per year for the Business plan, and a separate fee for your domain name after the first year.
How to Create a WordPress.org Site
Establishing a self-hosted WordPress site entails more steps than setting up a WordPress.com site. However, the majority of web hosts offer easy WordPress installation.
To initiate the process, you need to acquire web hosting and a domain name. Your web hosting provides the power for the WordPress software, and your domain name serves as the permanent internet “address” of your WordPress site.
A significant number of web hosts permit domain name purchase during the registration process.
Upon signing up for web hosting, nearly all web hosts offer a WordPress installer tool, enabling you to install the WordPress software with just a few clicks.
Following this, you can log into the WordPress dashboard and commence site creation.
There are several affordable site packages available for website hosting. Choosing the right one may seem daunting, but we have prepared an article outlining affordable options accessible to all. In it, you will find a top 3 list of the best shared hosting solutions.
How to Create a WordPress.com Site
To build a WordPress.com site, you need to visit WordPress.com and create an account.
During the sign-up process, you’ll have the choice between using a free WordPress.com subdomain (such as yoursite.wordpress.com) or your own domain name (like yoursite.com).
Additionally, you can opt between the free plan or one of the paid plans. Keep in mind that if you select a plan lower than the Business plan, you will not be able to install your own themes and plugins, thus sacrificing much of the flexibility that WordPress software offers.
Migrating from WordPress.com to WordPress.org: Is It Possible?
Yes! If you commence with WordPress.com, you can transfer your site to WordPress.org later. You can retain all your content, and you also have the option to modify your domain name or redirect your domain name to your new site.
The process typically involves the following steps:
- Export your content from WordPress.com.
- Use the in-built tool to import your content to self-hosted WordPress.
- If required, configure a redirect to transition all visitors from your old WordPress.com site to your new WordPress.org site.
Examples of sites made with WordPress
Resources to Create Your WordPress Website
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when building a website. There are so many options when it comes to hosting providers, page builders, and plugins that it becomes endless. Here is a list of items that may be useful to you.
- WP Engine provides managed WordPress hosting for your website. Designed for agencies, corporations and small businesses, this company offers a secure and reliable service.
- WPMU Dev is an all-in-one WordPress platform. From hosting to security protection to marketing tools to help you run a successful website.
- All in One SEO is a complete SEO plugin and toolkit for WordPress. With its TruSEO score and actionable checklist, you can easily optimize every page and post on your website for higher search engine rankings.
- WooCommerce helps you build an online business more easily. This e-commerce platform includes unlimited customization and built-in blogs to help your business grow.
- Elementor has over 3 million websites using its WordPress page builder. Without any technical skills, you can design stunning web pages from pre-made templates.
- GravityForms lets you create advanced forms with its visual editor.
- WP Beginner is a free WordPress resource for beginners. Their blog offers tips and tricks to improve your website.
Key Takeaways About WordPress
WordPress continues to be the preferred platform for many users. As mentioned earlier, it powers over 40% of all websites online. Here are some compelling reasons why WordPress remains so popular:
1. WordPress is Free and Open Source
A substantial benefit of WordPress is its free and open-source nature. While you will need to cover hosting costs, you will never incur charges to use the WordPress software itself.
Additionally, you will find an array of open-source plugins and themes, which allow you to alter your website’s appearance and functionality.
2. WordPress is Beginner-Friendly
You don’t need a computer engineering degree to use WordPress. In fact, it’s designed with non-technical users in mind. Its user interface is intuitive and user-friendly. To modify your website’s design, simply upload a theme.
If you need to add a new feature, like a contact form, you just need to install a plugin. As a result, web development tasks that used to take hours can now be accomplished in minutes.
3. WordPress is SEO-Optimized
Creating a WordPress website is not enough. Your site’s visibility is crucial, and your visitors should be able to find and visit your website through search engine optimization. Thanks to SEO plugins, like Yoast SEO, you can enhance your rankings with internal linking suggestions and meta description templates.
4. WordPress Supports All Media Types
WordPress doesn’t limit any major media type. Consequently, you can utilize any combination of text, images, and videos on your website.
5. WordPress is Secure
Security is a paramount concern for businesses. With the rising number of data breaches each year, you want to ensure that your data (and your customers’ data) is protected.
Provided that you keep the plugins updated and the passwords secure, WordPress is one of the safest and most secure CMS platforms.
The platform provides various features to safeguard your website, such as logging out inactive users and incorporating two-factor authentication.
6. Easy to Find Help
Should you encounter obstacles along the way and can’t find a solution, numerous blogs, forums, and tutorials are available to assist you.
The official WordPress support forum is an excellent place to start. There, you’ll find tips on enhancing your website, and WPBeginner is a valuable resource for beginners.
Lessons are also available on the official WordPress.org site to help you grasp the basics.
For those unfamiliar with the details, choosing the best platform for your next website might seem daunting. To simplify, consider the following:
- WordPress.org is ideal for website owners seeking full autonomy. This entails building everything from scratch. Importantly, you are free to install any tools you like and control your website’s overall functionality. It’s the top choice for those who want total independence.
- WordPress.com suits those who prefer not to delve into hosting, third-party tools, and custom website features. Simply sign up and instantly obtain your online space. The downside is that customization options are limited unless you opt for a paid plan.
From this point on, you can start building your professional website by choosing between the WordPress.org or WordPress.com version, depending on your preference. It’s up to you to create a site that perfectly suits your needs. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the interface and experiment with all the features of WordPress in terms of themes, plugins, etc.