WordPress was created in 2003 by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. It started as a “no-sweat” platform for people who needed a solution for creating and hosting basic blogs. Due to constant development and updates, WordPress has grown into a flexible, dynamic tool you can use to create almost any type of site.
Before we move to basic features and functionalities, it’s important to make sure we’re talking the same language. It means that a distinction should be made between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
WordPress.com is a website builder that allows you to create and host a site cost-free. Accordingly, it has certain limitations.
On the other hand, WordPress.org is a more authoritative platform, which is why this article will be focusing on it.
What Is So Special About WordPress?
It is undoubtedly the most popular CMS on a global level. More websites are powered by WordPress than any other CMS – more precisely, 4.5% of the entire internet. It is estimated that between 50 and 60% of websites using a CMS are built on WordPress. Besides, 17 blog posts are being published on WordPress every second.
WordPress is open-source software, which means no copyright or trademark is applied to it.
Accordingly, it is freely available for anyone to download and modify under the General Public License.
More importantly, it is developed and maintained by a dedicated community. What you need to know as a user:
- WordPress is free to use
- There is a variety of free and low-cost tools available
- It is created to be user-friendly and provide the features most needed by website creators.
- You are not limited in how you choose to use and interact with the platform, along with any modification you’d like to make using coding and other tools.
Given that WordPress is an extremely popular platform and has a huge community built around it, there’s always help available when you need it. There’s a lot of online documentation, WordPress-centered blogs, forums, courses, and resources, to name some.
WordPress Is Not ‘Beginners-only!’
Its ability to scale alongside its users is one of the platform’s key advantages. As you progress and learn more about the platform, there’s a whole new world of opportunities opening up for you. Whether it’s a simple blog or large, complex websites for businesses and online stores, WordPress is making it work for you!
Know how to manage everything about your site from one location? The WordPress dashboard! If you’re into blogging, it’s just the right platform as it provides a lot of features that lend themselves to blogs. Even if you’re an apprentice blogger, you can easily manage the easy-to-use editor for creating posts, strong comments functionality, and a whole lotta more.
Despite its humble beginning as a blogging platform, WordPress has developed into much more. To the point of being behind a whole specter of websites from e-commerce sites to online courses and communities.
So, in case you want to create a big online store for a huge brand or a basic website for a local business or, WordPress will make it work. And you can still use it for blogging!
What Can You Do with WordPress?
Yet, WordPress is much more than an easy-to-use tool for a personal blog. The truth is you can use it to create almost any type of site you can think of. The types of sites you can use WordPress for include:
- News sites. WordPress’s blog format is great for news articles, and both blogging and news sites leverage the same features.
- Online portfolios: Setting up a representative portfolio is quite easy with the right WordPress theme. You can use it to showcase your projects engage with new clients.
- Business sites: WordPress is a great tool for sharing business information, providing contact details, integrating your branding, and building a strong online presence.
- E-commerce stores: If you’re or planning to run an online store or already have one, there’s a variety of WordPress tools available, including the WooCommerce plugin.
- Affiliate websites: The WordPress community offers lots of customized solutions for those interested in creating an affiliate marketing website or monetizing their site.
- Community hubs: The platform allows you to easily create forums, wikis, fan sites, or knowledge bases for people sharing the same interests.
One of the key advantages of WordPress is its user-friendly dashboard. It’s a private admin area where you can handle all aspects of your site from one place. It also provides an adaptable, responsive, easy-to-use editor that facilitates content creation and access to different settings and customization options.
Also, WordPress is created with respect to SEO (Search Engine Optimization), security, and performance.
These are critical elements of every site regardless of its type, size, or focus points.
Ultimately, WordPress offers a plethora of themes and plugins to make your experience as personalized as you need it.
WordPress plugins allow you to extend what it can do. This includes both paid and free plugins that allow you to do so much without the need to write code from scratch. At this moment, the official WordPress directory comprises over 45,000 free plugins. And that’s without the premium plugins that can add more functionality to your sites.
Needless to say, if you know PHP, there’s no limit to plugin customization. Alternatively, you can build your own plugin from scratch. The WordPress Plugin Directory provides tools that allow you to add almost any feature possible to your site.
Other than this, WordPress is a compelling, but rather a basic website solution. It means you can change the way your site looks and functions. Moreover, if you’re knowledgeable of HTML and CSS, you can make any change imaginable. If you’re not that proficient, there’s a multitude of themes and plugins to customize it to your preferences.
Using a theme, you can change your site’s layout and appearance and even alter its functionality. Yet, if you change your WordPress, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll change your blog content, users, or any information stored in your database. Changing a theme will only change how it all looks. To make it all work, WordPress provides thousands of free and premium themes.
You can download free themes from the official WordPress theme directory. If you aim higher, there’s a variety of premium themes with more advanced features you can purchase from third-party developers.
For a unique web design, you can create your own custom themes.
Picking the Right WordPress theme for your website Choosing the right theme for your website may be challenging. There are general-purpose themes that allow you to personalize your site in line with your own ideas and branding. Besides, there are themes specific to a particular type of website – online stores, portfolios, or blogs.
Your style and preferences notwithstanding, themes usually come with access to a lot of pre-made elements. These elements can be mixed and matched for a unique look. Most importantly, it’s irrelevant whether you’re a designer or not.
Unlike themes, plugins allow you to add new features and functionality to your site. There are simple plugins that add only one new feature, like an image gallery or a contact. Oppositely, there are comprehensive options that allow you to make more drastic changes to your site’s functionality.
WordPress plugins allow you to optimize your site for search engines, create a forum, enhance security or build a storefront. There’s a plugin out there for everything you’d like your site to do.
Despite many places you can WordPress plugins and themes online, you are recommended to start with the official Theme Directory and Plugin Directory. Especially if you’re a novice.
Getting Started with WordPress
By this point, you’ve grasped the key aspects and benefits of using WordPress. Do you think you can go from here? Before you do, here’s how you should get started with it.
WordPress is a self-hosted platform, which is why there are some critical steps you need to take in creating your first site. You shouldn’t be intimidated, though! The process is relatively simple. Read through the list of necessary steps below for the whole idea.
You need a hosting plan
To get your site alive and kicking, you’ll need access to a web server where you’ll save your site’s data and files. It also allows you to transmit information across the web to your website visitors. Therefore, you need to purchase a hosting plan.
You can choose among many hosting plans, in line with your particular needs and the type of your site.
To ensure the best possible solution, you’re highly recommended to pick a quality, WordPress-specific hosting plan.
Whatever works for you, we’ll be happy to help you with any issue relating to WordPress and web hosting. We have extensive experience in WordPress and you are free to contact us to help you get set up.
Once you’ve picked the right hosting plan for your needs, all you need to do is add it to your cart and begin the checkout process. We suggest you opt to have our experts install WordPress and enable WP Website Builder during registration. It’ll make the entire process a lot easier. You’ll receive an email confirmation with all the necessary details you need to get started.
Get to Know Your Control Panel
After you’re done with the hosting plan, you need to get familiar with your control panel. All you need to is log in from the user panel login page and have a tour. In your control panel, you’ll find all the tools you need to manage your website.
Make sure all the steps are taken care of, you’ll need to register and check if WordPress is installed.
Once you get started, the control panel will help you configure your website mail, add new users, and access your MySQL databases.
Register a Domain
Every site needs a web address where it will be hosted. It should be a unique domain, attractive but easy to remember. A web hosting company or a domain registrar can help you check if your desired domain is available.
Once you register (buy) a domain and have a hosting plan, you can start building a site! You can have us pre-install WordPress for you during your account registration, or install WordPress manually.
Access and Customize Your Site
You can now start building your website!
The first time you log in to your WordPress dashboard, there’ll be a “getting started” wizard ready to guide you through all the details you need to handle to have your site published and ready for users.
You start by choosing a theme from a huge collection of themes. Each theme comes with awesome demo content. Once you have chosen the theme your theme, you need to choose which pages are installed and whether or not you want to include a blog on your site. To make sure your site looks right on every device, you can also check the responsiveness of your theme.
Optionally, you can use the wizard to add information like your social media profiles.
Regardless of the website builder you use, you’ll be able to see your site’s pages on your WordPress dashboard. Now you can further customize your pages utilizing drag-and-drop editing tools and pre-built design blocks.
There’s a gamut of plugins available if you feel like your website is missing features. You may want to start small with plugins - pick a quality theme first, and then add a couple of plugins for desired features over time. If you stumble with this step, you may want to try some of the popular plugins that work well for almost any website.
Posts and pages are the main types of content in WordPress. They both use the same novice-friendly editor, to make your first steps in content creation as easy and streamlined as possible.
Make sure to include a contact page so your website visitors can contact you!
As you create and add content to your website, you’ll be able to use the same drag-and-drop tools that helped you build your pages. Moreover, there are SEO (Search Engine Optimization) suggestions right on the page. This will help get more engagements and add traffic to your website!
To Sum Up
WordPress is a widely popular platform mainly for its versatility. It is suited to both beginners and experienced developers and a great tool for creating blogs, e-commerce sites, and everything else you can think of.
More importantly, it is incredibly simple to get started with!
To get started with your first WordPress site, you’ll have to select a domain name and choose a hosting plan. The next step is to install the platform and off you go with customizing your site. With our experts, this process is smooth and easy. Pick a unique theme, add your pages, some customization, and your site is ready to go live!